2020 was a rough year for everyone, but one of the few saving graces was film and television. Thankfully, despite many production shutdowns throughout the year, we were still treated to an array of movies and series that provided some respite during the pandemic. The small comfort of entertainment in 2020 has allowed us to continue with the annual ComicBook.com Golden Issue Awards. The staff here at ComicBook has taken a look back at 2020 and selected the best from comics, movies, television, anime, and video games. There were many memorable performances in 2020, but only one woman can earn the top spot for 2020's Best TV Actress. In a year filled with adaptations, one star took a character from the page and transformed her into a fierce, well-rounded, and compelling woman with extreme emotional depth.
And the winner of the 2020 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best TV Actress is…
Jurnee Smollett, for her role as Leti Lewis in HBO's Lovecraft Country!
From the very first episode of Lovecraft Country, Smollett played Leticia "Leti" Lewis as a woman you were excited to root for. In "Sundown," Smollett managed to show us many sides to her character. In her first moments onscreen, as she sings on stage with her sister Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) and shows off her winning smile to Atticus (Jonathan Majors) - an early flirtation that led to one of the year's best couples - Leti is charming and likable, but clearly has a few secrets and troubles that led to her return home. As the episode progresses, and Leti accompanies Atticus and Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip that leads them to a "sundown town," it becomes obvious that in addition to whatever supernatural threat looms, Leti has another big obstacle -- trying to survive as a Black woman in the 1950s. Leti acts fast when she realizes the threat the group is under, both by driving like a bat out of hell to escape, and by bolting from the show's first round of monsters. This is the first of many moments we know Leti is a survivor. From the very first episode, Smollett makes it clear that Leti is a woman with heart and brains.
Throughout the season, Smollett continued to solidify Leti as one of the year's best characters. She fought tooth and nail to protect her family and made tough decisions that were both heartbreaking and courageous. We saw her refuse to back down when her new house was haunted by ghosts or being attacked by the corrupt police. She bravely time-traveled to the harrowing Tulsa Race Massacre and was forced to watch as her baby's ancestors burned. Despite all of the tragedy bestowed upon her and her family, Leti never wavered in doing what she needed to do in order to protect those most important to her.
Smollett mixed charm and fervency in a way that allowed Leti to be seen as fierce and vulnerable all at once. Not only was it refreshing to see a strong Black cast lead a horror series (especially one based on H.P. Lovecraft), but having a woman like Leti onscreen in such a tumultuous year felt both comforting and meaningful. Well done, Jurnee Smollett!
- Anya Chalotra (The Witcher)
- Brec Bassinger (Stargirl)
- Erin Moriarty (The Boys)
- Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country) — WINNER
- Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Bly Manor)