Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Spoilers

That Shelf’s Definitive Top 10 Films of 2019

The writers at That Shelf are a passionate bunch when it comes to movies.

We debated the merits of hundreds of films to come up with our top 100 films of the decade list, championing films, performances, and directors and arguing why – or why not -– a particular title should make the final cut (You can see our top 100 picks here).

But when it comes to the 10 best movies of 2019, we resorted to science, wizardry and good old fashioned math to come up with That Shelf’s definitive top 10 of 2019. Using a weighted ballot, contributors cast their votes to come up with an overall list that we, the movie-loving writers of That Shelf, deem the cream of the crop.

A diverse group with wide-ranging tastes, our picks span all genres. Check out the individual contributor top 10 below and some insights into the performances and directors that made their mark, as well as 2020’s most-anticipated movies.

Behold! That Shelf’s definitive top 10 of 2019:

10. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
9. The Last Black Man In San Francisco
8. Rocketman
7. Uncut Gems
6. Marriage Story
5. The Farewell
4. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
3. The Irishman
2. Jojo Rabbit
1. Parasite

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite appeared on the most number of ballots submitted by That Shelf’s writers and editors. The social thriller was called “an easy choice” and “the year’s sharpest class critique features one of the single best pieces of metaphorical set design and outstanding writing/direction from Bong Joon Ho. Parasite isn’t just the best film of the year, it is an instant classic” with Cho Yeo Jeong singled out for “giving the unsung performance of the year with her deadpan hilarious turn as Mrs. Park.”

Greta Gerwig’s Little Women just missed the cut while other well-received films garnered just single votes from That Shelf’s writers, including 1917, Waves, Pain And Glory, Midsommar, Us and The Two Popes. For a full list of individual ballots, see below.


Best Director of 2019:

Bong Joon-ho
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

It’s no surprise Bong Joon-ho was the overwhelming choice with Jordan Peele (Us) and Joe Talbot (The Last Black Man In San Francisco) each earning a single vote.


Best Performance of 2019:

Taron Egerton – Rocketman
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Renee Zellweger – Judy
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems
Awkwafina – The Farewell
Taylor Russell – Waves
Octavia Spencer – Ma

Taron Egerton’s Rocketman performance and Lupita Nyong’o in Us were the only performers to receive multiple votes. Egerton’s turn as Elton John in Rocketman was called, “the most gloriously unconventional biopic since I’m Not There. Taron Egerton deserves an Oscar for his bravura performance as Elton John, while Dexter Fletcher’s inspired direction takes the glam rocker’s music to new heights. A euphorically great film” while Nyong’o earned props for her “terrifying turn” in dual roles in the horror flick.


Best Canadian Film of 2019:

Anne at 13000 Ft
Anne At 13,000 Ft
White Lie
Blood Quantum
The Twentieth Century
Killing Patient Zero

Described as “a slow motion train wreck that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Deeply upsetting,” Kazik Radwanski’s Anne At 13,000 Ft appeared on multiple ballots.


Best Short Film of 2019:

Forky Asks A Question – What Is A Pet?
The Physics Of Sorrow
Forky Asks A Question – What Is A Pet?
Long Way Back Home
Hair Love


Best “New To You”/First Watch of 2019:

The Skeleton Of Mrs. Morales (1960)

Stage Door (1937)
Amazing Grace (2018)
Black Christmas (1974)
The Science Of Sleep (2006)
All That Jazz (1978)
A Quiet Passion (2016)
Jason Goes to Hell (1993)
The Hill (1965)


Most-Anticipated Film of 2020:

Halloween Kills
In The Heights
Saint Maud

Christopher Nolan’s espionage time-twister is high on the list of That Shelf’s most-anticipated movies of 2020. Other movies we can’t wait to see include David Fincher’s biopic Mank on Herman J Makewicz’s tumultuous time writing the Citizen Kane screenplay, Janelle Monae’s mind-bender Antebellum, horror sequel Halloween Kills, Denis Villeneuve’s take on Dune, musical In The Heights, and TIFF Midnight Madness’ Saint Maud. Plus, for the Schitt’s Creek fans, The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening.

Individual Ballots:

Will Perkins:

  1. Parasite
  2. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  3. Ash Is Purest White
  4. The Irishman
  5. Uncut Gems
  6. Ad Astra
  7. Marriage Story
  8. Apollo 11
  9. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  10. The Twentieth Century


Jason Gorber:

  1. Parasite
  2. The Irishman
  3. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  4. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
  5. Apollo 11
  6. Luce
  7. Marriage Story
  8. The Lighthouse
  9. Rocketman
  10. The Farewell


Rachel West:

  1. Rocketman
  2. Parasite
  3. Marriage Story
  4. Jojo Rabbit
  5. The Farewell
  6. American Son
  7. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  8. Booksmart
  9. Long Shot
  10. John Wick 3: Parabellum


Pat Mullen:

  1. Parasite
  2. Genesis
  3. Jojo Rabbit
  4. One Child Nation
  5. The Two Popes
  6. nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up
  7. Pain And Glory
  8. A Hidden Life
  9. Rocketman
  10. TIE: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and The Irishman


Courtney Small:

  1. Parasite
  2. Uncut Gems
  3. The Last Black Man In San Francisco
  4. Atlantics
  5. The Farewell
  6. Marriage Story
  7. Jojo Rabbit
  8. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
  9. The Lighthouse
  10. Little Women


Victor Stiff:

  1. Waves
  2. Jojo Rabbit
  3. Little Women
  4. Parasite
  5. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  6. Avengers: Endgame
  7. Rocketman
  8. 1917
  9. John Wick 3: Parabellum
  10. See You Yesterday


Daniel Grant:

  1. The Irishman
  2. Avengers: Endgame
  3. Us
  4. Jojo Rabbit
  5. Parasite
  6. Knives Out
  7. Booksmart
  8. Hustlers
  9. The Farewell
  10. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


Colin Biggs:

  1. Parasite
  2. Uncut Gems
  3. The Irishman
  4. Marriage Story
  5. Knives Out
  6. Little Women
  7. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  8. Luce
  9. Ford V. Ferrari
  10. Ad Astra


Joe Lipsett:

  1. Parasite
  2. Knife + Heart
  3. The Farewell
  4. The Perfection
  5. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
  6. Queen Of Hearts
  7. The Lighthouse
  8. Jojo Rabbit
  9. Midsommar
  10. Crawl


Michael McNeely:

  1. Last Black Man In San Francisco
  2. Luce
  3. One Cut Of The Dead
  4. Two Of Us
  5. Judy
  6. Kanarie
  7. TIE: Killing Patient Zero and Moonlight Sonata: Deafness In Three Movements
  8. The Art Of Self-Defense
  9. Chained For Life
  10. Bombshell