Vape God: Jake Gyllenhaal in Velvet Buzzsaw
For some reason, this was the most hotly debated category of this year's Thrillies. Then again, it makes perfect sense: In spite of the moral panic surrounding vaping this year, the act of vaping in and of itself -- so stupid! -- is still inherently funny to us. Zac Efron sucking on his huge rig in The Beach Bum? Will Poulter constantly hitting his weed stick in the Swedish countryside in Midsommar? Both hilarious, iconic caricatures of what a vaper looks like in 2019. But there can only be one Vape God to rule them all in 2019, and it is Jake Gyllenhaal's pretentious art critic Morf Vanderwalt in Velvet Buzzsaw.
But wait, you ask, how can Morf be the Vape God when he spends barely five seconds on screen vaping? First off, no one spends every second of their life inhaling vape juice, and if they do, well, that's usually how one ends up in the hospital with popcorn lung. Second, we must consider the state of vaping in 2019 as a standalone entity separate from broader vaping stereotypes. We've all seen people blowing ring tricks on YouTube with their huge rigs while dubstep blares in the background -- it's easy enough to argue that Efron's Flicker would have been one of those content creators -- but they are not of this era. The vaping Florida dirtbag with razor lines in his beard would have been a perfect Vape God for, say, 2017 or '18, but not now. And Poulter's smarmy Mark is That Guy -- we all know a That Guy! -- who probably went to Burning Man a couple years in a row and has no real interests; you cannot have a personality such as this and be a Vape God.
Which brings us back to Gyllenhaal's Morf, with a stupid little silver teardrop of a vape (it's probably a Suorin, if you were wondering), who reigns as the perfect encapsulation of vape culture in 2019. It's the year vaping went mainstream thanks to teens and the creative class, the latter of which was already smoking weed or cigarettes on the reg and found a cute new way to get the job done when it was marketed properly to them. Packaged as Juuls and Paxes, vaping became sleek, a shiny new habit to form. And so to Morf, the douchey figurehead and gatekeeper of LA's art world, everything about the act of vaping is ironic and novel; you don't seek out cute versions of an accessory if some part of you didn't regard the thing needing accessorizing as an easy ritual. This vape is cool-looking and elegant and simple and distinct from the vapers making tornados out of their smoke plumes, and, sadly, that defines the Vape God in 2019.
Runners-up: Zac Efron in The Beach Bum, Will Poulter in Midsommar, Katherine Langford in Knives Out