2019 CineFiles Awards — Best Films of the Year

I do a lot of awards season coverage on this site (admittedly, much less of it this season). For the amount of attention the Academy Awards is given on CineFiles, I don’t always agree with the choices the Academy makes. As such, in this end-of-year sprint to catch up on as many movies as possible, I decided to put together a ballot of my own personal favorites of the year.

The ballot covers all Oscar categories except the three short film categories, as I have seen only a small number of short films this year. Other films I find noteworthy—including my favorite short film of the year—are given honorable mention at the end.

Although I will not elaborate on my personal choices in these categories, most of the picks will no doubt be discussed on this site as awards season starts heating up. And, as always, there are films which have fallen through the cracks or have not been released at the time of writing, the most pertinent among them being Little Women, Uncut Gems, and 1917.

The picks in each category are alphabetized, not ranked. Boldfaced titles indicate category winners.

 

Best Picture

  • An Elephant Sitting Still
  • The Farewell
  • The Lighthouse
  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Honorable Mentions: Birds of Passage, Her Smell, High Life, The Irishman, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Marriage Story, Pain & Glory, Transit, Us

 

Best Actor

  • An Elephant Sitting Still – Peng Yuchang
  • The Lighthouse – Robert Pattinson
  • Marriage Story – Adam Driver
  • Pain & Glory – Antonio Banderas
  • Parasite – Song Kang-ho

Honorable Mentions: Eddie Murphy (Dolemite is My Name), Franz Rogowski (Transit), Huang Jue (Long Day’s Journey into Night), Jake Horowitz (The Vast of Night), Robert De Niro (The Irishman),  Viveik Kalra (Blinded by the Light)

 

Best Actress

  • Ash is Purest White – Zhao Tao
  • Marriage Story – Scarlett Johansson
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Adele Haenel
  • Us – Lupita Nyong’o
  • Wild Rose – Jessie Buckley

Honorable Mentions: Awkwafina (The Farewell), Charlize Theron (Bombshell/Long Shot), Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), Honor Swinton Byrne (The Souvenir), Mary Kay Place (Diane), Renee Zellweger (Judy)  Sierra McCormick (The Vast of Night), Sofia Boutella (Climax)

 

Best Director

  • An Elephant Sitting Still – Hu Bo
  • The Irishman – Martin Scorsese
  • The Lighthouse – Robert Eggers
  • Parasite – Bong Joon-ho
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Celine Sciamma

Honorable Mentions: Christian Petzold (Transit), Claire Denis (High Life), Jordan Peele (Us), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Pedro Almodovar (Pain & Glory)

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Dolemite is My Name – Da’Vine Joy Randolph
  • The Farewell – Zhao Shuzhen
  • High Life – Juliette Binoche
  • Hustlers – Jennifer Lopez
  • Parasite – Park So-dam

Honorable Mentions: Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Becky (First Love), Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out), Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Lee Jung-eun (Parasite), Margot Robbie (Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood/Bombshell)

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • The Art of Self Defense – Alessandro Nivolo
  • The Irishman – Joe Pesci
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Jonathan Majors
  • The Lighthouse – Willem Dafoe
  • Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood – Brad Pitt

Honorable Mentions: Alan Alda (Marriage Story), Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame/Knives Out), Ray Romano (Paddleton), Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), Wesley Snipes (Dolemite is My Name),  Winston Duke (Us),  Yu Zhang (An Elephant Sitting Still)

 

Best Acting Ensemble

  • Dolemite is My Name
  • An Elephant Sitting Still
  • The Irishman
  • Knives Out
  • Parasite

Honorable Mentions: The Farewell, High Flying Bird, Jojo Rabbit, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, Pain & Glory, Us

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Farewell
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • The Lighthouse
  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Honorable Mentions: A Hidden Life, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, Pain & Glory, The Souvenir

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Blinded by the Light
  • An Elephant Sitting Still
  • The Irishman
  • Transit
  • The Two Popes

Honorable Mentions: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Dark Waters, Gloria Bell, Hustlers

 

Best Cinematography

  • An Elephant Sitting Still
  • The Irishman
  • The Lighthouse
  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Honorable Mentions: Birds of Passage, Climax, Her Smell, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, Pain & Glory, The Souvenir, Transit

 

Best Editing

  • The Irishman
  • Knives Out
  • The Lighthouse
  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Honorable Mentions: Ad Astra, Birds of Passage, High Life, Last Black Man in San Francisco, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, Pain & Glory

 

Best Production Design

  • Knives Out
  • Long Day’s Journey into Night
  • Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
  • Pain & Glory
  • Parasite

Honorable Mentions: Downton Abbey, The Lighthouse, Marriage Story, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Midsommar, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

 

Best Animated Film

  • Bunuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles
  • How to Train Your Dragon 3
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4

Honorable Mentions: Weathering with You

 

Best Documentary Film

  • American Factory
  • Apollo 11
  • For Sama
  • Hail Satan?
  • One Child Nation

Honorable Mentions: Honeyland, Mike Wallace Was Here, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

 

Best International Film

  • An Elephant Sitting Still
  • Pain & Glory
  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Transit

Honorable Mentions: Ash is Purest White, Birds of Passage, Climax, First Love, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Les Miserables, Monos, Synonyms

 

Best Costume Design

  • Downton Abbey
  • Knives Out
  • Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood
  • Pain & Glory
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Honorable Mentions: Dolemite is My Name, Judy, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Midsommar, Us

 

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

  • Bombshell
  • Judy
  • Us

Honorable Mentions: Dolemite is My Name, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood

 

Best Sound Editing

  • Ad Astra
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Lighthouse
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Honorable Mentions: John Wick: Chapter Three, The King, Midsommar, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, Rocketman

 

Best Sound Mixing

  • Ad Astra
  • A Hidden Life
  • Her Smell
  • The Lighthouse
  • Midsommar

Honorable Mentions: High Life, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, Parasite, Rocketman

 

Best Score

  • The Farewell
  • A Hidden Life
  • Marriage Story
  • Parasite
  • Us

Honorable Mentions: Bombshell, Downton Abbey, Joker, Knives Out, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Pain & Glory

 

Best Original Song

  • Frozen II – “All is Found”
  • Harriet – “Stand Up”
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part – “Super Cool”
  • Parasite – “A Glass of Soju”
  • Wild Rose – “Glasgow”

Honorable Mentions: “Show Yourself” (Frozen II)

 

Best Visual Effects

alita-battle-angel-movie-2019-review-rosa-salazar

  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Captain Marvel
  • The Lion King
  • The Irishman

Honorable Mentions: Gemini Man, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

 

Miscellaneous Superlatives

Best Film Not Appearing in Other Categories: Amazing Grace

Best First Feature: Hu Bo (An Elephant Sitting Still)

Best First Screenplay: Joe Talbot, Rob Richert, & Jimmie Fails (The Last Black Man in San Francisco)

Honorable Mention Short Film: Hair Love

Best Stunt Crew: John Wick: Chapter Three

Best Casting: Allison Jones (Bombshell/Booksmart)

Strangest Film: Diamantino

Best Worst Film: Serenity

 

As always, thanks for reading!

Like CineFiles on Facebook for updates on new articles and reviews

Check out my page on Letterboxd

—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)

 

Leave a Reply. We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.