With contributions from Fiona Underhill

As we wave goodbye to 2019 the JumpCut have come together once again to decide on our first-ever ‘Person of the Year’ cover. What was originally a mock cover jokingly created based on a passing comment in the group chat, the team became set on crowning a person of the year based on the conversation that followed.

However, it soon became apparent that there were two people in particular that had such a stellar year that they both deserved the title of our person of the year and rather than pit them against one another in a vote, we decided to award it to both of them.

So without further ado, we present to you our first official JumpCut Person of the Year…

Florence Pugh photographed by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times.
Adam Driver photographed by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for AFI

Florence Pugh

Pugh kicked off her incredible year in Stephen Merchant’s ‘fantastically feel-good’ Fighting With My Family, which is based on the true story of Saraya Knight’s (Paige) rise to WWE stardom. Pugh’s embodiment of Paige through her mannerisms and attitude was a joy to watch. Fighting With My Family is now available to watch on Netflix and if it slipped under your radar this year I highly recommend giving it a shot – even if you don’t think a film about wrestling will be your cup of tea.

In July Pugh blew us away with her performance as Dani Ardor in Ari Aster’s ‘beautiful daymare’ Midsommar. Cameron said Pugh gives a ‘remarkably charged performance’ in his review – which I can’t recommend reading enough. Aster described his film as “a breakup movie dressed in the clothes of a folk horror film.” and this is one breakup we won’t be forgetting in a hurry… I can still hear the screams!

Rounding off her exceptional year, you can currently watch Pugh in cinemas as she stars as Amy March in Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, which released in UK cinemas on Boxing Day and has been met with critical acclaim. We’ll have our review of the film to share with you in the new year.

Pugh has received multiple ‘Best Supporting Actress’ nominations for her role as Amy March and has also picked up nominations for ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ at multiple awards shows – which comes as no surprise to us, obviously. With The Odyssey Awards just around the corner, don’t expect us to be done singing Pugh’s praises just yet.

In 2020, Pugh will make her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the long-overdue Black Widow solo film. Starring alongside Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour, Pugh will portray Yelena Belova, who is described as a ‘sister-figure’ to Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff and was also trained in the Red Room as a Black Widow. Could we see Pugh take the Black Widow mantle in the MCU’s future following the events of Endgame? We can only cross our fingers and hope so!

We’d love to hear which of Pugh’s three performances this year was your favourite – be sure to let us know in the comments below or drop us a tweet!

Adam Driver

There is no denying that 2019 has been Driver’s year, with FIVE (5) film releases AND a Broadway play, no one else comes close.

The Report debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January and came to Amazon Prime in November. In the vein of Spotlight, Zodiac and 2019’s Official Secrets and Dark Waters it is an investigative thriller about the enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) used by the US on suspected members of Al-Qaeda following 9/11. Driver plays Dan Jones, who was assigned to the case by Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening). Driver gives a more subtle and understated performance than he is perhaps usually known for.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was a labour-of-love from director Terry Gilliam, around 25 years in the making. It finally made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 and received an extremely limited US release in April 2019 (I’ve been fortunate enough to see it three times in cinemas this year). It is hilarious, extremely hot, Driver tango-dances in period costume (which even supersedes him singing Sondheim in Marriage Story IMO) and is an all-round incredibly fun time. Because it’s quite crazy and meta, it has rubbed some people up the wrong way (in the same way as The Dead Don’t Die) but those people are wrong.

If you had suggested that Jim Jarmusch follow up his subtle and sublime Driver collaboration Paterson with a meta zombie comedy starring Bill Murray, most people would have questioned your sanity. However, that’s exactly what happened in 2019’s The Dead Don’t Die which was released in June. Also starring Tilda Swinton and Chloe Sevigny (pretty much my dream cast), The Dead Don’t Die was critically panned, despite Driver wearing glasses, driving a tiny smart car, wielding a machete and saying the word “ghouls.” I really wonder what some people want out of a movie. It’s fun! It’s funny! Give it a try, you might like it.

Netflix released its prestige awards and festival season favourite Marriage Story in November. From director Noah Baumbach, this divorce story co-stars Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. It’s now been memed to death on Twitter, but that will not deter this awards-juggernaut and is almost certain to earn Driver a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar. “Someone to hurt me too deep” indeed. Sob.

Driver has created one of THE best Star Wars characters ever in Kylo-Ren, from emo-teen to terrifying villain, with some nifty lightsaber work to boot. Driver brought his characteristic depth, complexity and vulnerability to Ben Solo, especially in his scenes with Rey. The less said about the final installment in the trilogy Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the better, but many of us were still thrilled to see Reylo’s moments together – whether they were battling one another…or doing other things. There is a LOT wrong with the film, but Kylo-Ren got an arc that *mostly* satisfied many fans and it was Driver’s performance that sold it.

Burn/This was the Broadway play that Driver managed to squeeze into this insane year between March-July 2019. It pains me to say that I did not manage to fly to New York to see it, a fact that hurt me every day of the run. Driver co-starred with Keri Russell in this relationship drama and I urge you to Google image search the photoshoots the pair did to promote the play. JUMPCUT is not liable for any melted phones or laptops. It is also prompted exemplary piece of journalism: “How Big is Adam Driver in Burn This?” published in The Cut on 17 April 2019. 

Sigh. We will never see the likes of five-Adam-Driver-films-and-a-Broadway-play 2019 again? Let us take a moment to appreciate that we were alive in this halcyon year. Yes, everything else on planet earth turned to shit but we had lorge tol boy Adam Driver to gently guide us through the hellscape, every step of the way. Whether he was tango-dancing, Sondheim-singing, tiny-robe-wearing, paper-shuffling, lightsaber-grabbing or killing zombies with a machete, Driver was HERE FOR US this year. He will surely take the whole of 2020 off for a nice lie-down and it is well-deserved.