What a difference a year makes. This time in 2019, the online film community was reeling after Green Book won Best Picture at the Oscars. To many, Green Book represented everything wrong with the Academy in the #OscarsSoWhite era. But this year, Film Twitter is rejoicing after the Korean film Parasite led an upset to take home the highest honor of the night, subtitles and all.
The Academy once again opted to go without a host for this year’s Oscars, and just like last year the choice seemed perfectly suited to the occasion. Why tie yourself down to one personality when you can have fresh faces popping up all throughout the night? Ricky Gervais’ hosting stint at the Golden Globes this year proves the point. Gervais is known for his acerbic sense of humor, but he seemed excessively condescending and cynical this time around which made for an uncomfortable evening. The Academy sidestepped all of that by presenting a diverse array of presenters. If one bit didn’t work, there was another one right around the corner, and no one person had the power to tank the evening. It’s the perfect format, and other awards shows will undoubtedly follow suit in time.
All of the highlights of the night came in the form of perfect match-ups: Steve Martin and Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and of course James Corden and Rebel Wilson dressed up as their characters from Cats which didn’t need any words to land the punchline. As for the awards themselves, there were few surprises until the end. Laura Dern, Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger, and Joaquin Phoenix were all heavy favorites to win, and they did. Then came Best Director… Most experts predicted Sam Mendes would win for 1917, but the Academy surprised everyone by awarding Bong Joon-ho with the prize instead. That left the door open for Parasite to win it all, and sure enough, Joon-ho’s film took home the Best Picture trophy. Film lovers everywhere rejoiced. Roll credits.
Parasite’s win capped off an incredible year for film. 2019 was the best year for movies since the start of the 00’s. Though sadly, the best film of the year wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. The Last Black Man in San Francisco towered above every other release last year, and remains the best movie we’ve seen since 2016’s Moonlight. Uncut Gems was another great movie snubbed by the Academy that we can’t stop thinking about, which is precisely why our top ten list is so vital. Every year’s list begins with the first movie seen, and, bit by bit, films are kicked down the rankings until only ten remain. We can’t count on the Oscars to get everything right. We have to keep track of it ourselves.
And so, after twelve months of that process, we now present the ten best movies of 2019. We hope you’ll take the time to revisit each one and remember all the moments that made last year so memorable. Because when it’s all said and done, the only thing that matters are the stories themselves. What stories will be told this year?