A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times published its list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century (so far), a thoughtful, really well-produced package that I slowly savoured and, really, had no quarrel with. This week, The New York Times Magazine released its annual Great Performers issue and its list of the Best Screen Performances of 2020, curated by Wesley Morris and A.O. Scott, and it too is outstanding, complemented by several interviews and essays and if you haven’t already and you want to really get immersed in something for an hour, check it out and then click on every single link that’s provided in the piece.
The list of Best Actors of 2020 confirms what Sarah’s been saying since the halfway point of the year: that even though there’s been so much bullsh-t in 2020, it’s been an excellent year for female artists. And indeed a majority of these performances recognised by The New York Times Magazine are by women and or those who don’t identify as men. I also love their list of performances isn’t limited to traditional media, film and television – “screen” also includes performances on digital platforms like Twitter and Tiktok. A.O. Scott’s piece about “Two Minute Geniuses” celebrates how four short form creatives got us through this year and disrupted the comedy landscape. One of the best examples of this is Jeff Wright’s aliens sketch; I have probably watched this at least 75 times since April.
Real Aliens Be Like ðŸ‘½ pic.twitter.com/JZzBNCCzhH— Jeff Wright (@JeffRightNoww) April 16, 2020
Jeff is now a writer at Late Night with Seth Meyers. There is a lot that is temporary about social media, and obviously there is so much toxicity too. But social media is also where new storytellers have emerged, voices who otherwise would not have been discovered, with stories that otherwise would not have been heard.
Speaking of storytellers though, Wesley Morris’s beautiful (as usual) essay, “Masks Off”, features five women who are literally telling their own stories and pushing the autobiographical artform to new excellence. One of those is Radha Blank whose The Forty-Year-Old-Version premiered on Netflix this fall – and as Sarah wrote in her review, “announces Radha Blank as a major talent, both in front of and behind the camera”.
But as Wesley writes in the opening paragraphs of his piece:
“I know what you’re thinking: Radha who? To which I say, “Exactly!”
There are entertainers like Radha Blank out there who are doing the work – and doing it better – but it’s also the responsibility of those who cover entertainment to make sure that that work is getting its due attention. Which is my way of saying thanks to Sarah and to all our contributors for expanding the field of coverage that we offer here at LaineyGossip.
For more on The New York Times Magazine list of Best Performers of 2020, click here.
Yours in gossip,