What a year for powerhouse performances. From jazz band to rock and roll one, the jeweller in-between the man on a mission to redeem himself, and the woman fighting to stay true to herself. What we lacked in blockbusters and cinema trips in 2020, we certainly didn’t lose out in strong, world-class performances.

Here are our picks for the Top 5 Leading Performances in a Dramatic Movie for 2020.

5.) Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods


It’s hard to admit that one of the best performances of the year is of a Vietnam war veteran who is now a Trump supporter but there is no denying Delroy Lindo’s amazing work in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. Still suffering from PTSD from the war, being back in Vietnam is taking a toll on Paul whose descent into paranoia is played to perfection by Lindo.

The scene of him hacking his way through the Vietnam jungle, muttering to himself before stumbling across the vision of his fallen comrade “Stormin'” Norman was something that stuck with me these many months later and showcased what Delroy Lindo is capable of.

Ashley Hobley

4.) Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

We were all blindsided and devastated to hear of Chadwick Boseman’s passing back in August. I remember first seeing him 42, the film about Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play in the modern MLB, where he was really great. I loved his small part in the underrated Draft Day and of course, enjoyed his turns as the Black Panther in the MCU. So it is with mixed feeling that I say his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is his best to date, happy that his last role was so good and sad that we’ll never get to see any more to better or equal this one.

As the hot-headed and over-confident trumpeter Levee, Boseman is simply captivating. Gifted by playwright August Wilson’s amazing monologues, Boseman delivers these stories of Levee’s life with such passion that you can’t help but be taken by it. A performance that ensures Chadwick Boseman will be remembered for years and years to come.

Ashley Hobley

3.) Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

In Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, Jo March is played by Saoirse Ronan to perfection. The significant change between this adaptation and previous ones is the timeline. But thanks to the film’s use of a non-linear timeline; we see how Jo struggled to follow her dreams and still be there to provide for her struggling family. Although the cast is large and filled with sensational performances, Saoirse Ronan’s performance stands out as the strong and unwavering Jo who never faulted from her true self.

Little Women is just another award-worthy performance from the young Ronan who has well and truly cemented herself as one of the best actors working in Hollywood today. 

Dylan Blight

2.) Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

I don’t know if Sandler will ever give a performance as good as his in Uncut Gems as the fast-talking jeweller Howard Ratner. A man who you can’t help but root-for amidst all of his lying, cheating and dirty tactics. Howard is a character who thinks he’s the smartest room in any room. No one will outplay him, and he’s got everything in his life all building towards a master plan. In reality, he’s building a very loose Jenga tower. 

After you watch Uncut Gems, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Sandler playing Howard. He blends perfectly into the almost doco-style filming the Safdie Brothers used with Uncut Gems. At times darkly funny, but mostly one of the most thrilling and scary non-horror films you can watch. Sandler is equal parts of the monster and the victim. 

Dylan Blight

1.) Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal


Riz Ahmed gives arguably the best performance of his career so far as Reuben, the drummer for a metal band who starts to lose his hearing, in Sound of Metal. That’s a pretty big statement considering he won an Emmy for his performance in The Night Of but I’m sure there would not be many who dispute it.

Ahmed takes us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as we see Reuben suffer from denial, anger and a state of shell shock before he begins to accept how he is, only to risk everything to try to reclaim something he has already lost. Riz Ahmed’s incredible commitment to the role, spending months learning to drum and ASL, was all worth it as he gives an award-worthy performance.

Ashley Hobley

This Top 5 list was compiled by Dylan Blight and Ashley Hobley.