“High Flying Bird” and “Us”: The Best Of The First Quarter Of 2019


Somehow, March is about to end. Ladies and gentlemen, as I seem to find myself saying around this point each and every single year…time really does fly. Believe it or not, we’re now a full three months into the 2018 movie calendar, which means we’re literally a quarter of the way through the film slate for the year. Wow. Just…wow. That got me thinking about what the best of the bunch so far this year has been, as I’m prone to do around this time each year. Since now is around the time when the film slate begins to transition into summer releases and counter programming independent fare ramps up, I thought it was the perfect time to praise the best of 2019 so far. Basically, anything that hit screens between January 1st and March 31st will be up for grabs here for my personal honors (which sadly eliminates one of my favorite films of the year, since it opens next week. You’ll see which in a few days, but it still is drawn from about 80 others that I’ve seen). Once again, here goes nothing!

Let’s get right to it. Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the first quarter of 2019. (For what it’s worth, this first quarter has been much weaker than years past, though that tells us nothing about the rest of the year, movie quality wise). Here you go folks, and enjoy:

10. Fighting with My Family
9. Dragged Across Concrete
8. Fyre
7. The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
6. The Mustang
5. Cold Pursuit
4. Captain Marvel
3. The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
2. High Flying Bird
1. Us

Honorable Mentions: Diane, Dumbo, Hotel Mumbai, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Triple Frontier, and Wrestle

Special Exemptions: Fast Color, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Mary Magdalene, The Public, and Stockholm (seen already this year and potentially liked but not out until later on in the year, so they’re not included above)

Here also are my top ten performances of the year so far:

10. Hermione Corfield in Rust Creek
9. Ben Mendelsohn in Captain Marvel
8. Ray Romano in Paddleton
7. Bruce Dern in The Mustang
6. Brie Larson in Captain Marvel
5. Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family
4. Matthias Schoenaerts in The Mustang
3. Lupita Nyong’o in Us
2. Mary Kay Place in Diane
1. Sam Elliott in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot

Honorable Mention: Zazie Beetz (High Flying Bird), James Badge Dale (The Standoff at Sparrow Creek), Jake Gyllenhaal (Velvet Buzzsaw), André Holland in High Flying Bird, Jack Lowden (Fighting with My Family), Lauren Lapkus (The Unicorn), Alexander Skarsgård (The Hummingbird Project). Harley Quinn Smith (All These Small Moments), Jodie Whittaker (Adult Life Skills), and Maisie Williams (Then Came You)

Most Underrated: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
Most Overrated: Ash is Purest White

As you might have guessed, my number one pick above would be my choice for Best Picture so far (with number two the runner up, and so on, but here are the other awards I would give out…

Best Director: Steven Soderbergh for High Flying Bird (runner up: J.C. Chandor for Triple Frontier and Jordan Peele for Us)

Best Actor: Sam Elliott for The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (runner up: André Holland for High Flying Bird and Matthias Schoenaerts for The Mustang)

Best Actress: Mary Kay Place for Diane (runner up: Lupita Nyong’o for Us and Florence Pugh for Fighting with My Family)

Best Supporting Actor: Bruce Dern for The Mustang (runner up: Ben Mendelsohn for Captain Marvel and Ray Romano for Paddleton)

Best Supporting Actress: Harley Quinn Smith for All The Small Things (runner up: Zazie Beetz for High Flying Bird and Toni Collette for Velvet Buzzsaw)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Cold Pursuit (runner up: Captain Marvel and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part)

Best Original Screenplay: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (runner up: High Flying Bird and Us)

Best Ensemble: Us (runner up: High Flying Bird and Hotel Mumbai)

Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (no runner ups)

Best Documentary Feature: Wrestler (runner up: The Brink and Leaving Neverland)

Best Foreign Language Feature: Woman at War (no runner ups)

Best Production Design: Us (runner up: Captain Marvel and The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot)

Best Cinematography: Us (runner up: High Flying Bird and The Mustang)

Best Costume Design: Dumbo (runner up: Captain Marvel and Fighting with My Family)

Best Film Editing: Us (runner up: Cold Pursuit and The Mustang)

Best Makeup: Captain Marvel (runner up: Dumbo and Us)

Best Sound: Us (runner up: Captain Marvel and Dumbo)

Best Original Score: Us (runner up: Dumbo and Triple Frontier)

Best Original Song: N/A

Best Visual Effects: Dumbo (runner up: Captain Marvel and Us)


There you go ladies and gentlemen…now to eagerly await the next quarter of cinematic releases!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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