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The 30 Best Short Film Performances Of 2020

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.


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