10 February 2020

The Speakeasies (or The Year in Movies according to Yours Truly) 2019

The best of 2019 in movies, according to yours truly.

What follows is who I would nominate and select for the major Academy Award categories, based on the 38 (very weak for me actually) feature films I saw from the year 2019.

Winners in bold.

Here. We. Go.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Image result for brad pitt once upon a time in hollywood

Matt Damon - "Ford v Ferrari"
Song Kang-ho - "Parasite"
Al Pacino - "The Irishman"
Brad Pitt - "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
Paul Rudd - "Avengers: Endgame"

He didn't even have to try. And his Oscar speech is going to kill. (But please also remember that Paul Rudd, in perfectly beautiful ways, spins the "Endgame" into action.)

Actress in a Supporting Role

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Yeo-jong Cho - "Parasite"
Laura Dern - "Marriage Story"
Jennifer Lopez - "Hustlers"
Florence Pugh - "Little Women"
Shuzhen Zhao - "The Farewell"

She played two characters within the same character, one of whom is a 13-year-old twit. And she nails both in the best version of Amy March ever, Alcott notwithstanding. (J Lo tho.)


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Roger Deakins - "1917"
Hong Kyung-pyo - "Parasite"
Pawel Pogorzelski - "Midsommar"
Rodrigo Prieto - "The Irishman"
Robert Richardson - "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"

[Quickly flicks peach fuzz]... the look of "Parasite," the way the camera places you into the ironies of its story, its ensemble of desperate people. Chilling, fun, and beautiful. (Deakins' achievement cannot be understated. It is a big one.)

Music (Original Score)

Alexandre Desplat - "Little Women"
Hildur Guðnadóttir - "Joker"
Jung Jaeil - "Parasite"
Nathan Johnson - "Knives Out"
Randy Newman - "Marriage Story"

I stated that watching Greta Gerwig's "Little Women" is like mainlining warm blankets. Desplat's score is like a third of that. (Hildur's "Joker" score slaps. Just sayin'...)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Greta Gerwig - "Little Women"
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely - "Avengers: Endgame"
Lorene Scafaria - "Hustlers"
Taika Waititi - "Jojo Rabbit"
Steven Zaillian - "The Irishman"

One of the cleverest deconstructions of a literary classic I've ever...no...I've never seen anything like it. Just such a smart way to tell the story, especially one we all no pretty damn well. (Mad props to Markus and McFeely for crafting a story so beautifully in tune with what each of us loves about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Rian Johnson - "Knives Out"
Bong Joon Ho and Jin Won Han - "Parasite"
Josh and Benny Safdie - "Uncut Gems"
Quentin Tarantino - "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
Lulu Wang - "The Farewell"

It's the best story told in 2019. (Here are my deep thoughts on the actual Oscar category.)

Actress in a Leading Role

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Ana de Armas - "Knives Out"
Scarlett Johansson - "Marriage Story"
Lupita Nyong'o - "Us"
Florence Pugh - "Midsommar
Charlize Theron - "Long Shot"

No leading performance connected with me, moved me the way Ana de Armas' Marta did. Her comedic timing, her chemistry with Daniel Craig, her sincerity... (Honestly could say the same thing about Charlize in "Long Shot." I freakin' love that movie.)


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Quentin Tarantino - "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
Martin Scorsese - "The Irishman"
Bong Joon Ho - "Parasite"
Lorene Scafaria - "Hustlers"
Josh and Benny Safdie - "Uncut Gems"

Again, it's the greatest story told in 2019. And I can't imagine what it took to so closely tune every single gear of this thing so tightly. (Honestly could say the same thing about the Safdie Brothers and "Uncut Gems" and "Hustlers" is magnetic--credit to the choices of Lorene Scafaria.)

Actor in a Leading Role

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Leonardo DiCaprio - "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
Adam Driver - "Marriage Story"
Robert De Niro - "The Irishman"
Daniel Craig - "Knives Out"
Adam Sandler - "Uncut Gems"

Consider this retribution for the Sandman. As the boys on Filmspotting read from my email, "Adam Sandler got hosed. Pre-Golden Globes I was ready to make a three-way parlay: Sandler-Globes; Sandler-SAG; Sandler-Oscar. Alas...nada." His peers either hate him or didn't see the movie. (Daniel Craig got hosed too.)

Best Picture

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"Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
"Marriage Story"
"Little Women"
"The Irishman"
"Avengers: Endgame"
"Knives Out"
"Ford v Ferrari"

The movie I pick as my favorite of the year is usually the one that impacts my emotions the most. There were a lot of those in 2019, so I had to default to the one that got me the most, first. That was Quentin Tarantino's fairy tale, a love letter to a Hollywood he remembers as pure and good. (Click here for my full pitch for why it should've won Best Picture.)

Until next year...

This is a living document. It will be updated as I see more movies from 2019 in the years to come.

Every 2019 Release I've Seen on...

(from best to worst, based on my own gut feeling as of February 10, 2020)


  1. Love this post, and all the love for Parasite <3
    I so need to see Hustlers. I wrote it off from the trailer and the hype and love for it has been overwhelming!

  2. Well you know you were right in a few things and not in others. I need to see the Adam Sandler film and Knives Out. I watched Parasite and I loved it until the bloodbath. Why did the director go a complete 180? I feel he went off in that manner. On another note, the actors should have been nominated.

  3. With the exception of Uncut Gems (which I haven't seen), I can't argue with these choices as these are excellent.

  4. Great picks! Love these Speakeasies. Really happy to see Hollywood take the top spot, and I thought Ana de Armas held Knives Out together. What a performance.