The year 2020 has been a roller coaster for us and the movie and TV series stars who work in the entertainment industry. Nevertheless, for some of the celebrities, the year has proven to be the most fruitful one, during which they have finally set their feet into the most unpredictable profession— whether it’s Alan S. Kim giving a praiseworthy performance as an adorable kid carrying the emotional core of a drama like ‘Minari,’ to Eli Goree capturing the hearts with the kinetic portrait of a legend like Cassius Clay, before becoming Muhammad Ali in the movie, ‘One Night in Miami—’ each of the actors in the list has done a phenomenal job and turned into the breakout stars of the year. Moreover, some stars have written, directed, and produced the movies and nailed their characters, entertaining them for the whole year. Here is a list of those movie and television personalities who have made the year a little better and labeled themselves as the breakout stars of 2020.
Radha blank made her debut as a director with the movie, The Forty-Year-Old Version, in which she served as the writer, producer, and cast member, which is somehow inspired by her personal life incidents as a Black playwright. The titular character Radha is a playwright who is in desperate need of a big break as she sets her view on rapping. With the beautiful quotable script, her amazing performance, and the fact that the movie is her first directorial outing, The Forty-Year-Old Version, has come out to be her golden fruit. Soon after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Blank was awarded as U.S Dramatic Competition Directing Award, which grabbed the eyeballs of Netflix. Within a few months, it came out on the streaming platform.
If the Coronavirus pandemic had not delayed the release of West Side Story’s upcoming reboot, directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, Ariana Debose would surely have won everyone’s heart Anita. But that did not prevent her from emerging as one of her generation’s most anticipated actresses with her takes on, Ensemble aka The Bullet in the movie Hamilton and Alyssa Greene in the movie, The Prom, both of them being the buzziest screen musicals of 2020. The actress was first seen in the TV series titled, ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ and has appeared in numerous musicals, including ‘A Bronx Tale’ and ‘Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.’
One of the most popular TV shows of the year, The Boys, well-known for its disgraced villains, filled with misogyny and jingoistic egoistic narcissism, the show managed to cast the right people for the characters, who not only got assorted with their roles but also performed it with full merit. Aya Cash, playing the role of Stormfront, a social-media heroine with an unpleasant past, in the second season of the show, came out to be the one who stole the show with her performance, giving away a blend of sadistic violence with biting humor. In Josh Ruben’s horror-comedy movie, she was also seen, ‘Scare Me,’ which cemented her image further in this industry.
Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones
Among the few good things that happened in the year 2020, one of them has to be the onscreen pairing of Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal in the Irish drama series, Normal People. The series has been acclaimed both by the critics and the spectators for their acting, direction, writing, and way of giving mature content. Portraying Marianne and Connell’s role, the show is about two teens whose unbreakable bond with each other has been explored over the years. The chemistry between the two actors, Paul and Daisy, made the show a successful one making the spectators jaw-dropped.
Under the recommendations of the must-watch shows of the year, ‘I May Destroy You’ is sure to grab a spot. With a promising script and the error-free casting of the major roles, Michaela Coel, who has served as the creator, writer co-director, executive producer, and lead of the show, has given us the best-reviewed fragments of the television of 2020, a show bound to become a cult classic. The story is about a Twitter-fame figure who has turned into a novelist named Arabella. Her life takes a three-sixty degree turn after a night out with her friends. The story brings out the trauma of a sexually assaulted woman and the difficulty in re-creating her life after the incident.
The soothing gentleness existing in Isabel Sandoval’s ‘Lingua Franca’ revolving around an undocumented transgender caregiver from a Filipino residing in New York City who gets married to obtain a green card. Although the plot is pretty simple, the show brings into limelight the warmth and humanism to the highly controversial subject of the society flavored with sensitive performances and Isabel Sandoval’s gentle and empathetic touch. It was released on Aug 26, 2020, and is available to stream on Netflix.
Alan S. Kim
With a touch of his own childhood experiences, ‘Minari’ has been written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, following the story of a young seven-year-old Korean boy, David, played by Alan Kim, whose family relocates to Arkansas farm aspiring to fulfill their American Dream. When David’s grandmother comes to America to take care of him and his sister, David sighs over the need to allot a share of his room with her. With the playful ideas that the boy comes up with for tormenting his grandmother, and later giggling to himself on it, Alan Kim can be thought of as the movie’s beating heart, which is precisely a cluster of beautifully recreated frayed memories. His adorableness has served as a plus point that has helped the movie stand, as visible on Sundance’s red carpet, nailing his cowboy-inspired outfit.
Brimming with several big personalities as the cast, including Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr., ‘One Night in Miami’ marks the directorial debut of Regina King. Revolving around a fictionalized meeting of Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown in a hotel room in Miami in 1964, to celebrate Ali’s game-changing victory over Sonny Liston in boxing, the movie has managed to bring into limelight Goree, playing the role of Muhammad Ali. He did justice to his role by giving away an energetic and dynamic performance capturing the young boxer’s physicality, alongside delivering the dialogues perfectly and the much-required warmth.
Adapted from the 2012 autobiography of Deborah Feldman, titled ‘Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,’ the 2020 miniseries centers on the life of a young woman named Esther Shapiro, who aims at rebuilding her life as a new away from Brooklyn, abandoning her arranged marriage. The actress has taken the role so seriously that she shaved her head, learned the Yiddish language, and learned to play the piano, proving her sincerity towards her profession. Shira Haas captured her character’s tenacity and anguish in a balanced amount delivering a bold central performance, enabling her to be nominated in Emmies.
Getting Lisa Kudrow to play his mother’s role in the Netflix comedy series, ‘Feel Good,’ is perhaps the biggest compliment Mae Martin has got to date. No doubt, Kudrow nails her role, but we cannot help but focus on Martin’s presence on the show. Besides being the creator, writer, and protagonist of the semi-autobiographical series, the charm he appeared on the screen has managed to draw a lot of attention from the spectators. The 6-episode show is about a Canadian comedian, Mae, who has just entered into a relationship with a beautiful middle-class girl, George, played by Charlotte Ritchie. Still, his past of being a drug addict keeps haunting him.
Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ is about a 17-year-old teenager, Autumn Callahan, who is already 18-month pregnant before she comes to know about it. Desperate to get an abortion, Autumn risks everything and takes a bus to New York City along with her cousin, Skylar, for an appointment, and during her stay over there, she has to relive small and big moments of abuse. What actually stands out in the movie is the phenomenal performance of Sidney Flanigan, who out-does everything without even appearing to do visually so. The number of awards and nominations that she has received for her role in the movie, including the Best Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, is truly deserving.
Despite more than 15,000 girls auditioning for grabbing the character of the 15-year-old girl, Devi Vishwakumar in ‘Never Have I Ever,’ the one finalized for it was none other than Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, the Tamil Canadian actress really did justice to her role in the coming-of-age comedy tale, portraying the sweet-natured personality and dealing with grief issues with ease. Many young actresses can pull off such a role with a perfect sense of comic timing.
‘The Crown’ is one of the shows in which the starting members have become a household name, and Emma Corrin portraying the character of young Diana Spencer is also one of them. She can be said as the most suitable one for the role, favored by her tall order, who is expected to match the real Diana as much as possible, by all the spectators, who can’t help but keep her image in their minds. Other than rocking the look and scrutinized mannerisms of the beloved Princess, the 25-year old English actress made Lady Diana’s charming shyness a center for captivating the show’s fourth season.
Azhy Robertson has already received an immense amount of love and praise at such a tender age of ten years. He was earlier seen in Marriage Story in 2019, but with ‘The Plot Against America,’ which is an alternate-history miniseries, where he played the role of the youngest child of a family member of Jews, observing the rise of xenophobic populism, he cemented his image deeper in the industry. Moreover, his role as a non-verbal autistic boy, Oliver, in the horror movie, ‘Play,’ is praiseworthy.
Sonoya Mizuno has united with Alex Garland for being a part of the first foray into TV, ‘Devs,’ which is a science fiction thriller, set six years after playing the role of Kyoko in Garland’s sci-fi thriller titled, ‘Ex Machina.’Portrayed as Lily Chan, a software developer, the series center on an increasingly labyrinthian scheme created by her lover’s alleged demise. The series has tackled the themes of free will and determination, other than Silicon Valley— with Mizuno’s captivating presence, which has helped to humanize the director’s ambitious puzzle box, which sometimes seems to be absorbed in its lofty concepts.
Selah Summers and Tabby in ‘Selah and the Spades’ and ‘The Craft: Legacy,’ the Bronx-born actress, Lovei Simone, began the year 2020 with a striking turn. Selah has been portrayed as a senior at a boarding school, leading a team of students known as the Spades to sell drugs to the other students. The movie is a smart, well-performed, and chaotic coming-of-age tale, with a refreshment. On the other than, Lovei Simone has even made a good impression as Tabby, a young witch in the supernatural horror film, ‘The Craft: Legacy.’
Robbie Ammell and Andy Allo
With the release of Greg Daniels’s Sci-Fi comedy series, ‘Upload,’ where humans can relocate themselves after death, the two actors have helped thread a fine in a virtual afterlife line between an ordinary cliché, and a well-optimized cliché is Robbie Ammell and Andy Allo. The movie has Robbie Ammell playing Nathan’s role, who somehow gets uploaded, and Nora, played by Andy Allo, falls in love with him, even though she is still alive. Their presence in the series and the comedy have earned the show its place in this list.
In a series like Lovecraft Country, which is filled with amazing twists and turns, who could have played the role of captivating Ruby Baptiste, who is Leti’s factious half-sister, better than Wunmi Mosaku, who has not only stolen the show but also left an undeniable mark in the minds of the spectators. The series is a stirring take on Lovecraftian mythology, proving that there isn’t only the Elder Gods who can bump in the cosmos. She has also been praised for her role in the horror movie ‘His House,’ where she can be seen delivering an emotional and unforgettable performance.