Best of 2018

Editors and critics from across The Washington Post choose their favorite stories, highlights and achievements that defined the year — from unforgettable movies and music to our most-read recipes. This is their roundup of the best of 2018.
By Washington Post Staff

Best movies

By Ann Hornaday, Movie critic

10. “A Quiet Place”

The first true breakout hit of 2018 was a fabulous contradiction: a good old-fashioned horror movie that broke new ground in the use of sound; a genre exercise that called back to the elegance and purity of silent filmmaking; a heartwarming tale of family featuring a bracingly badass wife and mom (Emily Blunt). Directed by and starring John Krasinski, this film proved that in an era dominated by reboots, spinoffs and endless franchises based on preexisting material, originality isn’t dead. It just speaks very, very softly. Read more >

9. “Blindspotting”

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal wrote a rap musical based on growing up in the midst of the political and cultural ferment of Oakland, Calif., ultimately creating a bold, boisterous commentary on everything from gentrification and interracial friendship to assimilation and cultural appropriation. The movie, which Diggs and Casal also starred in, felt attuned to our times in ways both sobering and exhilarating. Read more >

8. “Tully”

If there’s any justice in this crazy world, Charlize Theron will be remembered at awards time for her spot-on portrayal of a mother battling what looks like postpartum depression but winds up being her own ambivalence. A fascinating dramatization of selfhood as serial lives, this strange chamber piece — co-starring the terrific Mackenzie Davis — was a head trip in all the right ways. Read more >

7. “Eighth Grade”

We’ve seen this movie before: Awkward teen comes of age amid bullies, mean girls, well-meaning but clueless parents and her own crippling angst. But writer-director Bo Burnham, collaborating with actress Elsie Fisher, turns the genre inside out to create a portrait that’s painful and vicariously mortifying, sure, but also deeply compassionate and respectful of a young heroine whose anxieties are outstripped only by her own dazzling self-belief. Read more >

6. “Green Book”

In many ways, this fact-based story of piano player Don Shirley and the white man he hired to drive him through the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s feels like a throwback: As a buddy road comedy set amid noxious and violent racism, it could easily have been a patronizing “feel good” portrayal of white redemption and little else. Instead, this wildly entertaining film is about characters, played in marvelous performances by Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, who quickly outgrow their trope-ish outlines to become fully inhabited and unforgettable individuals. Read more >

5. “BlacKkKlansman”

Outrageous, audacious, funny and caustic, Spike Lee’s adaptation of the real-life story of Ron Stallworth bursts with the energy and distinctive cinematic language Lee has developed over a 30-year career. The movie isn’t perfect — there are moments of excess and indulgence that have often bedeviled the filmmaker. But the sum of the parts is undeniably powerful, as the story grows beyond itself to become both a potent polemic and heartbreaking elegy. Read more >

4. “First Reformed”

From Paul Schrader (“Raging Bull,” “Taxi Driver”) comes a film that could be called the summa of his career and its cardinal concerns, including spiritual crisis, alienation, oppressive self-discipline and sudden, violent release. Ethan Hawke delivers a masterful performance as the troubled pastor of a semirural church, where he endures physical and psychic breakdowns that are terrifying and cathartic. Rigorous, austere, punctuated by bizarre and lurid touches, “First Reformed” marked the return of a master, collaborating with an actor at the very top of his game. Read more >

3. “The Rider”

Brady Jandreau, a real-life cowboy living in South Dakota, is the charismatic star of this mesmerizing film, in which director Chloe Zhao redefines the American Western as something both mythic and mundane. Following Jandreau as he recovers from a debilitating brain injury incurred while riding, the movie becomes a meditation on purpose, identity, landscape and human frailty, all set against the magnificent backdrop of the Badlands. Although Zhao puts Jandreau and his family and friends into a lightly fictionalized narrative, “The Rider” possesses the authenticity of documentary, with the result being a style best described as grounded grandeur. Read more >

2. “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Barry Jenkins adapts the James Baldwin novel in a style that transcends plot mechanics and character beats to become a tremulous ode to the fragility and fierce power of love. Bursting with vivid, gorgeous color and featuring a galvanizing supporting performance by Regina King, this depiction of a young African American couple navigating a new relationship amid the racism and family pressures of 1960s New York starts out as pure cinema and winds up as pure feeling. Read more >

1. “Roma”

Alfonso Cuarón’s portrait of his youth in 1970s Mexico City manages to be intimate and epic, minutely observed and monumental, tender and exacting all at the same time. Focusing on the nanny who cared for him and his family during his parents’ divorce, this exquisitely filmed chronicle — photographed in silvery black and white — feels less like storytelling than poetry, shot through with shrewd social observation that never swamps the film’s deep emotional core. Read more >


Best music

By Chris Richards, Pop music critic

10. “Nasty” by Rico Nasty

In this year’s rapscape, petulance went from a mood to a mode. So who had the best worst attitude of 2018? That would be Rico Nasty, a 21-year-old Maryland native whose hairstyles were almost as motley as her rhymes. Stick around until the very end of her latest album for “Lala,” a psychedelic slog where Rico sounds like a lyricist suddenly plunged into a state of existential nanny-nanny-boo-boo: “What’s the point? La-la-la-la-la . . . All those words. La-la-la-la-la . . .” Read more >

9. “Life Of” by Steve Tibbetts

On his most sublime and sedate album, this underrated Minneapolis truth-seeker manipulates the strings of his guitar in gorgeous drips and drizzles. Does the music sound like rain? Or is Tibbetts simply doing what rain does? If there’s a difference, it’s in here. Read more >

8. “Stadium” by Eli Keszler

Here’s a composer-slash-percussionist who plays his drums the way you might rummage for the car keys in the bottom of your purse — a familiar, strange, profoundly intimate, mildly anxious searching that produces enigmatic rustles and clinks.

7. “Time and Space” by Turnstile

This ferocious Maryland five-piece understands that hardcore punk should be speedy, loud and sincere. But what if, instead of being harsh, matte and brittle, the music felt curvy, colorful and bouncy, as if the songs themselves were made out of Nerf? Boing-boing-boing-boing-boing. Read more >

6. “Sparrow” by Ashley Monroe

Any time Monroe steps out with her supergroup, Pistol Annies, she and her Nashville comrades make a big bang. The vocal trio — Monroe, Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley — generated plenty of rah-rah for its recent “Interstate Gospel,” but Monroe’s fourth solo effort, “Sparrow,” is the smarter, sharper, sadder, sexier, more substantial album. On the curtain-raising track, “Orphan,” she pleads, “How do I make it alone?” Then, for the next 30-odd minutes, she shows us exactly how.

5. “The Tree” by Lori McKenna

The persistently resourceful Massachusetts songwriter returns with 10 uncomplicated country songs about the knotty complications of family — and yeah, some of these lyrics could have been crocheted into a throw pillow if the crochet needle wasn’t being pressed against your jugular. More than any other songwriter in Nashville, McKenna knows that the truth hurts. If you’re not a sniveling mess by the time you get through the bridge of “A Mother Never Rests,” don’t tell mom. Read more >

4. “Simi” by BlocBoy JB

This Memphis rapper has so many ways of messing with your head. For one, he knows how to raise his voice over the length of a single breath just so, the way a bully might as you try your best to walk on by. And then there are those rhymes — blissfully asymmetrical and big, big fun. Happy memories erase the bad ones and vice versa. Read more >

3. “Golden Hour” by Kacey Musgraves

Remember the motto at the heart of this Texas country singer’s stunning debut album? “Follow your arrow wherever it points.” Now, five years and a few recording sessions later, Musgraves is still walking the walk. On “Golden Hour,” she exposes her brain to the wonders of LSD, the inertia of FOMO and the sparkling utopian mirage of a honky-tonk discothèque. And she sings about all of it in a sweetened deadpan that softly underscores her message: Quiet your mind and you’ll see mystery all around. Read more >

2. “Cold Devil” by Drakeo the Ruler

Technically, this great Los Angeles slang-whisperer dropped his masterpiece in December 2017 — but in the 11 months that followed, no rapper came close to touching it. Drakeo calls this stuff “nervous music,” but he ultimately sounds cool and conspiratorial, overloading his rhymes with insults so effortless and inventive that each song deserves its own glossary. Read more >

1. “Soil” by Serpentwithfeet

Scores of vocalists have tried reshaping the contours of R&B in recent years, but few of them sound like they’ve studied the human voice with the intensity of Josiah Wise, a self-described “post-church boy” from Baltimore who performs as Serpentwithfeet. Sung in shimmering vibrato, his songs do new kinds of emotional work, finding serenity in volatility, locating pleasure in grief — a sort of sonic proof that acceptance is the easiest way to feel something entirely new. Read more >


Best shows

By Hank Stuever, TV Critic

10. “Forever”

Amazon
People often say we’re living in an era of outrage, but I think we’re living more in a time of perpetual sadness. A delicate sense of grief (ennui, maybe?) runs through some of the year’s best TV shows, particularly in Alan Yang’s effectively quirky “Forever,” in which Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph play a married couple who discover the afterlife is just an extension of their bland (yet content) suburban routines. Some viewers complained that they expected more LOLs from a show starring two SNL alums, but in the end, we got something far better: a perfect meditation on the meaning of love and commitment. Read more >

9. “Atlanta Robbin’ Season”

FX
Most of the talk around this long-awaited second season of Donald Glover’s dramedy — about a peripatetic man (Glover) who winds up managing the nascent rap career of his moody cousin (Brian Tyree Henry) — centered on the “Teddy Perkins” episode, a horror-tinged tale of a Michael Jacksonesque recluse (also played by Glover). But the season’s deeper story arcs, set against the unease of the holidays (a.k.a. “robbin’ season”), further cemented the show’s real worth as a study of the human condition. Read more >

8. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Amazon
It’s on this list as much for its first, Emmy-winning season as its just-released (and so far equally marvelous) second season. This comic period drama about a hyperactive 1950s Manhattan housewife who finds her calling in the Village’s stand-up comedy scene is creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s grandest achievement yet — welcoming, yet bracingly obnoxious (yes, that’s a good thing), with a dazzling attention to timing and detail. “Mrs. Maisel” is scrumptious from start to finish — and appreciatively forthright about pursuing one’s dream in the face of sexism and other midcentury norms. Read more >

7. “The Fourth Estate”

Showtime
With President Trump demonizing the media (and recently implying that it’s okay to kill a journalist under certain conditions), master documentarian Liz Garbus delivered this astounding and intimate look at the inner workings of the New York Times’s Washington bureau, where reporters and editors relentlessly pursue the administration’s constant chaos. I remain hopeful that “The Fourth Estate” will reach an audience beyond Beltway news junkies. All Americans need to see this example of the First Amendment in action. Read more >

6. “Insecure”

HBO
My interest in what happens to the characters Issa Rae and company have created in this hilarious and sharply observed dramedy continues unabated — particularly with the show’s third season, in which Rae’s character leaped before she looked, quitting her job as a social worker, becoming a Lyft driver and testing the patience of friends. Beyond the comedy scenes, which are fantastic (that girls’ trip to Coachella alone is worth a re-watch), there’s covert reporting here about surviving the rapid, widening gentrification of Los Angeles. Read more >

5. “Kidding”

Showtime
Despite my initial worry that David Holstein’s dramedy about a troubled but beloved kids TV host (Jim Carrey as Jeff, a.k.a. “Mr. Pickles”) might bump too close to the sacred memory of Mister Rogers, “Kidding” stands entirely on its own. “Kidding’s” conception of Mr. Pickles’s imaginary world — with puppets and songs — shows top-notch creativity while Carrey gives his most memorable performance in years as a grieving father and estranged husband who begins to reexamine everything he thought he knew about love and feelings. Read more >

4. “Escape at Dannemora”

Showtime
Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin’s adaptation (with director Ben Stiller) of this story of two convicted murderers (Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano) who escaped a maximum-security prison in 2015 with the help of a besotted employee (Patricia Arquette) is striking for its unadorned quality. It’s a disciplined example of how a masterful true-crime miniseries can skip the need to play up a theme or suss out a larger meaning — which, if you still need one, is about human corruption. What if remorseless people are just bad and get exactly what’s coming to them? Read more >

3. “Killing Eve”

BBC America
Sort of a sleeper hit at first, word quickly spread about Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s splendidly paced, six-part action thriller about a deskbound American (Sandra Oh) working in a London intelligence office who begins obsessively hunting for a wily and weird assassin (Jodie Comer) who leaves a trail of bodies across Europe. As it charges toward a confrontation, the series soars on Oh’s and Comer’s performances as two women thoroughly absorbed in a game of chase. Read more >

2. “The Americans”

FX
There’s little left to say, except to salute creators Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, their writers and certainly their cast (especially Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Holly Taylor and Noah Emmerich) for a near perfect and emotionally draining send-off to this superb Cold War family drama, the final scenes of which left just enough room for viewers to supply their own epilogues. (My takeaway is that I’ll never listen to U2’s 1987 hit “With or Without You” quite the same.) Read more >

1. “Barry”

HBO
Wickedly funny, deeply felt and unnervingly tense, Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s dramedy about a tormented hit man who accidentally winds up in acting school is a terrific example of how to push a viewer’s preconceptions: Funnyman Hader turns out to be a remarkably versatile protagonist, and Henry Winkler’s work in the series redefines the concept of a comeback. Sometimes a terrific “comedy” turns out to be one of the year’s best dramas. Read more >


Best video games

By Christopher Byrd and Harold Goldberg

“Red Dead Redemption 2″

PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The new standard-bearer for open-world game design is a lavishly detailed Western set at the tail end of the 19th century. “Red Dead Redemption 2” tells the story of a gang who finds their outlaw lifestyle increasingly difficult to maintain as representatives of government and private industry consolidate their power from coast to coast. At the center of the events is Arthur Morgan, a pillar of the gang who, over time, comes to question his values. Watching Morgan interact with his comrades is as interesting as partaking in a shootout. If you can come to grips with game’s byzantine controls then nothing should prevent you from enjoying one of the finest games ever made. Read more >

“God of War”

PlayStation 4
Even for a god, the old cliche holds: becoming a parent changes everything. No longer the brash, psychopath he once was, Kratos, a.k.a. the Ghost of Sparta, has mellowed since he exterminated the gods of Olympus. Having left his native Greece for the land of the Norse, Kratos embarks on a quest with his young son to scatter the ashes of the child’s mother from the highest peak in the realm. Along the way they meet the World Serpent, befriend a severed head, and slay many monsters. Kratos’s struggle with the legacy of his past, as he tries to steer his son onto a better path, gives this stellar action game a welcomed bit of emotional friction. Read more >

“Gorogoa”

Android, iPhone, PC, PlayStation 4, Mac, Xbox One
This beautifully constructed point-and-click puzzle game was released just outside of the window for consideration of 2017’s best games. “Gorogoa” secures its place on this year’s list because few games before or since have offered such a fascinating meditation on the subject of spiritual growth. “Gorogoa” unfolds across a four-tiled grid over which players rearrange illustrated panels alongside or over top of each other. Doing so teases out new connections between places and phenomena that otherwise are separated by time and space. If you’re interested in video games as art then “Gorogoa” is one to be studied. Read more >

“Tetris Effect”

PlayStation VR
Here is a game that should come with multiple warning labels such as: ‘May cause hours to slip away in solipsistic bliss.’ Designed by the visionary creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi (whose “Rez Infinite” made The Post’s 2016 list), “Tetris Effect” takes Alexey Pajitnov’s classic puzzle game and wraps an audiovisual experience around it that’s psychedelic enough to put you in touch with your inner shaman. Playing Tetris amid swimming dolphins or at a celebration in the desert is distracting enough to push all other distractions aside. Once you start you may find it hard to stop.

“Dead Cells”

Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The premise of “Dead Cells” is as hackneyed as any in video games — guide a faceless dude through dungeons and other inhospitable places where murderous creatures lie in wait. But if you have a fondness for the side-scrolling, hack and slash games of the ’90s, then “Dead Cells” may feel like a natural endpoint. It channels the energy of an arcade experience by tasking the player with completing it in one go. However, a series of permanent unlocks means that a failed run need not end in vain. And randomized environments lessen the annoyance of repetition. A generous range of randomized equipment encourages a number of playstyles. Everything about it is polished to a sheen. Read more >

“Marvel’s Spider-Man”

PlayStation 4
Excelsior! It’s your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man, loftier and fancier than you’ve seen him in 37 other games from the past 36 years. Sure, Insomniac’s often-thin narrative foreshadows way too much, but there’s some of the world’s finest, movie-like action ensconced within this Marvel-inspired New York City. The best web-swinging feats through Manhattan feel like a purposeful, mesmerizing fever dream. If co-creator Stan Lee were around today sitting atop the Empire State Building next to Spider-Man to observe the thriving mecca below he just might utter the mellifluous words, “Make Mine Insomniac!” Read more >

“Where The Water Tastes Like Wine”

PC, Mac
The excellent indie “Where The Water Tastes Like Wine” isn’t full of tricky, new methods of gameplay. Rather, it’s a compelling road trip on U.S. soil circa the Depression era. The events encountered during this hardscrabble life on foot feels like they could well have happened. The musician Sting is here to do the voice-over for a devil-like, philosophizing protagonist who wants to control your life. But it’s the smaller characters you meet on the side of the road that haunt you. And that’s what this narrative-heavy game does. The rich American myths presented here stay with you. And even when you forget the particulars of the many tales that have unfolded, you remember the greatness of the overall experience. Read more >

“Moss”

PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality
Moss the mouse. It doesn’t seem like much. Just three stark words. But when you add a fighting personality to a female, sword-wielding rodent and inject some of the best virtual reality we’ve seen on Sony’s PSVR system, the result is a puzzle-oriented platformer that nears the level of masterpiece. Graphically, too, “Moss” shines with verdant, bucolic forests and dimly lit, mysterious dungeons. And when Moss looks up to you for help, it’s not only sweet and touching. You happily become this strong, female warrior. Read more >

“Florence”

Android, Mac, iOS
Forget the very idea of angst. This short, emotion-filled experience made for mobile phones presents the ideal picture of a young relationship circa 2018. Everything here is a cut above. The mundane nature of the everyday (the crowded train ride to work, the toiling over spreadsheets) gives way to the floating feeling of attraction when Florence first hears the cello played by what will become the object of her affections. The music tugs at your heart without becoming cloying. It’s a game that’s the perfect digital stocking stuffer for the cynical friend in your life. If it doesn’t move the person who gets the gift of “Florence,” maybe it’s time to move on.

“Monster Hunter: World”

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
This is for the core gamer. If you haven’t logged at least 100 hours in “Monster Hunter: World,” you haven’t really played this lush, action-oriented RPG. Yes, you kill or trap dragons of various species. Yes, you’re on a mission to save everyone’s very existence by vanquishing the awe-inspiring dragon Zorah Magdaros. But the world is so varied it’s difficult to stop playing, especially since Capcom has added events that include heroes and enemies from other games, such as “Horizon Zero Dawn’s” Aloy, Mega-Man costumes and the evil King Behemoth from “Final Fantasy XIV.” So, set aside some serious blocks of time. This monster of a game is very much worth the indulgence.


Best books

By Book World Reviewers

“Good and Mad,” by Rebecca Traister

Simon & Schuster
The author of “All the Single Ladies” pays tribute to female rage with a look at the history of women who got things done by publicly expressing their indignation, from the suffragists to the #MeToo activists who put Harvey Weinstein (among others) out of a job. Of course, society has a complicated relationship with female anger, and Traister delves into that, too, particularly the double standards surrounding our collective acceptance of male aggression.
Read more >

“The Library Book,” by Susan Orlean

Simon & Schuster
The New Yorker writer and author of “The Orchid Thief” has written another winner with a narrative that revolves around the devastating Los Angeles library fire that ruined or damaged 1 million books in 1986. But what starts out as a masterfully written tale of true crime turns into a sprawling look at the Los Angeles library system before pivoting into a heartfelt tribute to libraries as institutions devoted to making life better. In other words, it’s every bookworm’s dream read.
Read more >

“The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border,” by Francisco Cantú

Riverhead
In lyrical prose, Cantú captures his nightmare-inducing experience as a Border Patrol agent in the American Southwest. Even his mother can’t understand why her son, whose grandfather was Mexican, would want to join such an organization, but Cantú can’t be dissuaded. After four years on the job, Cantú leaves it in 2012, but he finds it does not leave him. “It’s like I’m still a part of this thing that crushes,” he tells his mother. Read more >

“The Maze at Windermere,” by Gregory Blake Smith

Viking 
This complex novel takes place in one location — Newport, R.I. — though it also covers some ground with five different narratives spanning three centuries. Those range from the tale of a womanizing tennis player to the writer Henry James as he ponders his creative process. Smith’s talents transcend his ability to interweave these stories in ways that brilliantly echo one another. He also captures with stunning accuracy voices as disparate as a 17th-century Quaker girl and a British officer during the American Revolution. Read more >

“On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle,” by Hampton Sides

Doubleday
Sides’s meticulously researched account of unlikely survival amid horrifying carnage during the Korean War also serves as a cautionary tale for what happens when an egocentric and paranoid leader refuses to acknowledge reality. In this case, it was Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who remained willfully ignorant when he was tactically outmaneuvered, leaving his men exposed — both to the harsh elements in the Korean mountains and to an onslaught of Chinese soldiers the five-star general should have seen coming. Read more >

“One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy,” by Carol Anderson

Bloomsbury
In a kind of sequel to her book “White Rage,” Anderson examines voter suppression tactics since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that, she argues, account for the precipitous decline of black voters in the 2016 election. According to the Emory professor, that drop-off was not a one-time anomaly but rather evidence of a systemic hijacking of our democracy that involved purging voters, gerrymandering, instituting voter ID laws, closing polling places and preventing felons from voting. Her bleak conclusion: “In short, we’re in trouble.” Read more >

“The Overstory,” by Richard Powers

W.W. Norton & Co.
Powers, who won a National Book Award for “The Echo Maker,” delivers a poignant and urgent ode to trees through the tales of an expansive cast of characters, from a fighter pilot who owes his life to a banyan to a scientist convinced that a forest’s leafy inhabitants are communicating. The plants in this environmental epic aren’t mere window dressing. They’re as sympathetic as the people, which proves to be powerfully galvanizing — and not a moment too soon. Read more >

“A Place For Us,” by Fatima Farheen Mirza

SJP for Hogarth
What initially set Mirza’s first novel apart was that it launched Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint. As it turns out, the actress has great taste. Those who picked up the book found a beautifully crafted story that begins with the return of a prodigal son, then shifts into an exploration of the dynamics within a Muslim family living in California. Mirza’s book is a promising debut, yes, but that ultimately undersells such a mature examination of what it means to belong. Read more >

“There There,” by Tommy Orange

Knopf
This shattering debut by a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes pulls together divergent tales of modern-day Native Americans in and around Oakland, Calif., to examine the thorny issue of identity — and all the shame and pride it inspires. As characters prepare to converge on a powwow at the Oakland Coliseum — some with nefarious aims — it becomes clear that there’s no single Native American experience, even if so many of those experiences feel informed by a legacy of subjugation. Read more >

“Washington Black,” by Esi Edugyan

Knopf
In Edugyan’s third novel, a young slave escapes a brutal existence on a Barbados sugar plantation by hot air balloon, but this isn’t simply a fantastical fairy tale. The story kicks into gear when “Wash” Black floats away with his master’s brother — inventor of the lighter-than-air contraption — but goes on to explore the pair’s freighted dynamic as they travel the world and discover that injustice can never be truly escaped. Read more >


Subscriber favorites

10. At U.S. Open, power of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka is overshadowed by an umpire’s power play, by Sally Jenkins

9. This single cartoon about school shootings is breaking people’s hearts, by Samantha Schmidt

8. Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries, by Josh Dawsey

7. A former sex-crimes prosecutor analyzed Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh. Here’s her take., by Deanna Paul

6. The owner of the Red Hen explains why she asked Sarah Sanders to leave, by Avi Selk and Sarah Murray

5. ‘People actually laughed at a president’: At U.N. speech, Trump suffers the fate he always feared, by David Nakamura

4. Romaine lettuce is not safe to eat, CDC warns U.S. consumers, by Joel Achenbach and Lena H. Sun

3. Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year, by Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey

2. Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency, by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa

1. California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault, by Emma Brown


Most-read recipes

10. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie
9. Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
8. Quick Stir-Fry Sauce
7. Fudgy Flourless Brownies
6. Tomato-Balsamic Chicken
5. Better Than Takeout Fried Rice
4. One-Pan Roast Chicken and Potatoes
3. Anthony Bourdain’s Boeuf Bourguignon
2. Royal Wedding Cake
1. Grilled Corn Four Ways


Video editor’s picks

Curated by Micah Gelman, Director of video and a senior editor

How Parkland student journalists covered the shooting they survived and friends they lost

Video reporters Whitney Shefte and Alice Li spent months with the journalism class at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School as they put together the student newspaper in the aftermath of mass murder.

Paul Manafort’s time in Ukraine

Video reporters Dalton Bennett and Jon Gerberg traveled to Ukraine to trace the history of Paul Manafort’s lobbying there.

The Biological Clock: Episode 1

Inspired Life video reporter Nicole Ellis documents her struggle with the question of whether she should freeze her eggs — or not — in this year-long documentary series.

Why aren’t high schoolers using lockers anymore?

Video reporters Hannah Jewell and Dave Jorgenson return to high school to explore why students aren’t using lockers anymore. This was also one of our most watched videos on YouTube in 2018.

Happiness, hope and anger: South Koreans weigh in on the Trump-Kim summit

Reporting from Seoul, video editor Joyce Lee documents in real time how South Koreans are reacting to President Trump’s summit with North Korean’s Kim Jong Un.


Editors’ picks

A Tunisian gravedigger gives migrants what they were deprived of in life: Dignity, by Sudarsan Raghavan
“A lot of stories about migrants and asylum seekers leave me heartbroken, but this one is bittersweet and highlights the humanity of people who are often overlooked.”

— Maite Fernández, digital operations editor

She works for Trump. He can’t stand him. This is life with Kellyanne and George Conway., by Ben Terris
“The story of Kellyanne and George Conway’s marriage, in many ways, is emblematic of our national political predicament. It’s a wonder how they live under the same roof.”

— Kenisha Malcolm, universal news desk editor

Almost 35 years ago, she let a stranger hold her newborn. It has haunted her ever since., by Paul Duggan
“A year later, I’m still thinking about this story — both the uniquely unspeakable tragedy and the probing, sensitive attention Paul Duggan gave it. I still hope the right reader will see it and help this mother find the closure she deserves.”

— Amy Argetsinger, editor and staff writer for the Style section

How do you make school safe? Voice mails from 300 students provide some answers., by Teddy Amenabar and Sarah Larimer
“If you, like me, spent much of the year reading about gun safety and schools, I found it refreshing to hear directly from students themselves on the issue. Just be sure to turn your sound on.”

— Ryan Kellett, director of audience and a senior editor

‘It was my job, and I didn’t find him’: Stoneman Douglas resource officer remains haunted by massacre, by Eli Saslow
“There is exactly one reporter on Earth I would trust to profile Marjory Stoneman Douglass security guard Scot Peterson, and he wrote it.”

— Ric Sanchez, social media editor

Chevy Chase is 74, sober and ready to work. The problem? Nobody wants to work with him., by Geoff Edgers
“Chevy Chase is iconic. He’s also utterly insufferable. Geoff Edgers did a masterful job with this profile, capturing the comedian in all of his contentious complexity.”

— J. Freedom du Lac, general assignment editor covering national, international and breaking news

Miracle cures or modern quackery? Stem cell clinics multiply, with heartbreaking results for some patients., by Laurie McGinley and William Wan
“This story exposes clinics that use the language of legitimate science (“stem cells”) to sell people untested, outlandish and potentially dangerous therapies. Protecting people from quackery and pseudoscience is one of the biggest goals of our work at The Post’s Health, Science and Environment desk.”

— Laura Helmuth, health, science and environment editor

The Fireworks King: How one Chinese businessman became the largest supplier of pyrotechnics in the United States, by Damian Paletta and Emily Rauhala
“I love stories that uproot our notions about something. Americans treasure Fourth of July and the fireworks that come with the celebrations, but for all of our patriotism, the firework industry is anchored (and flourishing) in a remote Chinese province.”

— Shefali Kulkarni, digital operations editor

Six teenagers are running for governor in Kansas, and suddenly this doesn’t seem so preposterous, by Monica Hesse
“Monica Hesse, one of my favorite thinkers and writers, is tearing it up as The Post’s new gender columnist. But she’s always been a must-read, and I was delighted by this March piece about the boy governor candidates of Kansas. She took them seriously, where others treated them like jokes.”

— Ann Gerhart, senior editor at large

READ MORE:

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Washington Post’s best graphics of 2018

A portfolio of illustrations from 2018

A year in comments from Washington Post readers

Credits: By Washington Post Staff. Designed by Katherine Lee.