1. Roma: the likely Best Picture Oscar winner, shows masterful, innovative filmmaking. It deserves a re-release in theaters and shown everywhere.
2. First Reformed: Pauls Schrader's film connected ideas like no other. His film was also authentic and its heart beat solidly throughout. It applies to so many in and outside American borders.
3. Blackkklansmen: One of Spike Lee's best films told a straight story, tying it beautifully to the present. The director went out on a limb and stayed true to himself.
4. Widows: Also innovative filmmaking while Steve McQueen aimed high with his directorial choices, especially with his camera work, and held up an emblem of many facets to American society.
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Wonderful storytelling start to finish. Three directors collaborated and came up with a fresh look, feel, and execution to a genre once thought to be tired. It sure isn't with fresh voices.
2018 proved the year of the director. Each of them had their indelible stamp on the above. They also showed powerful storytelling in vastly different ways and from different cultural angles. One final note: twelve years ago, The New Yorker's Anthony Lane said, "Something was afoot in Mexican filmmaking." Alfonso Cuaron, likely the winner for Best Director, released Children of Men that year, and seven years later followed it up with Gravity. He, Guillermo Del Toro, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, have proven him right.