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The Best Films And Performances Of 2019

Welcome to the last day of the decade. As we move from 2019 to 2020, it’s time for my annual look at year’s best and brightest. Yes, today I’ll be giving out some personal awards, revealing my top ten list, and basically just putting a final bow on the year. 2019 is about to end, so why don’t we go out with a bang?

Let’s get started with the end of the year rundown folks!

As always, below you will be able to see both my picks for the very best movies of 2019 as well as the best performances of the year. In terms of the films, I’ll be doing a top 30 list again, with a dozen honorable mentions, just because (I like including as much as possible on these lists…we know this by now). The same will go for the performances I’m keenest on, where I’ll do a top ten and honorable mentions. Finally, I’ll conclude with awards in a whole bunch of categories. After this, there will be no question what I favored this year. Astute readers probably know my top ten, or at least most of it, but even if you’re in the dark, that won’t last much longer. Anyway, on to the really good stuff…

Here goes nothing. Behold the best of 2019!

Starting off, here’s my top 30 films for 2019:

30. The Report
29. Us
28. The Mustang
27. Knives Out
26. Spider-Man: Far From Home
25. High Flying Bird
24. Bombshell
23. The Two Popes
22. Jojo Rabbit
21. Toy Story 4
20. The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
19. Midsommar
18. Honey Boy
17. 1917
16. Uncut Gems
15. Ad Astra
14. The Public
13. Marriage Story
12. The Art of Self-Defense
11. Avengers: Endgame
10. Long Shot
9. Western Stars
8. Waves
7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
6. Booksmart
5. The Irishman
4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
3. Parasite
2. The Peanut Butter Falcon
1. Blinded by the Light

Honorable Mentions: Captain Marvel, Cold Case Hammarskjöld, Cold Pursuit, The Farewell, Fighting with My Family, Ford v Ferrari, The Kill Team, Knock Down the House, The Lion King, Shazam!, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, and Under the Silver Lake

Special Citation: Buffaloed (seen at the Tribeca Film Festival but now out into early on in 2020)

Here also are my top ten performances for the year:

10. Lupita Nyong’o in Us
9. Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart
8. Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
7. Leonardo Dicaprio in Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
6. Charlize Theron in Bombshell/Long Shot
5. Joe Pesci in The Irishman
4. Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story
3. Adam Driver in Marriage Story
2. Sam Elliott in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
1. Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

Honorable Mentions: Zazie Beetz (High Flying Bird), Sterling K. Brown (Waves), Julia Butters (Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood), James Badge Dale (The Standoff at Sparrow Creek), Bruce Dern (The Mustang), Laura Dern (JT Leroy/Marriage Story), Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame), Jesse Eisenberg (The Art of Self-Defense), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Zack Gottsagen (The Peanut Butter Falcon), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (Waves), André Holland (High Flying Bird), Noah Jupe (Honey Boy), Shia LeBeouf (Honey Boy/The Peanut Butter Falcon), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Fast Color), Ben Mendelsohn (Captain Marvel), Alessandro Nivola (The Art of Self-Defense), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Mary Kay Place (Diane), Imogen Poots (The Art of Self-Defense), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes), Florence Pugh (Fighting with My Family/Midsommar), Margot Robbie (Bombshell), Ray Romano (Paddleton), Taylor Russell (Waves), Matthias Schoenaerts (The Mustang), Alexander Skarsgård (The Hummingbird Project/The Kill Team), Harley Quinn Smith (All These Small Moments), and Kristen Stewart (Seberg)

Most Underrated: Kaitlyn Dever and Sam Elliott

Most Underrated: Blinded by the Light (runner up: Long Shot and The Peanut Butter Falcon)
Most Overrated: Joker (runner up: Little Women and Rocketman)

And now, my personal awards for the year that was 2019:

Best Picture: Blinded by the Light (runner up: Parasite and The Peanut Butter Falcon)

Best Director: Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (runner up: Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Bong Joon-Ho for Parasite)

Best Actor: Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems (runner up: Adam Driver for Marriage Story and Sam Elliott for The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot)

Best Actress: Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story (runner up: Kaitlyn Dever for Booksmart and Charlize Theron for Bombshell)

Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci for The Irishman (runner up: Sterling K. Brown for Waves and Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood)

Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern for Marriage Story (runner up: Margot Robbie for Bombshell and Taylor Russell for Waves)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Blinded by the Light (runner up: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and The Irishman)

Best Original Screenplay: The Peanut Butter Falcon (runner up: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood and Parasite)

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 4 (runner up: Frozen II and The Lion King)

Best Documentary Feature: Western Stars (runner up: Cold Case Hammarskjöld and Knock Down the House)

Best Foreign Language Feature: Parasite (runner up: Bacurau and The Whistlers)

Best Production Design: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (runner up: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Parasite)

Best Cinematography: 1917 (runner up: Ad Astra and The Irishman)

Best Costume Design: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (runner up: Dolemite Is My Name and Uncut Gems)

Best Film Editing: The Irishman (runner up: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood and Waves)

Best Makeup: Bombshell (runner up: Avengers: Endgame and The Irishman)

Best Sound: 1917 (runner up: Ad Astra and Uncut Gems)

Best Original Score: Waves (runner up: Marriage Story and Western Stars)

Best Original Song: The Next Right Thing from Frozen II (runner up: Beautiful Ghosts from Cats and Shecky Don’t Like It from Jay and Silent Bob Reboot)

Best Visual Effects: The Irishman (runner up: Ad Astra and The Lion King)

*Special Bonus Category*

Best Cast Ensemble: The Irishman (runner up: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood and Waves)

Best Soundtrack: Blinded by the Light (runner up: Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood and Western Stars)

Quickly now, just because, these would be my ten worst films of the year, in alphabetical order:

The Dirt
Escape Room
The Fanatic
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
The Haunting of Sharon Tate

Let us never speak of those again, as they contributed nothing of quality to the cinematic discussion. Agreed? Agreed…

Here’s to a really top notch 2020, both for movies and just for everyone’s life in general!

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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