Looking back on the year, it’s safe to say that 2019 was a rather diverse year for movies. We received more classics from Disney’s Toy Story 4 and Frozen II, we saw the end of the legendary Star Wars saga in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and we even had some substantial breakthroughs in the arthouse and foreign movie genres with The Lighthouse and Parasite. From the very beginning right up to the tail end of the year, we experienced some of the decade’s best cinematic treasures.
With the awards season upon us, we wanted to pay homage to the titles that reminded us that movies are one of the greatest forms of art. From the reimagined take on a whodunnit movie to the return of Quentin Tarantino, here are just some of the most memorable movies from 2019.
Park Yeon-kyo (Yeo-jeong Jo) in Parasite (2019)
Bong Joon Ho’s family thriller made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, where it became the first South Korean movie to win the coveted Palme d’Or. After making its way into theatres worldwide, the movie became a sensation, grossing over $20 million in the U.S. and over $100 million worldwide. Not only did this movie make waves among movie fans everywhere, but it is also a top contender for the 2020 Oscar® for Best Picture.
Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) in Us (2019)
After Jordan Peele’s masterpiece Get Out (2017), audiences waited in agony for him to bring us another movie. Earlier this year, he didn’t disappoint when we were given his more ambitious title Us. In a mind-blowing performance, Lupita Nyong’o created not one but two original characters that drove the movie’s tension and excitement at every moment. Because of her performance, Nyong’o has rightfully earned several critics prizes for Best Actress.
Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) in Knives Out (2019)
Taking a break from his endeavors with Star Wars, Rian Johnson reignited a long-forgotten movie genre with his stab (pun definitely intended) at the classic Whodunnit. With a star-studded cast featuring Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans, LaKeith Stanfield, Don Johnson, and the up-and-coming favorite Ana de Armas, Knives Out took us back with a 21st century take on a murder mystery.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Avengers: Endgame (2019)
You can’t have a great year at the theatre without at least one superhero movie, but with Avengers: Endgame, we got the end-all-be-all of superhero movies. In this highly ambitious finale to one of Marvel’s most lucrative franchises, this crossover event brought together more than a decade’s worth of movies into one action-packed, tear-jerking, formula-shattering story—what a year for Marvel and movie fans alike.
Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) in The Lighthouse (2019)
For all you arthouse movie lovers and cinephiles, the return of Robert Eggers to the big screen with The Lighthouse was a dream-come-true. After his beloved, 2015 horror The VVitch, Eggers came to us almost four years later with this black-and-white masterpiece that left audiences and critics dumbfounded at its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Carried by alarmingly unhinged performances by Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse is sure to draw some attention come awards season.
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)
This summer we got to party like it was 1969 in Quentin Tarantino’s return to the big screen with Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. In his ninth movie, we got a detailed look into the sun-soaked paradise of Southern California during the tail end of the golden age of cinema. Taking a unique look at the travesties of the Manson family murders, Tarantino was named the National Board of Review’s best director while Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood was one of the only titles of 2019 to land a nomination from every guild!
Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) in 1917 (2019)
Coming in, by a hair, at the end of the year was Sam Mendes’ 1917, a World War I epic following the daring mission of two young soldiers across enemy lines. Teaming up with Mendes was famed cinematographer Roger Deakins and highly celebrated Dunkirk (2017) editor Lee Smith, creating a series of shots that was tailored together seamlessly to appear as if the entire movie is one continuous shot. When it was screened for critics earlier in the year, 1917 received some of the loudest acclaim thus far.
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) in Joker (2019)
Todd Phillips’ Joker was easily the year’s most anticipated, reviewed, and talked about movie of the year. In a wholly new take on the classic comic book villain, we were given a chilling, realistic approach to the Clown Prince of Crime’s descent into crippling madness. With a groundbreaking performance, it is no surprise that Joaquin Phoenix has been a top contender to earn the Best Actor nomination, along with the movie being talked up for Best Picture.