With the releases of Annabelle Comes Home and Yesterday, the first half of the 2019 movie year is complete. It has been quite an interesting year so far, with some truly great movies coming. Looking at the list of movies I have seen this year (101 total films) my favorite films are all over the place in terms of genre and budget. There have been a number of great franchise sequels that have come this year as well as some spectacular indies. I’ve also seen a number of great performances throughout the first half of the year. So many, in fact, I don’t think I’ll be able to call them all out in this post. Regardless, 2019 has been a weird, but surprisingly good year for movies so far. I am going to break down my favorite movies and performances of 2019 so far, as well as highlight some other categories, like writing and the technical pieces.
*NOTE – I will only be looking at movies that have been released in 2019 so far, excluding any that I have seen at festivals throughout the year.
*NOTE – For each category, I am going to list the “nominees” for the category and then choose one winner. For Best Picture, I am going to rank them from 10 – 1.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Billie Lourde – Booksmart
Emmy Rossum – Cold Pursuit
Tilda Swinton – The Dead Don’t Die
Tilda Swinton – The Souvenir *WINNER*
Julie Walters – Wild Rose
- 2019 is further proof Tilda Swinton can do anything, as her performances in The Dead Don’t Die and The Souvenir are so wildly different yet so wildly good as well. But her performance in The Souvenir is one of subtle beauty, and she delivers the films climactic moment with such heartache and class.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Skylar Gisondo – Booksmart
Samuel L. Jackson – Glass *WINNER*
Jonathon Majors – The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Will Smith – Aladdin
Vince Vaughn – Fighting With My Family
- He doesn’t say a word until an hour into the film, but Samuel L. Jackson is sensational in M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero film, carrying the movie in the final half and showing us how much of an evil genius Mister Glass with ease and confidence.
Kaitlyn Dever – Booksmart
Beanie Feldstein – Booksmart
Honor Swinton Byrne – The Souvenir
Lupita Nyong’o – Us *WINNER*
Elisabeth Moss – Her Smell
- Best Actress was loaded with so many great performances in the first half that I unfortunately had to leave some great ones off (sorry, Jessie Buckley!!). It was a toss-up between Elisabeth Moss and Lupita Nyong’o, but I ended up going with Lupita, who put in double work in Jordan Peele’s Us, completely immersing herself in both of her characters to give us a haunting, complex look at our own worst enemy.
Robert Downey Jr. – Avengers: Endgame *WINNER*
Taron Egerton – Rocketman
Jimmie Fails – The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Franz Rogowski – Transit
Matthais Schoenaerts – The Mustang
- Where Best Actress was loaded with performances, Best Actor was pretty thin, in easily the weakest acting category so far in 2019. But my winner goes to Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame, who is the heart and soul of the film and the entire franchise.
Joanna Hogg – The Souvenir
Jordan Peele – Us
Gasper Noé – Climax
Anthony and Joe Russo – Avengers: Endgame *WINNER*
M. Night Shyamalan – Glass
- The Russo Brothers made the biggest movie of the year and arguably of the decade and did so by balancing dozens of characters, exciting action, and tons of heart.
TOP 10 FILMS OF 2019 SO FAR
10 – TRIPLE FRONTIER (JC Chandor)
- JC Chandor’s latest is a smart, thrilling action flick with an all-star cast.
9- HER SMELL (Alex Ross Perry)
- Led by a committed, brilliant performance from Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell is a powerful look at a self-destructive artist and Alex Ross Perry’s best work to date.
8 – JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM (Chad Stahlenski)
- We know the fights were going to be great, but John Wick: Chapter 3 also features beautiful cinematography, great editing, and a movie-star performance from Keanu Reeves as a man desperate to set his world right.
7 – MISSING LINK (Chris Butler)
- Laika Studio’s latest feature is a stunning adventure filled with action, heart, and humor.
6 – US (Jordan Peele)
- Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his masterful Get Out is a creepy and bizarre horror film with an ending you won’t forget.
5 – THE SOUVENIR (Joanna Hogg)
- Joanna Hogg’s feature film debut is beautiful, heartbreaking look memory, emotional wounds, and toxic relationships.
4 – GLASS (M. Night Shyamalan)
- The finale of Shyamalan’s surprising Eastrail 177 trilogy is a meticulous, compelling, original look at superhero origin stories and trauma.
3 – BOOKSMART (Olivia Wilde)
- Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is the comedy of the year, featuring breakout performances from Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein.
2 – TOY STORY 4 (Josh Cooley)
- An exciting, funny, surprisingly moving new chapter in the Toy Story franchise.
1 – AVENGERS: ENDGAME (Anthony and Joe Russo)
- The biggest movie of the year (and maybe the decade) is a bold, emotional, entertaining blockbuster that sends this chapter of the MCU off in style, yet makes way for the new chapters the lie ahead.
BEST OF THE REST
Best Original Screenplay – The Souvenir
Runner Up – Her Smell
Best Adapted Screenplay – Toy Story 4
Runner Up – Glass
Best Editing – Avengers: Endgame
Runner Up – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Best Cinematography – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Runner Up – Us
Best Comedy – Booksmart
Runner Up – Toy Story 4
Best Superhero Movie – Avengers: Endgame
Runner Up – Shazam!
Best Horror/Thriller – Us
Runner Up – Happy Death Day 2U
Best Animated Movie – Toy Story 4
Runner up – Missing Link
Best Action Movie – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Runner Up – Triple Frontier
Favorite Movie Nobody Liked – Glass
Runner Up – Aladdin
Movie Everyone Liked That I Didn’t – Long Shot
Runner Up – Captain Marvel
TOP 5 SCENES
(Possible SPOILERS ahead)
1 – “AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE” – Avengers: Endgame
- After reversing Thanos’ snap, all the Avengers emerge back and team up to defeat the purple tyrant in a scene that caused standing ovations and tears.
2 – OPENING DANCE SEQUENCE – Climax
- Gasper Noé kicked off his nightmarish dance party with a hypnotic, five minute single take that plunges us right into this horrifying evening.
3 – “PRINCE ALI” – Aladdin
- A big, colorful, show-stopping number that solidified the live-action Aladdin was the real deal and a worthy remake of the original.
4 – ONE MAN SHOW – The Last Black Man in San Francisco
- The emotional high-point of Joe Talbot’s indie drama is a showcase for actor Jonathon Majors.
5 – GODZILLA AND GHIDORA FINAL BATTLE – Godzilla: King of the Monsters
- Watching two of the biggest monsters go at it on the big screen is what summer blockbusters are all about.
5 MOVIES I’VE ALREADY SEEN COMING OUT THIS YEAR YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT
1 – MIDSOMMAR (Ari Aster)
- Ari Aster’s incredibly disturbing follow-up to Hereditary (my favorite movie of 2018) is one of the best movies I have seen in 2019.
2 – THE REPORT (Scott Z. Burns)
- Adam Driver leads this tight, fascinating look at the government’s investigation into C.I.A interrogation tactics post-9/11.
3 – THE FAREWELL (Lulu Wang)
- A movie that will make you cry as much as it will make you laugh, Lulu Wang’s dramedy is a special film about family and tradition.
4 – THE NIGHTINGALE (Jennifer Kent)
- Jennifer Kent follows up The Babadook with this unflinching, brutal tale about revenge and friendship.
5 – MONOS (Alejandro Landes)
- It’s Lord of the Flies in the South American jungle and it’s a thrilling ride.
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