In many ways, art in 2019 has been defined by its dynamism. The lines between comedy and drama genres in television gradually became blurred, allowing creators to create shows with more intricate and unique plotlines, which also let actors bring incredible nuance to their characters. Cinema, both mainstream and independent, continued to highlight areas of representation for women and communities of color, from Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero endeavor “Captain Marvel” to Lulu Wang’s rich, culturally specific drama “The Farewell.” Powerhouse talents such as Lizzo and Billie Eilish emerged in the music industry, which also saw new major releases from radio mainstays such as Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.
2019 also marked the end of an era for art that has defined the last decade. From the final season of HBO’s television juggernaut “Game of Thrones” to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s crossover epic “Avengers: Endgame” and the upcoming “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” 2019 has been a year of goodbyes. But with the end of several phases, stories and sagas comes a new decade of art that promises to be more dynamic, daring and diverse than ever before.
So cheers to 2019 and to The Daily Californian’s picks for the best in film, television and music that have come out this year — at least, so far.
— Anagha Komaragiri
This year’s best films have emerged as unique, emotionally transcendent and, at times, polemical reflections of our time. Dramas such as “Marriage Story” and “The Farewell” depicted familial upheaval with an intimate honesty that made their conflicts feel universal. With “Us” and “Parasite,” directors Jordan Peele and Bong Joon-ho mounted sharp criticisms of contemporary class divisions. Auteurs such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino reflected on their legacies with their triumphant films “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” And, of course, “Avengers: Endgame” culminated more than a decade’s worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films — arguably, the property that has defined this era of franchise filmmaking — with a glorious, character-driven finale.
This year has proven that filmmakers’ original, engaging stories will always have the ability to unite audiences with their crucial explorations of our world. The best films of 2019 show off this ability in spades, leaving legacies that will last for years to come.
— Grace Orriss
Even while sequels, reboots and franchises have quickly come to dominate film and television in 2019, a number of platforms — both networks and streaming services — have allowed unique and nuanced stories to shine. Shows such as “Big Little Lies” and “Fleabag,” presented as standalone stories in their first seasons, came back with fascinating new characters and plotlines for their second seasons. Television mainstays such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show” have adapted to their audiences, and newer emerging shows have been made all the better because of it. Even if theaters continue to prioritize popular demand, stories that can suit almost anyone’s niche and interests are finding their home on television.
— Anagha Komaragiri
This year in music has been a swirl of seasoned artists taking the reins of deserved success, as well as young artists breaking onto the scene in flagrantly convention-disrupting fashion. From Billie Eilish to Lizzo, Lil Nas X to Lana Del Rey, this year’s musical titans have delivered at every turn, continuing to stun audiences with their talent and creativity. These heavy hitters have been slowly chipping away at the music industry landscape, fostering dynamic changes that have diversified the mainstream in significant ways. These winners are only a sample of the radical change rippling through the music world.
— Areyon Jolivette
Grace Orriss is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected].
Areyon Jolivette is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected].