2020 Calvin Awards: Best Picture

By David Mumpower

December 16, 2020

What's in YOUR pizza box?

Due to our publication schedule this year, I’ve known for several days now what would win Best Picture at The Calvins. So, I’ve watched with a fair amount of incredulity as the same film has ascended at the Academy Awards.

As recently as a month ago, nobody gave Parasite a chance. Analysts presumed that the Academy would throw it a token award in Best International Feature Film, and that would be the end of it. Then, the tide turned in recent days.

In the wake of massive criticism about the white, male nature of this year’s nominees, Parasite gained momentum. While cynics deride this situation, the reality is that Bong Joon-Ho’s movie towered above the other Best Picture nominees in terms of quality.

Our staff has felt that way during the entire awards season. Parasite has led since the second ballot was cast, and it was never in any danger of falling out of the lead. The results show a closer outcome based on some last-minute support for the second- and (especially) third-place films, but I could have called this race in mid-January.

Parasite is BOP's choice as the Best Picture of the year. If you've read the other categories in this year’s awards, you already know this. It's become one of the most successful titles ever, winning four awards. In fact, it was extremely competitive in Best Overlooked Film, but we had to remove it from that category due to an awards season box office surge.

What do we love about Parasite? First and foremost, the movie is surprising. The twists and turns are impeccably stretched out for maximum impact. A son starts trying to con his way into a pizza delivery job but then finds an even richer mark.

Once the young man becomes a presence in that home, he tries to inject his family members into other jobs at the estate. They do NOT earn these jobs. These people feed off the kindly strangers employing them. It’s horrific…and wildly entertaining. Our staff gave the film three times as many first-place votes as any other contender. We spent so much time talking Parasite up that we missed the fact that everyone else in Hollywood had taken notice of it!

Fittingly, our second spot goes to the movie that earned the second-most awards this year. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood managed three victories during this year’s The Calvins. So, it finished behind Parasite in totality and in Best Picture.


Our staff couldn’t get enough of the exploits of Cliff Booth and Rick Dalton, struggling Hollywood performers in search of a second act. We admired their affable chemistry, but we also relished how flawed both characters are.

One is still fighting imaginary battles with Bruce Lee in his head, while the other happily takes career advice from a little girl. They’re damaged goods, but they’re also aces in a legitimate fight for survival. The disconnect intoxicates our voters.

The third selection this year is our other multi-category winner and perhaps the real shocker in the 2020 version of The Calvins. The Farewell stunned our staff with its nuanced evaluation of cultural norms.

Western culture includes a fair amount of introspection from the diseased. As this movie shows, in the Far East, the family bears the brunt rather than the victim. A Chinese-American feels the totality of her upbringing and heritage as the two philosophies clash. The exploration of this conflict leads to the most pleasant surprise in cinema this year.

An awards season underachiever and a box office overachiever complete our top five. Okay, 1917 actually dominated the awards calendar right up until the Oscars, at which point everything fell apart. It only won three minor awards, as Parasite overtook the war film at the end. Still, our staff admired the tale of two men’s desperate attempt to avoid the ultimate military trap.

As for Avengers: Endgame, what more can BOP say about the conclusion of the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? It’s the most successful blockbuster ever, usurping the seemingly unbeatable Avatar. Endgame broke so many box office records that it has its own Wikipedia page.
Oh, and the movie's pretty great, too. It provides a satisfying resolution for 12 years of storylines. Avengers: Endgame did what Game of Thrones couldn't. Both the movie and the television series built engaging sandboxes that viewers wanted to play in, but only the comic book movie finished what it started the right way.

Our sixth and seventh selections this year are Knives Out and Us, a mystery and a horror movie. The sleuthing film thrilled us with its unique conceit. Everyone’s supposed to lie in a mystery, after all. What happens when someone can’t?

Meanwhile, Us explores the dichotomy of good and evil that lives inside all people by introducing physical representations of one family's dark halves. The premise thrilled us, and the twist ending blew our minds.

The final three nominees for Best Picture this year are Toy Story 4, Little Women, and Marriage Story. The Pixar film nearly replicates the voting outcome of its predecessor, as we selected Toy Story 3 as our fifth nominee in 2011. Little Women and Marriage Story have demonstrated cross-category strength this year, with the latter film actually claiming a win.

As always, BOP wants its readers to know which films we feel most passionately about. You’ll find the list of our top 25 listed here. Please look at this list and everything that interests you to your queue. Also, you should do this the same with Best Overlooked Film, as that category has titles that need more championing.

2020 Calvin Awards
Calvins Intro
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Cast
Best Character
Best Director
Best Overlooked Film
Best Picture
Best Scene
Best Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
Breakthrough Performance
Worst Performance
Worst Picture

Top 25
Position Film Total Points
1 Parasite 122
2 Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood 91
3 Farewell, The 83
4 1917 64
5 Avengers: Endgame 60
6 Knives Out 59
7 Us 49
8 Toy Story 4 46
9 Little Women 45
10 Marriage Story 44
11 Midsommar 40
12 Irishman, The 35
13 Booksmart 34
14 Two Popes, The 30
15 Jojo Rabbit 27
16 Uncut Gems 26
17 Frozen II 24
18 Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A 22
19 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 21
20 The Last Black Man in San Francisco 19
21 Apollo 11 18
22 John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum 17
23 Ford v Ferrari 16
24 Pain and Glory 15
25 Spider-Man: Far From Home 14



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