Best Dance Company
Courtesy of Karen Peterson

A lot of people talk the talk, but Karen Peterson & Dancers walks the walk as a full-time dance organization that features choreography performed by dancers with and without disabilities. Peterson — KPD's founder, president, and artistic director — didn't start out as an activist per se, but she always believed that all individuals should have the right to physically express themselves and the opportunity to train on a professional level. By providing inclusive and forward-thinking performances, workshops, and classes, Peterson made her philosophy a reality for many in our community. In the process, KPD has challenged its audiences to think about what it is that defines a dancer.

Bill Cosford Cinema
Photo by Conan O'Brien

As Miami's landscape of independent theaters has expanded, the stereotype of the arthouse film fan has shifted: Now, just about anyone you meet in this town could be a voracious viewer of foreign films or eagerly anticipating the arrival of the latest Sundance films to local screens or, at the very least, has watched a movie in a building without the words "AMC" or "Regal" glowing above the entrance. But don't count out the film students who've been the driving force behind arthouse theaters since, well, arthouse theaters were a thing. Bill Cosford Cinema is here to bring the independent, foreign, and documentary features they crave. Located at the University of Miami, the Cosford serves the Godards of tomorrow with a diverse lineup of crowd pleasers such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, critics' picks like Ramen Shop, and special screenings of classics such as Silence of the Lambs. But this isn't just a place for students; the Cosford also hosts screenings during the Miami Film Festival and other special events that draw moviegoers of all ages and walks of life.

Readers' choice: O Cinema Miami Beach

Best Film Director
Stian Roenning

We'll freely admit this category is entirely rigged and corrupt. Billy Corben — already the best-known-and-decorated documentarian in Miami — doesn't deserve any more awards or love from New Times specifically. But last year he made a movie that is in many ways about this publication, so we'd be stupid not to toot our own horn here. At the tail end of 2018, Corben — along with his partners Alfred Spellman and David Cypkin — debuted Screwball, a comedy/documentary recounting the Biogenesis steroid saga, in which whistleblower and tanning-booth enthusiast Porter Fischer leaked a bunch of records to New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink showing that major baseball stars, including Alex Rodriguez, were doing steroids. We promise we're not lying here — the movie is honestly really, really good. Corben and company reenacted huge portions of the story using child actors. In addition to being Corben's most top-to-bottom entertaining movie, it also features New Times faces a lot.

Best Miami Documentary
Greenwich Entertainment

No filmmaker tells Miami's story quite like Billy Corben. And the Biogenesis scandal is so very Miami. With a cast of characters including an obsessive tanner with a vindictive streak and a fake doctor who linked up with a drug dealer to hawk steroids, plus some of the biggest names in baseball, Screwball tells the surreal story of how hurt feelings and a $4,000 debt blew up into the greatest scandal in modern sports history. It's the kind of thing that's so absurd it would be hard to make up if it weren't true, and Corben leans into that absurdity by employing child actors as stand-ins for A-Rod, Tony Bosch, and Porter Fischer. At one point, a baby Pitbull even shows up. Then-New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink, who broke the massive story in 2013, heavily features in the flick and has a pintsize doppelgänger of his own. But we'd name Screwball the best documentary of the year even if it weren't for tiny Tim. It's a hilarious take on one of those tales that makes people roll their eyes and say, "Only in Miami."

Best Local Girl Gone Bad
Jessica Lipscomb

Former Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes had a history of screwing up elections long before 2018. Over her 14 years in office, ballots went missing by the thousands. Sometimes they showed up in voters' mailboxes missing constitutional amendments; other times they didn't show up at all. Then there was the time Snipes illegally ordered the destruction of a bunch of ballots from the 2016 election. But 2018 took things to a whole new level of chaos. For starters, Broward's ballots were so poorly designed that many voters completely skipped the crucial Senate race. Then, amid a highly contested recount, Snipes revealed her office had misplaced thousands of ballots. The office missed a recount deadline — whoops! — and Broward turned into a national laughingstock prompting cries of election-rigging by President Donald Trump and daily protests outside the elections office by the likes of the Proud Boys. With Snipes now out of office, here's hoping Broward gets its act together in 2020 — for once.

Best Local Boy Gone Bad
U.S. Department of Justice

Before Matt Whitaker became acting attorney general of the United States, he was a federal prosecutor in Iowa who went on to sit on the board of a Miami Beach scam company. The scheme — a firm called World Patent Marketing — took money from gullible inventors and, in return, promised to help people get their inventions on store shelves. Instead, World Patent Marketing just took the money. The Federal Trade Commission forced the company to shut down in 2017, but not before Whitaker himself threatened whistleblowers via email. As part of the scheme, World Patent Marketing hawked some unbelievably dumb ideas, including a time-travel company, a firm that sold Bigfoot dolls, and a toilet designed so that well-endowed men don't dunk their gigantic dongs in dirty water.

For a fleeting moment in U.S. history, the top law enforcement job in the nation belonged to a man whose name once appeared in a press release announcing the invention of a toilet for men with big dicks. As New Times revealed last year, Matthew G. Whitaker did a stint on the board of the Miami Beach-based scam company World Patent Marketing before President Donald Trump made him acting attorney general. The now-defunct business hawked a lot of batshit-crazy ideas that came into the spotlight during Whitaker's term, but none so memorable as the toilet for well-endowed men, officially dubbed the "Masculine Toilet." Just take a look at the 2014 press release for the thing: "The narrower curvature at the front of the toilet creates limited space for male genitalia when a man sits on the toilet seat. This limited space can cause contact from male genitalia with portions of the toilet, which is undesirable as those portions may be contaminated from human waste." Put that one in the history books. Seriously, what other U.S. attorney has anything like this attached to their name?

OG Magnum — born Bruce Ryan — is just downright likable. Though he lives in Tallahassee now, Ryan grew up near Fort Lauderdale before joining the military and going to college. But now he's better known as OG Magnum, the white-haired, tattooed, earring-wearing old dude who went viral after he was filmed dancing to trap-rap at a Florida gas station. Ryan, whose stage name comes from the modded-out Dodge Magnum he drives, runs the Florida Custom Car Association — and truly seems to love everything about hip-hop and custom-car culture. (He even once appeared in a music video with Plies and Kodak Black.) But now that he's gone viral, he's committed to using his social media fame for good: During the 2019 legislative session, Ryan lobbied state lawmakers to legalize "underbody" car lights to prevent cops from pulling over (mostly black and brown) drivers for, in his words, "bullshit reasons." Thanks to his work, the bill passed through the Florida Legislature this year.

Best Local Girl Made Good
Stian Roenning

For the average Miamian, the name "Aimee Carrero" probably doesn't ring a bell. But if you've got kids in your life — especially if those kids are into cartoon princesses — you've almost certainly heard her voice. For years, Carrero has voiced Elena of Avalor on the Disney animated series of the same name, making her the real-life person behind the Mouse's first Latina princess. And last year, she landed another epic role: She-Ra, Princess of Power, on Netflix's reboot of the classic '80s cartoon. Carrero, who was born in 1988, wasn't around to witness the first run of that show, which introduced She-Ra, twin sister of the bowl-cut bro He-Man, who fights to free her planet from tyrannical rule. Still, between her barrier-busting Disney role and her turn as a badass revolutionary, Carrero is helping redefine the traditional idea of a princess.

Best Activist
Jasmyne "Toot" Taylor

When Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, some of us were lucky enough to get out of Miami. But for many others, leaving was never an option. Valencia Gunder, who founded the nonprofit Make the Homeless Smile in 2014 (which has since served more than 38,000 meals between Miami and Atlanta), not only organized volunteers to distribute food to thousands in need in neighborhoods like Liberty City, Little Haiti, Overtown, and West Grove, but also depleted her own savings in the process. Since the storm hit, she's been part of a necessary conversation on the importance of resilience hubs — places such as schools that can regularly offer services such as classes and financial advice, as well as shelter and emergency supply distribution during natural disasters. She's also the criminal justice program manager with the New Florida Majority and has advocated for the passage of the "Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act," which aims to get state prisons and county jails to make tampons and sanitary napkins available to inmates.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®