This is another award that I pushed back to wait for Soul to come out just in case. There is a runner-up from that film.
Now remember, a voice over may not necessarily just be an animated film. This includes live action with motion capture or an animation/live action combination.
Previous Winners: Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Robin Williams (Aladdin- honorary), Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War), Ryan Reynolds (Detective Pikachu)
Runners-Up: I already mentioned that Soul had one so I will place Jamie Foxx here to kick it off. He was excellent in the role. Matt Ryan voicing John Constantine in Justice League Dark. Matt Ryan is one of the most popular version of Constantine. Tom Holland‘s voice work in Onward is great. He has done a couple of animated movies now over the last few years. Sean Bean‘s Wolfwalkers was the animated film of the year, but his work was some of the best. Ben Schwartz was Sonic the Hedgehog and the voice was great.
2020 Winner is…
Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian)
A perfect example of a voice over that is not animated. Pedro Pascal is mostly not in the armor during filming but we always here his voice. This season of The Mandalorian has been top notch and Pascal showed remarkable character growth as his connection grew with Grogu.
I have waited specifically for today before compiling this final list because of one specific film dropping on Disney + today. I anticipated that film making this list so I wanted to wait. Did it make it? If you read the review, you can probably guess.
Anyway… here we go.
Oh, previous winners first…
Previous Winners:Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, Coco, Moana, Inside Out, Big Hero 6, Flashpoint Paradox, Paranorman, Winnie the Pooh, Klaus
#10. Superman: Red Son. Superman crashes in Soviet Russia and becomes an agent of the USSR. How does that change the world?
#9. Trolls: World Tour. A sequel to a surprise hit that became the first major film to head to streaming as a release this past summer.
#8. The Croods: A New Age. An animated movie that goes absolutely bat shot crazy in the second half. And I respected that.
#7. Scoob! This was fine, but it could have been so much more. I want more of the story to focus in on Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and the gang and less on Blue Falcon and other Hanna Barbera characters.
#6. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. The “infinity war” of the DC animation series. Apokolips is a major DC powerhouse villain (who inspired Marvel to create Thanos) and he has devastated the heroes. They try to come back.
#5. Over the Moon. The Netflix film featuring a young girl who builds a space ship to travel to the moon and find a goddess. It was great animation and a underappreciated film.
#4. Onward. A Pixar film that was able to be released in theaters early in the year. Chris Pratt and Tom Holland voice brothers who go on a trip to try and figure out how to use a magical staff to bring their father back to life for a short period. Emotional as any Pixar films can be.
#3. The Willoughbys. Another Netflix animated film from this year. A family of four kids try and get away from their abusive parents and they head out on adventures with their new nanny.
#2. Soul. Pixar’s second film that was released today on Disney +. Jamie Foxx was tremendous as a middle school band teacher who is desperate to play a gig with a quartet. Unfortunately, he dies before he can. He does not want to allow that to stop him.
#1. Wolfwalkers. The Apple Plus film which gives us a look at a fantasy story dealing with the men of a town trying to kill the wolves in the forest who are preventing them from expanding. This is such a great film and the animation is exceptionally original.
This was a brand new award last year, in honor of Avengers: Endgame. I can still remember the emotions and feelings I had when seeing this movie and its tremendous cast. This year had several movies that contained remarkable actors.
I consider an ensemble in a movie to be a group of actors from a movie where there was lacking an obvious lead performance.
The Avengers: Endgame Ensemble Cast of the Year Award
Previous Winners: Avengers: Endgame
We shall start with the runners-up.
The Personal History of David Copperfield. I included this because the cast was so great, but it did not receive the award because the fact that Dev Patel was truly the lead actor and the rest of the actors were supporting to him.
The Birds of Prey. Another ensemble that is actually headed up by Margot Robbie. She was more of the lead actor in the film than the whole film was ensemble.
Da 5 Bloods. The exceptional Netflix movie from Spike Lee was a leading candidate for this award. Once again, though, I thought there was one major standout in the cast, that being Delroy Lindo.
Hamilton. The Disney + filmed version of the stage play was a real treat during the summer of 2020. Disney + placed it on their streaming service instead of a theatrical release in 2021. The musical was brilliant.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. This was probably the second place film in this category. Viola Davis was unbelievably brilliant and Chadwick Boseman’s final filmed performance was his best work ever (and that was saying something).
And the winner is…
The Trial of the Chicago 7
The fantastic Netflix biopic telling the story of the trial of the Chicago 7 was a true ensemble cast. Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Mark Rylance, Frank Langella, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, John Carroll Lynch, Noah Robbins, Daniel Flaherty. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
The cast had to be great because the written word of Aaron Sorkin presented the actors with some of the best dialogue of the year.
Going along with the Gomers, we now have the Spider-Man 3 Disappointment of the Year. These are movies that had high levels of anticipation but failed to reach that level. It does not require hating the movie. This award is named after Spider-Man 3, which I do not hate. It had some good things in it. It just failed to be as great as it could have been. Some times the films that win this are horrible, but others are okay.
Previous Winners: In the Heart of the Sea, The Snowman, Amazing Spider-Man 2, After Earth, Dark Knight Rises, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Batman v. Superman, Christopher Robin, IT: Chapter Two
This was, of course, a difficult year for this category. A bunch of the films that I was anticipating wound up sent to 2021 because of the pandemic. The movies that I did not know or had only found out about during the year did not fit in this category. There had to be some amount of hope of excellence for there to be disappointment.
Other films that I expected to not be very good such as Doolittle or Bloodshot could not be considered disappointing. Because of all that, the list of these will be lower.
We will start off with our winner….
Christopher Nolan insisted on having Tenet released in the theaters and not delayed to 2021 or released on streaming and Tenet paid for it. But that was not why it was disappointing to me. I did head out to the theater to see it. The disappointment was that it was confusing, hard to hear and not a great story. It could have been so much better than what it was. I anticipated this being a film with a major story dealing with a mysterious element, but this was a slog to get through.
I did not hate Tenet, but there were enough issues with the film to make it the Spider-Man 3 Disappointment of the Year,
Runners-Up: I only have three others on this list. The most recent was the Netflix sequel, Christmas Chronicle 2. I so enjoyed the first one of these and I was excited to see the second one but it was dull and such a disappointment. Where as Christmas Chronicle 2 may have been somewhat watchable, Disney +’s release of Artemis Fowl was very much unwatchable. It was truly one of the worst movies of the year and I had been holding out hope that it might be better than I thought. Nope. The third film on this list is the Blumhouse adaptation of Fantasy Island. I used to love this show on TV, and I thought a movie version by the preeminent horror movie studio was a great idea. I love Michael Pena, but he was terribly miscast as Mr. Rourke. Fantasy Island was just terrible.
For those of you too young to understand the reference of the title of this award, it is named after Jim Neighbors’ character from the Andy Griffith Show and his own eventual spin-off series, Gomer Pyle. Gomer’s catch phrase was “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” and that works perfect for this year end list of movies that I expected little from, but surprised me with how good they were.
Some of the films that receive consideration for the Gomer may not necessarily make the Top 30 end of the year list, but they turned out better than I could have imagined.
Previous Gomer Award Winners: The Gift, Ferdinand, Edge of Tomorrow, We’re the Millers, The Campaign, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Bumblebee, Crawl
These were surprises in a positive way. The films that surprised me with their badness will be in the Spider-Man 3 Disappointment of the Year Award, which is still coming.
So… after some close battles, the Gomer is awarded to….
A disaster movie starring Gerard Butler? We’ve seen that before, haven’t we? Well, the answer to that question is yes… as recently as a few years ago with Geostorm. However, we have never seen one like Greenland.
If you can believe it, Greenland is truly more of a character piece than a high-effects, CGI fest where Butler is the super hero everyman (in Geostorm he was a scientist. A scientist?)
Here, the events going on around them are secondary to the struggle and challenges faced by this little family and the problems that they were facing prior to the comet striking the earth. Yes, there are some of the typical beats of a disaster movie, but this film does not feel as if they had to embrace those. It feels as if it through those in as an afterthoguht.
I did not expect to like this one as much as I did, which is why it is the Gomer winner of 2020.
Runners-Up: Black Box on Amazon Prime was one of my favorite Halloween films of the year and it is still underappreciated by many fans. Palm Springs was on Hulu and takes the Groundhog Day story into a different direction in a fun and humorous manner. Hulu ‘s efforts this year included Pooka Lives! a horror/comedy sequel that far surpassed the original. Another Amazon Prime movie was The Vast of Night about an alien arrival on earth in the 1950s. After the hugely disappointing Penguins, Disneynature needed a win for me, and they delivered with the unexpectedly great Disneynature’s Elephant. Shudder tossed a great surprise with the short but terrifying Host.
There were some great documentaries this year. There were actually several more that I saw on TV or as an original on a streaming service than I saw in the theater. I see last year’s winner was Finding Neverland and that was a TV documentary so I do not have to specify that this is for any form of doc.
I should say off the top that a lot of people will probably be wanting the Michael Jordan doc, The Last Dance to make my list, but I did not watch it, so I cannot include it. I know it was a pop culture event so I thought I might mention it.
Here are the list of prior winners of this year end award.
Previous Winners: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, My Scientology Movie, Tickled, Finding Neverland
This year’s runners-up included the following: The Social Dilemma (which was more frightening than most of the horror movies this year). Another disturbing tale was American Murder: The Family Next Door from Netflix about the Watts family murders from 2018. It was a difficult watch as well. Another documentary that messed me up this year was Robin’s Wish, the story of Robin Williams and his final days of his life with Lewy body dementia that led to his suicide. As a huge Robin Williams fan after watching this, I needed an immediate palate cleanser (so I headed to The Princess Bride on Disney +). HBO Max’s The Mystery of D.B. Cooper was more fascinating to me after seeing the trailer for Loki, next year on Disney +. Finally, there was a tremendous five-part documentary series on the WWE Network featuring the story of the Undertaker. It was called Undertaker: The Last Ride and it gave wrestling fans a look at the mysterious Undertaker and showed him the “Dead man” in a way they have rarely seen him. WWE Network also gave us a doc on The Rated R Superstar Edge called You Think You Know Me which was a great look at the returning Edge. WWE really do a fabulous job of creating documentaries about their superstars and giving us a glance behind the curtain of kayfabe. Another fantastic docu-series focusing on the world of pro wrestling (though not produced by WWE) was the second season of The Dark Side of the Ring, which included a powerful and heartbreaking two-part story on the Chris Benoit tragedy.
However, the winner of this award is a documentary series that transcended all of the rest and became a nationwide sensation. It was release on Netflix right at the beginning of the pandemic and, with so many people at home isolated, this was seemingly all anyone could talk about.
Legitimately, the craziness of this Netflix series was what we needed in the world at that time. We saw a ton of downright rotten people whose stories were unbelievable. The feud between Joe Exotic and Carol Baskins kicked this off, but we saw many other unlikable characters that just left you thinking… this can’t be real, right? It has to be because if it were fiction, nobody would be able to accept the story.
The world of WWE in 2020 had some highs and a bunch of lows. I will discuss my choices for best in WWE, which includes the NXT brand. I do not watch other wrestling companies so I cannot include AEW or any of the others. No offense to anyone who prefers non-WWE.
Match of the Year
By the way, I separated out the Cinematic matches from this list. They will have their own list later.
#15. “The Fiend” Brey Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan, Royal Rumble. These two never fail. I actually believed that Daniel might beat the Fiend.
#14. Roman Reigns defeated Jey Uso, Clash of Champions. One of the best story telling matches of the year. So much emotion and great acting from the wrestlers.
#13. Drew McIntyre defeated AJ Styles and Miz, TLC. From last night. Drew McIntyre has been a huge performer this year for RAW. Miz failed in his Money in the Bank cash-in.
#12. Sasha Banks defeated Bayley, Hell in the Cell. The great feud between former friends came to a conclusion as Sasha Banks won the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
#11. Timothy Thatcher defeated Matt Riddle in Fight Pit, NXT Takeover. Brutal match. This was Matt Riddle’s final NXT match and holy crap. Thatcher lost teeth!
#10. Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens, TLC. Another one from last night. Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens are amazing storytellers and the TLC match was brutal. KO had so many challenges to overcome, and he came up just short.
#9. Women’s War Games Team Candice defeated Team Shotzi, NXT Takeover: War Games. Some thought this was the best match at NXT Takeover War Games, but I disagree. It was amazing though. I have to say the use of the tool box took me out. Surprise ending too.
#8. Walter defeated Ilja Dragunov, NXT UK. Holy crap. I am not sure that I have seen two people just beat the crap out of each other like these two did. The chops were savage. It feels as close to a real fight as you are going to find.
#7. AJ Styles defeated Daniel Bryan, Finals of Intercontinental Tournament, Smackdown. Best regularly televised match of 2020 (non-PPV). Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles are masters of their work and this match was beautiful.
#6. Roman Reigns defeated Drew McIntyre, Survivor Series. What a great match. I want a longer feud between these two. It was between the two biggest stars of the year.
#5. Miz and Morrison win the Smackdown Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber. Featured The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston), The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso), Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker), Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik), and Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode. Some amazing work here from some top notch tag teams.
#4. Randy Orton defeated Edge, Greatest Wrestling Match Ever. Greatest Wrestling Match Ever is #4 on my list. Promoting this match that way was always going to be a poor choice, but the match was sensational.
#3. Io Shirai defeated Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley for NXT Women’s Championship, NXT Takeover. Io Shirai became the NXT Women’s Championship in a fantastic match with Charlotte and Rhea. Shirai was flying all over the place. Top women’s match of the year.
#2. Men’s Royal Rumble. Drew McIntyre won the event and had one of the best moments of 2020, before the crowds went away. McIntyre’s elimination of Brock Lesnar, who had been ripping through the first half of the Rumble.
#1. Men’s War Games The Undisputed Era defeated Team McAfee, NXT Takeover. I thought this was so epic. The eight men put their bodies on the line, but they also told a great story about the Undisputed Era and their battle to remain in control. It was amazing.
Male Wrestler of the Year:Drew McIntyre.
Runners-Up: Roman Reigns, Adam Cole, Keith Lee, Braun Strowman, Brey Wyatt
I went back and forth between McIntyre and Reigns. I decided for Drew McIntyre as winner here because he has been there the entire year and Roman has only been here since SummerSlam. However, Roman has been so great since. The others on the list were far from the top two.
Female Wrestler of the Year: Asuka
Runners-Up: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Io Shirai.
Asuka was the clear MVP for RAW on the women’s side of the ledger during the no audience time. Her victory at Money in the Bank was great and then she stepped into the role left by Becky Lynch, who left to give birth. Bayley is a close second as she embraced that heel role and she had an amazing story with her partner and enemy Sasha Banks.
Tag Team of the Year: The Street Profits.
Runners-Up: Undisputed Era, The New Day, The Viking Raiders, Miz and Morrison
Tag Team wrestling has not been great this year, but The Street Profits have been one of the top stars of the division. Undisputed Era has been a focus on NXT all year long. The New Day split with Big E and took a new step.
Manager of the Year: Paul Heyman
Runners-Up: MVP, Pat McAvee
The manager has been a role that has seen better days. However, when the reveal of Roman Reigns being a Paul Heyman guy happened, the internet exploded. Heyman has been one of the best managers (even though he was technically an advocate.)
On the Mike: Roman Reigns.
Runners-Up: Paul Heyman, Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, Brey Wyatt
Roman Reigns has elevated the storyline that he has been involved in by his speaking/acting. Roman has shown that he truly is a talented dude.
Feud of the Year: Orton vs. Edge.
Runners-Up: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso, Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton, Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens, Adam Cole vs. Pat McAvee
The one on one promo battle leading up to Wrestlemania this year was as brilliant as you are going to find. Orton and Edge showed their veteran work.
Runners-Up: Elias,Chad Gable, Shinsuke Nakamura
I could just start calling this the Cesaro Award. I think he is one of the winners of this every year. It is just a crime that this man cannot find himself into the main event scene.
Comeback of the Year: Edge.
No other choices here. Edge’s return was unbelievable. Nine years later. He came back better than ever.
Face of the Year: Drew McIntyre.
Runners-Up: Daniel Bryan, Dominik Mysterio, Kevin Owens, Otis
Drew McIntyre was booked better than anyone this year. He may not be a specific face in peril type of wrestler, but he has been so fantastic all year.
Heel of the Year: Roman Reigns
Runners-Up: Sami Zayn, Randy Orton, Bayley, AJ Styles
Roman Reigns came back as a heel, which is what everyone always wanted, and he was absolutely brilliant at it. You wonder why this hadn’t happened before this.
Storyline of the Year: Roman Reigns, Head of the Table.
Runners-Up: Sasha and Bayley break up, The Fiend and Alexa Bliss
Roman Reigns’ heel turn is the best of the year and his determination to being called the head of the table truly has determined his character.
Best Match/Worst Finish: Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio, Eye vs. Eye Match.
This match at Extreme Rules was really great, but that finish…woof. The fake eye hidden in Rey’s hand was just ridiculous. Not the way to end this hard hitting and exciting match.
Breakout for 2021: Karrion Kross.
He was here for a bit in 2020, got injured and now is returning and Karrion Kross, whose entrance is the best in the business, is going to be huge in 2021. I do not think he will be in NXT for long before arriving on the main roster. How about Kross vs. McIntyre? Whoa.
Best Broadcaster: Samoa Joe.
Samoa Joe has been a revelation on the desk. He has made the RAW team so much better with his commentary and his humor. Though I want him back in the ring, if he cannot, then the desk is great for him.
Top 4 Cinematic Matches
#4. Gargano vs. Ciampa, One Final Beat.
#3. Firefly Funhouse Match, Brey Wyatt vs. John Cena, Wrestlemania
#2. Money in the Bank Ladder Match (on the roof).
#1. Boneyard Match, Undertaker vs. AJ Styles, Wrestlemania.
The Boneyard Match might have been the overall match of the year if I combined the lists together. AJ and Taker brought it and it looks as if it will be the final match of the Undertaker’s glorious career. This was like a huge accomplishment and, apparently, a very difficult filming (as the Undertaker reveals in his exceptional documentary series, Last Ride).
I had no idea there was as much until I started working on the In Memoriam section for the Year in Review. Not only quantity, but there were some massively huge names as well. Chadwick Boseman, Sean Connery, John Lewis, Regis Philbin, Kirk Douglas, Kobe Bryant, RBG, Alex Trebek, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Daniels… the list goes on and on.
So much so that I wound up doing two fully separate In Memoriam collages in honor of the ton of celebrities’ that are gone…and I am sure I missed some.
And what is worse… usually this is one of the first things I do with the Year in Review because I like honoring these people who inspired so many of us, but I pushed this back because I did not want to miss anyone. Literally, I was checking Twitter as I was finishing up the work on MS Paint to make sure no one passed away today. It even now feels as if there could be more before finally 2020 mercifully comes to a close.
If I need to add to these images, I will do so. I prey that I do not have to.
RIP to all.
Couple to add…
Brodie Lee (aka Luke Harper)
And another loss… Phil Niekro
And Today, I have to add one more. Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island, Dawn Wells
Last year was the introduction of the new De-Aging award. Fact is, however, that there was not much along the line of de-aging this year. While there were several in 2019, 2020 did not use the technology much. For example, the Spike Lee film Da 5 Bloods, which was prime to use de-aging, chose a different path. In my research, I found a couple of choices.
Then, something big happened, and it led me to expand this award a tad to include the deepfake. Deepfake is, according to Wikipedia, “synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness.” It is a technique that has been used effectively for the last few years, and, while it may not always present the most impressive CGI feel to it, it can lead to a massive moment in a film or series.
And this year’s winner absolutely falls into that category.
By the way… do not read any further because there are SPOILERS for the finale of The Mandalorian included.
Last year’s winners are listed below too.
The Kurt Russell EGO De-Aging Award
Previous Winners: Robert DeNiro (The Irishman)
Let’s also talk about the two runners-up before we head into the winner, just to give a little more space fromt he top of this article. I do not want anyone spoiled (although by now the word may be out).
Runners-Up: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter from Bill & Ted Face the Music. This was a fun film and the iconic pair go everywhere in time. And Tenet’s Kenneth Branagh who played the character Sator during a flashback.
Honestly, though, I did not remember either of these. The winner though I believe will be an impact for quite some time.
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) in Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 8 finale, “The Rescue”
Yes, the look of Luke is a tad off, but his arrival, cutting through the Dark Troopers on his path to find Grogu, was jaw dropping and thrilling. Played by actor Max Lloyd Jones, Disney used the CGI face (and voice) of Mark Hamill to bring the Jedi to the screen. It was a shocking twist that punctuated one of the best seasons of Star Wars television yet.
This was a tougher choice this year. There were some really solid kid performances this year, but none of them blew me away like Noah Jupe did last year in Honey Boy. There are several good choices.
Previous Winners: Emjay Anthony (Chef), Jacob Trembley (Room), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Dafne Keen (Logan), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Noah Jupe (Honey Boy)
This year’s winner
McKenna Grace (Troop Zero)
Troop Zero was a great performance from Makenna Grace. She not only carried the film, she had to play off a couple of big time actors in Viola Davis and Allison Janney. Grace never once was overwhelmed. She brought such joy to the role, despite some of the difficult things she had to do. She was great and has a bright future in film. She should have starred in the new Ghostbuster film (which got pushed) among other roles.
Runners-Up: In no specific order…. Winslow Fegley was enjoyable in the quirky Disney + movie Timmy Failure. The new version of the Secret Garden featured two outstanding performances from Edan Hayhurst and Dixie Egerickx. Seth Carr led the WWE Netflix movie, The Main Event. He was fun and compelling in a silly film. Another Netflix movie, Jingle Jangle, featured the lead Madalen Mills and she was fantastic in the musical. Another silly movie this year that turned out to be a lot of fun was Vampires vs. The Bronx, led by Jaden Michael. Another lead actor, Chloe Coleman, faced off with Dave Bautista in the oft-delayed My Spy, which finally came out on Amazon Prime. Chloe had a lot of charisma and played well off the massive Bautista. There was a new attempt at telling the story of Peter Pan in the film Wendy with Devin France as the title character and the POV in the film. Jackson Robert Scott was a main protagonist in the Netflix series Locke & Key. He has some solid movie roles in a couple of poor movies. Millie Bobby Brown could have won this too for Enola Holmes, but I kept her off since she was getting old (16…oooh). We have not had a repeat winner in this category yet, and this may have been the top chance for that to happen.
The 2020 movie season did not have the number of cameos that normally a year might have. For whatever reason, I struggled to find very many cameos. In fact, one of the choices here may actually be considered more of a role than just a cameo. Still, we will push on.
Maybe one of the big reasons was that this was the first year where we did not have a Stan Lee cameo. Of course, Stan passed away near the end of 2018 and his last cameos came in 2019. No one has stepped up into this position. Stan is the only man to have won this award more than once (and, of course, has it named after him)
Here are the previous winners of this award:
Previous winners: Stan Lee (three times), John Cena, Chris Evans, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman, Yoda, J.K. Simmons, Harrison Ford
This year’s winner:
Rudy Giuliani, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
To be fair, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani probably is not too pleased with winning this award. Sasha Baron Cohen made Rudy look foolish with this set up. Sending a young woman (actress Maria Bakalova) to pretend to interview Rudy is one thing, but luring him into the hotel room bedroom is another. The controversy of what exactly Rudy was doing with his hand in his pants became national news. Rudy claimed that he was simply tucking his shirt back in after removing the microphone, but…
Not sure that is what I saw.
Runners-Up: J.K. Simmons (Palm Springs), Ming-Na Wen (Mulan), June Squibb (Blow the Man Down), Michael Rooker (Love & Monsters)
J.K. Simmons could have won this for the second year in a row, but he came up just short. I really considered giving it to Ming-Na (who I love from Agents of Shield) but she did not make enough of an impact in the film. As the voice of the original Mulan, it was nice to see her make her appearance. Michael Rooker was a great cameo in the highly entertaining Love & Monsters. June Squibb is always a great time.
And there are SPOILERS in here for Schmoedown Spectacular 5 so don’t read this unless you have watched the event.
This is another tough list to make because there were so many AMAZING matches this year and I feel great that I got a chance to see them. With Covid-19 raging across the planet, the Movie Trivia Schmoedown could have fallen by the wayside, but the crew found a way to provide some brilliant performances in movie trivia in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar setting.
Of course, this is my list. Yours may be different and that is fine.
#30. Kevin Smith defeated ZaFlurtin Flaus at Spectacular 5. Just entertaining. The match itself may not be great, but the entertainment value is high.
#29. Video Drew defeated Jen Kempe. The emotion from Video Drew after her win and her perfect game was a highlight.
#28. Korruption defeated The Family. This led to the retirement of Drew McWeeney and the dissolution of the Family. It also put Korruption onto a path towards the titles.
#27. Chance Ellison defeated Robert Parker in IG Tournament. Everyone had dubbed “The Spider” Robert Parker the heir apparent in IG. Chance put an end to that.
#26. Final Exam defeated Deep 13. Deep 13 was a question away from knocking off Final Exam. Instead, Final Exam continued their solid streak.
#25. Horror Free-4-All. The Free-4-All fell victim to the pandemic, but that led to us getting the horror specific Free-4-All, won by the eventual singles champion Adam Collins. No Bibbiani though…Hm (Schmoeminati???)
#24. Brendan Meyer defeated Marc Andreyko in Singles Tournament. “The Kid” and “The Android” put on a top show between two of the greats in the MTS.
#23. Shazam defeated Final Exam. Shazam was on the shelf for a chunk of the season, but came off strong and defeated the powerful team of Final Exam.
#22. Who’s the Boss defeated The Odd Couple. Who’s the Boss set the team’s point record here and was certainly their highlight of the season.
#21. Ethan Erwin defeated Jeff Sneider. Jeff Sneider was really close to knocking off the powerhouse Erwin. It was down to the final question.
#20. William Bibbiani defeated The Barbarian in the Singles Tournament. Bibbs had a perfect game and he, again, showed his emotions. The Barbarian is a future superstar, but this one belonged to The Beast.
#19. The Odd Couple defeated Deception. The veteran team overcame the upstarts from Korruption. This was Adam Collins sole defeat of 2020.
#18. KOrruption defeated the Founding Fathers for the team championship. Filled with emotion and frustration, KOrruption came from behind and defeated the Founding Fathers at a Schmoedown Throwdown.
#17. Chance Ellison defeated Mike Kalinowski in IG Tournament finals. Chance came from behind to defeat his team partner for the right to go to Spectacular and face Chandru. Korruption showed how strong of a faction they were. No sign of cracks in their faction.
#16. Deep 13 defeated Tom & Paul. One of the early season (still in studio) matches that was an upset. Everyone thought Tom and Paul would roll through this match, but Deep 13 showed how strong they could be.
#15. Ethan Erwin defeated John “The Outlaw” Rocha in Sudden Death. Rocha played one of his best matches of the year, but came up just short from the juggernaut that is Ethan Erwin.
#14. Dan Murrell defeated William Bibbiani and Brendan Meyer in a #1 Contender Triple Threat Match. This was one of the few LIVE events of the year and this was an amazing performance from “Dangerous Dan.” Even when it seemed as if the Shazam partners were working together, Dan was able to hold them off.
#13. The Odd Couple defeated Final Exam in the Team Tournament finals. This may be the best performance of the year from The Odd Couple. They battled right to the end to earn a shot at Shazam.
#12. Stacy Howard defeated Eric Zipper. Stacy continued her magic pulls with a Sir Anthony Hopkins pull that led to her eventual victory. Eric Zipper was tough luck loser all year long.
#11. Andres Cabrera defeated Andrew Dimalanta in Star Wars finals. This tells you how great this year’s matches were when this does not reach the top 10. Ace completed his unlikely run through the Star Wars Tournament with a victory over the Finstock Exchange competitor.
#10. Kevin Smith defeated Chris Jericho. Two huge stars came in and had a thoroughly entertaining match that was not just a match with celebrities. It even went into Sudden Death.
#9. Chandru “The Chosen” Dhandapani defeated Kevin “The Smasher” Smets for the Innergeekdom Championship. This had a real grudge match feel to it and you can thank Chandru for his great heel work. You also saw Kevin Smets and the length of his respect. It was almost a double turn. Intense match.
#8. The Odd Couple defeated Shazam for the Team Championshipat the Spectacular 5. The Odd Couple seemed defeated. The looked beat and down. Then, they won. The emotions after the match were as real as they get and they were well deserved.
#7. Dan Murrell defeated Ethan Erwin. Dan Murrell successfully defended his title against the powerhouse Ethan Erwin in a massively impressive trivia match.
#6. Andres Cabrera defeated Laura Kelly in Star Wars Tournament. Laura Kelly missed one question. That was all it took. Ace was on ire and overcame everybody’s belief that Laura was going to take this one. The energy on Twitch was off the charts.
#5. Shazam defeated Korruption for Team Titles. Again, I love the emotion after the match is over. It just helps punctuate what was a great match. Korruption did not give up and forced Shazam to answer their questions. The sight of Bibbs having to finally sit down was one of the top images of the year.
#4. Adam Collins defeated Dan Murrell for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship in Sudden Death at Spectacular 5. Honestly, this should probably be higher on the list, but I was rooting for Dan and his loss put a bit of a damper on the results. Still, it was an amazing battle between the two competitors and went deep into sudden death.
#3. Andrew Dimalanta defeated Joseph Scrimshaw in Star Wars tournament. This was a first round match and set the tone like crazy. Both men were perfect and it came down to sudden death where Scrimshaw was just not quite as correct as Dimalanta. This was an insane match.
#2. Dan Murrell defeated Ben Bateman to defend his singles championship. Bateman was ahead by six points heading into the final round, but Lucas Black appeared and reared his head, leading to a shocking come from behind victory by Dan. Even Dan was shocked as he looked to his partner Mara and mouthed “I won”.
#1. Dan Murrell won the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship from Ben Batemanin Sudden Death. Their live event in Atlanta was one of the best title matches in history and set the standard for the year. This went into sudden death as well and was the first (and not the only) time this year that showed that you can never count out “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.
I can’t wait to see where season 8… “War” will go from here. If this season is any indication, the Movie Trivia Schmoedown will burn it down!
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE SCHMOEDOWN SPECTACULAR 5 INCLUDED BELOW!
The Movie Trivia Schmoedown faced some remarkably difficult challenges this year directly from Covid-19. The show lost the ability to present live shows and the studio matches had to be changed as well. However, Kristian Harloff, Mark Ellis and the remaining team from MTS did not just give up. They found solutions that, while maybe not perfect, was able to provide the best opportunity to continue the trivia contests, and the matches of the year exceeded all expectations. The show grew despite the issues and had one of its finest years yet.
This was the most difficult year for determining these awards for us at EYG. In fact, I can say that the winners of these awards changed several times, right up to the final decisions.
Player of the Year: Dan Murrell
Runners-Up: Adam Collins, Jeff Sneider, Chance Ellison
This was one that I changed a couple of times. I finally decided on Dan after completing the list of Top 30 matches (still to comer) and seeing Dan’s name in so many top 10 matches this year. While Adam Collins almost took this award, I decided since he was not here the whole year, his remarkable 7-0 run including a victory over Dan was just a tad short. Jeff Sneider had a fantastic run in both the singles and team tournaments and Chance Ellison made a big time run in Innergeekdom toruney along with success in teams.
Team of the Year: The Odd Couple
Runners-Up: Shazam, Founding Fathers, KOrruption, Final Exam
Another award that changed at least once. I almost gave this to Shazam, but their loss to The Odd Couple at the Spectacular was big. There is no debating that Shazam and the Odd Couple were the top two teams of the year. Founding Fathers and KOrruption were title holders this year and had one of the fiercest rivalries around. Final Exam helped to make Lon Harris and Paul Oyama stars again.
This one changed too after Spectacular. I was giving it to Winston Marshall because he was consistent the whole year and he did some great work, but Shannon’s faction won the year race and Collins’ victory over Dan, someone she had picked up in free agency, was just too much to over look. Yes, she started badly, but taking her team from last to first within the year was a huge feat. Roxy Striar made quite the run at the last quarter of the year, but she ended up in third. Roxy may be the best in-game manager there is.
Rookie of the Year: Adam Collins
Runners-Up: The Barbarian, Ben Goddard, Kevin Smith.
This was a questionable award, until Adam “The Coyote” Collins showed up and made it a runaway. 7-0 and the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship as a rookie kind of puts this away. The Barbarian, Ben Goddard are future superstars and Kevin Smith is a ton of fun and brought eyes to the Schmoedown, but this was not even close.
Faction of the Year: SWAG
Runners-Up: Korruption, Roxstars
Yes, I know that Korruption won the faction title, but I think SWAG had a more consistent year. Fact is most of Shannon’s points came from about two or three people. That is another reason she should be manager of the year, but SWAG spread it out more and that is why they get it. Roxstars put on a push at the end, but the first half was so weak that they did not have much chance.
Best Tournament of the Year: The Star Wars Tournament.
Runners-Up: Teams, Singles, Innergeekdom.
Taking nothing away from the other tournaments in the league this year, but the first everStar Wars tournament was easily the most exciting, most energy filled and most unpredictable tourney we had. The biggest reason, I believe, was that the tournament was held LIVE on Twitch and the rest of them were pre-taped. There were great matches in the other tourneys, but the live aspect of the Star Wars Tournament was just so electric that you could feel the energy through the screen.
Face of the Year: Dan Murrell
Runners-Up: Shazam, Paul Oyama, Kevin Smith
Dan Murrell was the quintessential face this year, battling form behind in nearly every match he had. With a lot of the storylines cut back because of the virtual aspect, the face/heel dynamic was lesser than in past years but Dan clearly embodied the idea and he was constantly the most respectful. Oyama brought a new attitude this year and it did wonders for him.
Heel of the Year: Chandru Dhandapani.
Runners-Up: Shannon Barney, Brandon Hanna, Keiser
I almost gave this to Shannon, but as a manager, she could only do so much. When she broke up the Wildberries, she certainly took a step to this, but Chandru was just masterful at getting under the skin of everybody. He legitimately seemed to annoy and irritate everybody and he was so disrespectful that his character really became someone you wanted to see get his… and yet he is too good to have that happen. Brandon Hanna had a nice run for a while, but he faded after a loss.
Moment of the Year: Rocha turns on Dan
Runner-Up: Shannon breaks up the Wildberries, Rocha is chosen 4th, Drew Ghai tells us about the Schmoeminati.
Are you kidding me? This was so heartbreaking that, even though it just happened, it was memorable. Rocha was fire and you had to feel for poor Dan. Another reason Dan is the face of the year… he had to deal with his partner and manager turning on him. The other were fun, but none of them had the fierceness of this reveal.
Shock of the Year: Rocha turns on Dan
Runners-Up: Ace defeats Laura Kelly, Ace wins Star Wars Tournament, Dan defeats Ben Batemen second time
Who saw this coming? I guess we should have, but even when Dan cam back for his interview with Jen Sterger and Rocha wasn’t there, you may not have expected it. Even if you did, you could not have expected the absolute viciousness Rocha tossed at his friend. My jaw was on the ground and it was a devastating way to end a day’s length of programming.
Best Promo: Ken Napzok in Star Wars Tournament
Runners-Up: Drew Ghai and the Schmoeminati, Brandon Hanna’s long diatribe, Rocha spits fire on Dan.
Ken Napzok’s Star Wars promo was a thing of beauty. It was very wrestling-esque and it featured his character as much as the match itself. It was a master class in promo work and, despite its length, never felt dull. The original Schmoeminati promo was an amazing performance from Drew Ghai as he was incredibly convincing despite the silly premise. You knew something big was going to happen.
Best Character: Lon “The Delinquent” Harris.
Runners-Up: Andrew Ghai, Tom, Video Drew
The change of “The Professor” to “The Delinquent” was one of the year’s greatest character shifts. Lon Harris was totally committed to the character, even inside matches. Andrew Ghai‘s performance was golden, but the character was inconsistent. He may be a leading candidate for next year though after seeing the end cut scene of the Spectacular. Video Drew has been great every time and probably has a hand in with Lon. Tom suffered without Video Drew this year, but he was another character dedicated to his performance.
Best Innergeekdom Player of the Year: Chandru “The Chosen” Dhandapani.
Runners-Up: Chance Ellison, Mike Kalinowski, Alex Damon
Chandru was a force this year. Not only as an obnoxious heel, but also as a dominate trivia question answerer. His defeat of Kevin Smets was a brilliant head game and he defended the title, becoming the first IG champion since Jason Inman to do so. Chance Ellison won the IG Tournament over Mike Kalinowski, his KOrroption team mate. Alex Damon showed signs that he could develop into as dominate a IG player as he is a Star Wars player. All he needs is a little work on DC movies.
Star Wars Player of the Year: Andres “Ace” Cabrera.
Runners-Up: Andrew Dimalanta, Alex Damon, Laura Kelly
Andres Cabrera won the Star Wars Tournament in an unbelievably impressive manner. So impressive he was that he inspired Alex Damon to up his game. I know Alex Damon could have won this award, but he only had one Star Wars match this year. I know that is not his fault, but it does make it hard to give it too him even after he TKO’d Ace. Andrew Dimalanta had one of the great matches of the year, but his defeat to Ace was painful.
Exhibition Match of the Year: The Lord of the Rings Exhibition
Runners-Up: Battle of the Champions, Horror, MCU, Rocky Championship
They are supposed to be just exhibitions. Still, there were some amazing battles and intense matches anyway. None better than the LotR match, won by Robert Parker. It was also the match that showed that Alex Damon may have chops in more than just Star Wars. Marc Andreyko winning the horror exhibition was great and Sean Gerber flexing his MCU muscles was very impressive too. Kevin Smets winning the Battle of the Champions is great, especially with his terrible news later in the year.
Comeback of the Year: Andres Cabrera.
Ace was slaughtered early in the year by Robert Parker in an Innergeekdom match. That did not stop him and he took that inspiration and marched through his Star Wars tournament to grab an unexpected victory, which is included in the Upset of the Year. Andres was considered the underdog in every match he played in that tournament and he brought it home each time.
Every year, we give out the special Expendables Award for Acting Excellence because…. well, I am not sure why. The Expendables have a big cast and this gives us a chance to be funny.
Best Expendable Actor as Santa Claus. Kurt Russell(A Christmas Chronicle 2). This was actually a difficult category this year, since there were two Expendables playing Santa Claus (the other being Mel Gibson in Fatman). However, this is the second time Kurt Russell has played Santa and he (along with Goldie Hawn) was the best part of A Christmas Chronicle 2. And the other one was Mel Gibson.
Best Expendable Actor with a CGI Dog. Harrison Ford (Call of the Wild). Another one of the best parts of a poor movie, Harrison Ford played off the most ridiculous CGI dog that was totally distracting. Ford is always engaging though.
Best Expendables Voice Over Actor. Terry Crews (The Willoughbys). One of the more fun animated films on Netflix this year, Terry Crews voices the character Commander Melanoff, one of the standout characters in the film.
Television in 2020 saw the conclusion of one of the favorite TV show around EYG. Marvel’s Agents of Shield broadcast its seventh and final season of the superhero/spy drama and it was some of the best episodes of the series.
While initially, the cast believed that season 5, which saw a happily ever after ending for Philandra (Coulson and May), would be the final one. However, ABC surprised them with an order for two more shortened seasons.
Although season six was good, but not the best of the series, season 7 was unbelievable as the Agents of Shield went into the time stream and found themselves jumping around time.
We had spent so much time with these characters that this final stretch became remarkably emotional and, at times, painful.
Perhaps the best episode of the entire series was directed by our very own Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge and was titled by “As I Have Always Been.” It saw the death of Enoch (Joel Stoffer), the Chronicon who had joined the group by befriending FitzSimmons.
Another amazing twist of the season was how the team wound up in the time with Daniel Sousa, a character from the Agent Carter ABC series. The inclusion of Sousa, along with the chemistry-filled relationship with Daisy, brought a new dynamic to the show. While I did not have a connection to Sousa in Agent Carter (although I know he was a hugely popular character there), it did not take long to fall in love with the fish out of water agent.
Then, the finale was so awesome too, but one of my personal favorite moment was when Melinda May embraced her past and admitted to her kick ass status as The Cavalry! She crashed through the ceiling in a perfect timed moment to crush villainous Sybil. I legitimately called out when it happened.
Agents of Shield was filled with action, adventure, humor, emotions and tears. The seventh season was the perfect way to wind the series up (even though I would absolutely watch more episodes if they would make them). That is even with the fact that Coulson and May did not end up together.
Thank you to Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennett, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Joel Stoffer, Enver Gjokaj and Jeff Ward. This is one of my favorite shows of all time.