Close-Up Culture list our 30 best short film performances of 2020.
30. Fred Hechinger – David
Hechinger holds his own alongside stars William Jackson Harper and Will Ferrell in this amusing short.
29. Charlotte Verwimp – Stephanie
Verwimp conveys the struggles of a young girl dealing with the pain and pressure of being a world-class gymnast. Sophie Decleir is also excellent as the coach.
28. Graham Patrick Martin and Justice Smith – Query
This cleverly scripted story is well acted by Martin and Smith, who do a brilliant job in the film’s most delicate scene.
27. Michel Poudrier – Found Me
Poudrier captures the emotional journey of a man whose life is changed by discovering underground wrestling. A mention also for the talented Nahéma Ricci, who delivers in the film’s climax.
26. Michail Tabakakis and Nikos Lekakis – Escaping The Fragile Planet
Tabakakis and Lekakis bring warmth and irresistible flirtatious energy to this apocalyptic tale.
25. Samantha Robinson – For Your Consideration
Poppy Gordon’s satire follows three entitled women as they brainstorm the ultimate ‘woke’ short film. Robinson is perfectly vapid as the leader of this pretentious group.
24. Stevie Basaula and Bradley Banton – Mandem
Basaula and Banton are entertaining as two drug dealers whose relationship is not what it seems.
23. Stella Baker – Three Men You Meet At Night
Baker captures the escalating dread of a young woman walking home alone at night.
22. Ruby Stokes and Frankie Box – Shagbands
Rising stars Stokes and Box give heartfelt performances as two schoolgirls who find themselves in a horrific situation.
21. Sarah Steele – Real Talk
Steele’s performance is the sympathetic and human core of Artemis Shaw’s satirical short.
20. Doyin Ajiboye – Dolapo Is Fine
Ajiboye shines as a girl who faces pressure to change her appearance and name.
19. Natalia Swift and Thodoris Nastos – Melatonin
Two captivating physical performances lead Nikos Pastras’ short film.
18. Oscar Isaac – The Letter Room
An amusing turn from Isaac in this role as a nosy corrections officer.
17. Rani Kumari – Bittu
Kumari’s performance in Bittu is packed with mischief, charm and heart.
16. Daniel Kaluuya and Seraphina Beh – Two Single Beds
Kaluuya and Beh offer fascinating portraits of two stand-up comedians.
15. Sylvester Byder and Clara Rosager – Turned
Byder plays a quietly troubled racing car driver, while Rosager is fantastic as his concerned girlfriend.
14. Akmaral Zykaeva – History Of Civilization
Zykaeva conveys the inner conflict of a young woman preparing to start a new life in London.
13. Shaq Bynes – Gramercy
First-time actor Bynes brings authenticity to this pensive short film.
12. Tijn Winters and Jetske Lieber – Marlon Brando
Winters and Lieber give thoughtful performances as two friends going their separate ways.
11. Amy Tyger – The Passing
A moving performance from Tyger as a mortician reflecting on her past relationships.
10. Angela Wong Carbone – Doublespeak
Carbone captures the quiet distress and helplessness of a young woman whose sexual harassment claims are dismissed by her work superiors.
9. Scarlett Brookes – Morning Song
Brookes portrays the intense experience of a woman suffering from postpartum psychosis.
8. Dustin Muchuvitz – Dustin
Muchuvitz gives a head-turning performance in Naïla Guiguet’s short.
7. Marguerite Bouchard and Patrick Hivon – Shooting Star
Hivon and Bouchard create a compelling dynamic between their two characters in Ariane Louis-Seize’s short film.
6. Crickets – Kristen Stewart
Stewart wrestles with insomnia in this short film. As is often the case, her nuanced performance is stronger than the film itself.
5. Jasmine Jobson – Good Thanks, You?
A moving performance from Jobson as a teenager who is struggling in the aftermath of a traumatic event.
4. Cameron Crosby – Cake Day
Crosby portrays the emotional turmoil of an addict who has slipped up on the eve of an important anniversary.
3. Garance Marillier – Little Princess
A gripping performance from Marillier as a young woman whose sheltered reality is disrupted.
2. Esme Creed-Miles – Sudden Light
Creed-Miles’ riveting performance leads this engrossing and disorienting short film. A special mention also for her fantastic co-star, Millie Ashford.
1. Elena Topalidou – Bella
A mesmerising performance from Topalidou. Her commanding on-screen presence holds the focus of Thelyia Petraki’s magnificent 24-minute short.