The Rise of Lizzo
Lizzo’s dominance of the pop charts in 2019 was a pleasure to follow. She makes catchy songs that boast originality, sass, confidence, and humor, and her non-musical personality is every bit as infectious, outspoken, and real. Lizzo’s rise to fame is deserved, and the fact she uses her platform to promote self-love, body confidence, and empowerment is refreshing. However, she also made a strong impression in front of the camera in Hustlers, which saw her play one of the film’s strippers. Lizzo doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the movie, but she steals the scenes that she’s in, and her performance will undoubtedly lead to more acting roles. More people should be this unabashedly themselves.
Zack Gottsagen and The Peanut Butter Falcon
The most heartwarming performance of 2019 came from Zack Gottsagen in The Peanut Butter Falcon, which follows a man with Down Syndrome who sets out to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. The film was written with the actor in mind, as he has Down Syndrome. While that led to an uphill battle to get the movie funded, the filmmakers refused to cast someone else. Their stubbornness paid off, and the film eventually got made. Gottsagen stole the show, and his performance deserves to result in a successful acting career. He was also instrumental in the movie getting made behind the scenes, as co-star Shia LeBeouf admitted that Gottsagen saved him from a string of drunken incidents that almost derailed the entire production.
The Roaring Success of Captain Marvel
Brie Larson smashed the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s glass ceiling by starring in the franchise’s first female-led blockbuster. Moviegoers responded positively as well, as Captain Marvel became the first superhero movie with a woman in the main role to make over $1 billion at the box office. Movies like this succeeding inspire studios to bankroll more diverse stories on a blockbuster scale, and that’s a win for cinema. The film also introduced an adorable alien feline to the MCU, and who doesn’t want to see more cats in superhero flicks?
The Baby Yoda Phenomenon
The Mandalorian is a new addition to the Star Wars canon, but the show has forever cemented its place in the hearts of mushy fans across the galaxy thanks to one cute little critter: “Baby Yoda.” Outside of viral puppy and kitten videos, nothing has made the internet collectively “awwww” as much as this pint-sized bundle of joy. The creature is also a prime example of the unparalleled power of practical effects — Baby Yoda is right up there with Gizmo when it comes to animatronic puppets that possess the ability to make the world a less cynical place. We don’t know much about the character or his purpose yet, but he’s going to be a lucrative merchandise machine for years to come.
Keanu Reeves has always been an entertaining movie star, but 2019 saw him trend for being an amazing human being. To coincide with the release of John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, users took to social media to share their personal stories about the actor. The general consensus revealed that he’s willing to go the extra mile for his friends, fans, and colleagues — signing autographs, secretly giving away millions of dollars, etc. The actor has never bragged about his good deeds, which is perhaps why so many people came forth with their heartwarming stories. All of the gratitude shown toward Reeves this year has been authentic, and he deserves all of it.