Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2020

  • Publish Date: January 8, 2021
  • Comments: ↓ 22 user comments

The results of our 11th annual user poll are in ...

ImageFor the 11th straight year, we invited Metacritic users to list their favorite movies, TV shows, albums, and videogames of the past calendar year. Over 2,800 of you participated in this year's survey, and the results are tabulated below.

Participants were asked to rank their five favorite titles of 2020 in each category, and we assigned a value of 5 points to each first-place vote, 4 points for second place, and so on down to 1 point for each fifth-place vote.


It should come as no surprise in a year when heading to a movie theater was not an option for many Americans that the bulk of our users' favorite 2020 films were widely available on various streaming services. One notable exception: our users' #1 choice, Christopher Nolan's would-be blockbuster Tenet. That film is one of seven titles in our users' overall top 15 choices that is not found in our composite list of movie critic top 10 lists. Curiously, the critics' top choice, Nomadland, did manage to place #8 with users despite the fact that it won't receive a widespread public release until February. (That film, also Metacritic's official #1 film of 2020, had a limited virtual run in December to qualify for awards.) Our users' #2 pick, Pixar's Soul, placed 19th with critics, while the critics' #3 pick, Steve McQueen's Small Axe entry Lovers Rock, is one of several notable omissions in our user list (despite being widely available on Prime Video).

Best Movie of 2020 as Voted by Metacritic Users
movie still
Movie   Points
1 Tenet 1,113 bar
2 Soul 636 bar
3 I'm Thinking of Ending Things 580 bar
4 Mank 501 bar
5 Palm Springs 441 bar
6 The Trial of the Chicago 7 367 bar
7 Sound of Metal 344 bar
8 Nomadland 311 bar
9 First Cow 304 bar
10 Da 5 Bloods 291 bar
11 Never Rarely Sometimes Always 289 bar
12 The Invisible Man 278 bar
13 Hamilton 253 bar
14 Borat Subsequent Moviefilm 244 bar
15 Onward 175 bar

TV shows

While there was a wide discrepancy between critics and our users in film—driven in part by the lack of access to many of the films favored by critics—the two groups were much more in sync when it came to television. Thirteen of the top 15 selections by users can also be found ranked in the top 15 in our composite list of TV critic lists, albeit in a different order. (Users favored Netflix hit The Queen’s Gambit, which placed second with critics; the latter group selected HBO's I May Destroy You at #1 while users placed it at #7.) Which two user picks didn't make the critics' top 15? One is Hulu's second-year comedy PEN15, which just missed the cut with critics, placing at #18. The other is the final season of Netflix sci-fi thriller Dark, often described as a German take on Stranger Things, which landed on only a handful of critic top 10 lists (though was well-reviewed at the time of its release).

Best TV Show of 2020 as Voted by Metacritic Users
movie still
Show   Points
1 The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) 1,085 bar
2 Better Call Saul (AMC) 1,079 bar
3 The Mandalorian (Disney+) 932 bar
4 The Boys (Prime Video) 575 bar
5 BoJack Horseman (Netflix) 423 bar
6 The Crown (Netflix) 403 bar
7 I May Destroy You (HBO) 358 bar
8 Normal People (Hulu) 296 bar
9 The Last Dance (ESPN) 292 bar
10 What We Do in the Shadows (FX) 236 bar
11 Dark (Netflix) 203 bar
12 Schitt’s Creek (Pop) 200 bar
13 Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) 181 bar
14 PEN15 (Hulu) 143 bar
15 Mrs. America (FX on Hulu) 141 bar


Ten of the 15 titles from our user list, below, can also be found in the top 15 in our composite list of music critic top 10s. Users failed to include critic favorites like Bob Dylan's Rough and Rowdy Ways, Waxahatchee's Saint Cloud, Chloe x Halle's Ungodly Hour, and two albums by Sault. Instead, users favored releases by Lady Gaga, The Strokes, Miley Cyrus, and Fleet Foxes, plus Taylor Swift's second album of 2020. Speaking of Swift: She was the overwhelming #1 choice of our users, while that album—Folklore—placed third with critics. The latter group chose Fiona Apple's Fetch the Bolt Cutters at #1 (and it was also Metacritic's highest-scoring album of 2020), while users placed it at #4.

Best Album of 2020 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Album/Artist   Points
1 Folklore by Taylor Swift 2,029 bar
2 Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa 1,073 bar
3 Evermore by Taylor Swift 920 bar
4 Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple 860 bar
5 Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers 682 bar
6 Chromatica by Lady Gaga 570 bar
7 Sawayama by Rina Sawayama 491 bar
8 After Hours by The Weeknd 486 bar
9 RTJ4 by Run the Jewels 405 bar
10 Women in Music, Pt. III by Haim 275 bar
11 What's Your Pleasure? by Jessie Ware 242 bar
12 The New Abnormal by The Strokes 216 bar
13 Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus 202 bar
14 Set My Heart on Fire ... by Perfume Genius 186 bar
15 Shore by Fleet Foxes 178 bar


It wasn't even close: PS4 exclusive The Last of Us Part II was the favorite 2020 game of Metacritic users by a landslide. We don't compile game critic top 10 lists, but TLOS2 was the #2-ranked game of 2020 by Metascore. Our highest-scoring game of the year, Persona 5 Royal, placed just 13th with our users. And, yes, you'll notice that Cyberpunk 2077 managed to rank third in our user voting. We'll assume that all of those votes were for the PC edition.

Best Video Game of 2020 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Game   Points
1 The Last of Us Part II
10,194 bar
2 Ghost of Tsushima
2,079 bar
3 Cyberpunk 2077
PC: PS4: XB1:
1,691 bar
4 Hades
1,510 bar
5 Doom Eternal
PC: PS4: XB1: NS:
1,062 bar
6 Final Fantasy VII Remake
1,044 bar
7 Demon’s Souls
818 bar
8 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
701 bar
9 Ori and the Will of the Wisps
694 bar
10 Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
PS5: PS4:
615 bar
11 Assassin's Creed Valhalla
PC: PS5: PS4: XBX: XB1:
596 bar
12 Half-Life: Alyx
584 bar
13 Persona 5 Royal
487 bar
14 Resident Evil 3
PC: PS4: XB1:
463 bar
15 Nioh 2
354 bar

How did you do?

What do you think of the picks made by your fellow users? Let us know in the comments section below, and don't forget to visit our Best of 2020 and sections for complete coverage of the year's best releases.


Comments (22)

  • playboicartidad  


  • raffice  

    TLOU2 isn't the best game, it's the MOST POPULAR but still EXCELLENT game, it definitely deserves to be in the top 5 but i think some others game could have been in front of it.

  • Zackasaur  

    The Last of Us Part II very much deserves its overwhelming win.

    And Ghost of Tsushima is a great second place!

    The only thing I'd personally put ahead is Final Fantasy VII Remake... But personal taste is what it is.

    Cyberpunk was such a corporate disgrace that it honestly shouldn't have even been eligible for votes.

  • DaveMarty  

    "TLOU2 won? hOw?"'s simple TLOU2 haters, it's literally the same way how TLOU2 won 228 GOTY awards Worldwide 74 of which are "Players Choice" GOTY awards... i wouldn't be surprised if TLOU2 won over 250 GOTY awards after all is said and done.... it means when you haters brigaded TLOU2 metacritic site on release day that you are just a TINY minority and your shrill voices really didnt matter in the end... that's it.

  • FullMetalWesker  

    Okay, I've got to raise an eyebrow at the number of votes The Last of Us II has gotten compared to not just the other games, but the other mediums (Film, TV, Music); none of them have anything even close to the number of total votes that this one Video Game has, and while I can buy it beating GoT for first place, the sheer canyon-level gap between the two is a bit too much to take without scepticism.
    Besides that though, an interesting list. A shame a lot of movies last year were pushed back, or just not made, rendering the choices relatively slim, but here's hoping this year turns out better.

  • CrysKami  

    big f to all the stupid tlou2 haters. deserved win, this simply proves that the massive score bombing on releaseday was more than **** GOTY by far.

  • Arcverson  

    I can't believe that some of those TlOU2 haters have the audacity to claim that this 10k poll got "brigaded" while also bragging about the "totally legit' 140k user metascore of the game in the same breath. Just how delusional one can be? Like seriously wtf?

  • dandalis  

    Seems like TLOU2 stans brigaded the vote hard.

  • tshrimp  

    The Last of Us II rated the best? How? User reviews have it at 5.3. Is this rating a typical media play on stats to get the game they want at top?

  • TheRaggedFlygon  

    I enjoyed Tenet... wouldn't go as far to say it is the best film of the year, but at least Sound of Metal (my #1 pick) go some of the recognition that it deserves.

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