In a year we couldn't visit theaters, movies came to us

By Tom Gliatto
Updated December 31, 2020 09:40 AM
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Who would have ever thought that just one month after the 2020 Oscars, we wouldn't be able to even enter movie theaters? The COVID-19 pandemic sent the film industry reeling with the shutdowns of both movie theaters and film production, but Hollywood — of course — found a way.

Thanks to streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix, a slew of seriously good films still debuted this year — and as a bonus, we got to enjoy them from the comfort of our couches. Here, PEOPLE names the 10 best movies of the year. See more of PEOPLE's best in music, TV and books in this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

1. Soul

Credit: PIXAR

The best Pixar original since Inside Out, Soul is the cartoon It's a Wonderful Life. A jazz pianist (Jamie Foxx) heads to the afterlife, where he mentors a little soul (Tina Fey) who has yet to inhabit a body. Ideally, life lessons are learned while you're on earth — but better late than never. (Disney+, out Dec. 25)

2. Palm Springs

Credit: Hulu

Andy Samberg is trapped in Groundhog Day hell in the best comedy of the year. (Hulu)

3. Bad Education

Credit: HBO

Hugh Jackman plays a corrupt school administrator in this acidic true-life tale. (HBO)

4. Hamilton

Credit: disney +

Filmed onstage, the landmark hip-hop musical is alive with words and ideas. (Disney+)

5. News of the World

Credit: Bruce Talamon/Universal studios

Tom Hanks shepherds a young girl through the wilderness in a consoling Western. (Out Dec. 25)

6. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Credit: David Lee/Netflix

Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman are stupendous as blues musicians. (Netflix)

7. Black Is King

Credit: Disney+

Beyoncé codirects and stars in a lavish fantasy based on her album The Lion King: The Gift. (Disney+)

8. Tenet

Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner bros.

A dazzling — and frequently dizzying — time-bending action thriller. (On digital Dec. 15)

9. On the Rocks

Credit: Apple TV+

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones are father-daughter in Sofia Coppola's delicate, winsome comedy. (Apple TV+)

10. Da 5 Bloods

Credit: David Lee/Netflix

Spike Lee directs a ferociously entertaining adventure about Black Vietnam vets. (Netflix)