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The Best Of The First Two Thirds Of 2019

I swear, 2019 is just flying by! As we have now wrapped up August and are more than a few days into the month of September, I wanted to once again put a bow on everything that’s come before the next stage of the fall festival season. That way, it could focus us more clearly on the awards contenders to come, all the while remembering the hopefuls from the parts of 2019 we’ve completed. As such, today I’m putting out my list of the best of the first third of the year so far. Below you’ll see what the first eight months have brought us, including some films seen at festivals as well as early year releases that the precursors will surely forget, sadly. I don’t have any titles that I’m embargoed on right now, so this is as close to an exhaustive look at everything that’s hit screens between January 1st and today as possible. Enjoy, and remember, this is simply what I feel has been the best of the year to date, based on the nearly 250 movies I’ve seen so far. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but this is how I’ve seen 2019 to date. By the by, I’m including everything I’ve seen so far this year, just as an FYI. No holds barred here!

Enough teasing it out. Here we go. Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the first two thirds of 2019. Here you go, and enjoy:

10. The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
9. Midsommar
8. Long Shot
7. The Art of Self-Defense
6. The Public
5. Avengers: Endgame
4. Booksmart
3. Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
2. The Peanut Butter Falcon
1. Blinded by the Light

Honorable Mentions: The Farewell, High Flying Bird, Knock Down The House, The Mustang, The Kill Team, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Running With Beto, Shazam!, Toy Story 4, Us,

Special Citation: Buffaloed

Most Underrated: The Art of Self-Defense, Blinded by the Light, Booksmart, High Fying Bird, The Kill Team, Long Shot, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, The Peanut Butter Falcon, The Public, and Running With Beto

Most Overrated: American Dharma, Ash is Purest White, High Life, It: Chapter Two, and Rocketman

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

10. Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (and Midsommar)
9. Mary Kay Place in Diane
8. Matthias Schoenaerts in The Mustang
7. Lupita Nyong’o in Us
6. Jesse Eisenberg in The Art of Self-Defense
5. Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart
4. Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
3. Leonardo Dicaprio in Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
2. Charlize Theron in Long Shot
1. Sam Elliott in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot

Honorable Mentions: Zazie Beetz (High Flying Bird), Hermione Corfield (Rust Creek), James Badge Dale (The Standoff at Sparrow Creek), Bruce Dern (The Mustang), Laura Dern (JT Leroy), Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame), Emilio Estevez (The Public), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Jim Gaffigan (Being Frank), Andrew Garfield (Under the Silver Lake), Zack Gottsagen (The Peanut Butter Falcon), André Holland (High Flying Bird), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Fast Color), Ben Mendelsohn (Captain Marvel), Alessandro Nivola (The Art of Self-Defense), Imogen Poots (The Art of Self-Defense), Ray Romano (Paddleton), Alexander Skarsgård (The Hummingbird Project), and Harley Quinn Smith (All These Small Moments)

Most Underrated: Bruce Dern, Sam Elliott, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Romano, and Charlize Theron

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: Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (runner up: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo for Avengers: Endgame and Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz for The Peanut Butter Falcon)

Best Actor: Sam Elliott for The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (runner up: Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood and Jesse Eisenberg for The Art of Self-Defense)

Best Actress: Charlize Theron for Long Shot (runner up: Kaitlyn Dever for Booksmart and Lupita Nyong’o for Us)

Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (runner up: Bruce Dern for The Mustang and Alessandro Nivola for The Art of Self-Defense)

Best Supporting Actress: Harley Quinn Smith for All The Small Things (runner up: Beanie Feldstein for Booksmart and Laura Dern for JT LeRoy)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Shazam! and Toy Story 4)

Best Original Screenplay: The Peanut Butter Falcon (runner up: Blinded by the Light and Booksmart)

Best Ensemble: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood and The Public)

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 4 (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part)

Best Documentary Feature: Knock Down the House (runner up: Cold Case Hammarskjöld and Running With Beto)

Best Foreign Language Feature: Pain and Glory (runner up: Non-Fiction and Woman at War)

Best Production Design: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (runner up: Blinded by the Light and The Peanut Butter Falcon)

Best Cinematography: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (runner up: The Peanut Butter Falcon and Under the Silver Lake)

Best Costume Design: Aladdin (runner up: Avengers: Endgame and Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood)

Best Film Editing: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Booksmart and Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood)

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

Best Sound: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Blinded by the Light and Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood)

Best Original Score: Us (runner up: Avengers: Endgame and Toy Story 4)

Best Original Song: Aladdin {Speechless} (runner up: Child’s Play and Toy Story 4)

Best Visual Effects: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Aladdin and Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood)

As a bonus, here are ten movies I can’t wait to see during the final third of the year:

10. The Report
9. Parasite
8. Dolemite Is My Name
7. Joker
6. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
5. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
4. Ad Astra
3. The Irishman
2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
1. Marriage Story

Quickly, in case you’re wondering, these are my least favorite films of the year so far, in order from worst to, well, slightly less terrible:

The Haunting of Sharon Tate
The Dirt
Escape Room
The Amityville Murders

Let us never speak of those flicks again…

Here’s to a final third of the year!

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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