15 November 2008
I finally got my copy of Entertainment Weekly’s “Entertainer of the Year” Double Issue and found that it was full of unexpected delights and disappointments.
Let me start off by wondering… what was it that put Robert Downey Jr. over the top in the competition between him and Tina Fey for the #1 spot? In my opinion, Tina (who came in second) was a shoe-in, she was chosen as the “readers’ pick” after-all. And while I applaud Downey Jr.’s fantastic comeback and his wonderful performances in both Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, I can’t help but point out that Ms. Fey not only had a hit movie and multiple Emmy wins this year but she also runs the most critically beloved sitcom around, hosted the best SNL of the year, was a spokesperson for the WGA strike and was behind the most talked-about political impersonation of the decade. I think the choice here should have been obvious, too bad EW doesn’t agree.
That said, I seriously applaud their choice for the #3 spot- The Cast & Crew of The Dark Knight. Easily the best movie of the year, The Dark Knight was a rarity in a film climate that sees a huge polarization between deep message movies with brilliant character acting and big budget, high grossing hits. And it wasn’t just Heath Ledger that made it that; it was the entire team, from director Chris Nolan to Christian Bale, the caped crusader, to the unparalleled supporting cast.
Next on the list, in the #4 spot is The ‘Gossip’ Girls. While I may not agree with their numerical position on the list, I agree that the scope of their influence on youth culture in the past year definitely merits them a spot. Blake Lively and Leighton Meester have redefined youthful glamour, taking us back to the days of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, when elegance reigned. I commend EW on their unpretentious acknowledgment of a show that so many turn their noses up at.
A couple people on the list mean very little to me. Stephenie Meyer (#5), Lil Wayne (#6), The Jonas Brothers (#9), Katy Perry (#21) and Leona Lewis (#24), I suppose, made significant contributions to the worlds of Young Adult Fiction and Music this year but their influence certainly didn’t reach me. Though basing this entirely on how often I hear their names, Stephenie Meyer and The Jonas Brothers were probably wise choices.
I understand #7, Rock Band. Rock Band, Sing Star and Guitar Hero are phenomenons that are pretty hard to ignore and it’s cool that EW thought to include something from outside the film/tv/music/books world.
The women of Sex and the City (#8), Meryl Streep (#11), The Stars of Bravo(#12) and James Franco (#13) are all favourites of mine but I’m not entirely convinced that they had standout years.
# 10, “The Talking Heads” is an interesting choice. Instead of directly awarding Presidential Politics a spot on the list, EW chose to award the #10 spot to the people who talked about them: Jon Stewart, Katie Couric, Keith Olbermann, Sean Hannity, The Women of The View, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Campbell Brown and Stephen Colbert. An interesting choice, but not one I disagree with.
Wall*E (#14), Coldplay (#15), Elizabeth Banks (#16), Jon Hamm (#19) and Michael Phelps (#23) all make sense for the list. Kid Rock (#18) and Richard Jenkins (#22), on the other hand, I don’t think make much sense at all.
Facebook being all the way at #20 creates mixed opinions in me. On one hand I’m glad that EW thought to include it at all. On the other hand, explain to me how Kid Rock had more influence than a tool that revolutionized the way people use the internet.
And, last but far from least, are my favourite two inclusions on the list: Yunjin Kim & Daniel Dae Kim (#17) and Neil Patrick Harris (#25). Two of my favourite Lost actors, finally being recognized for being arguably the best and most underrated talent on the island is incredibly refreshing. And who doesn’t love NPH? With a TV cult following, an Emmy nod, a hit movie and a revolutionary online series this was definitely a good year for #25.
Other than that, the only thing I have to say is that while I’m happy that someone is acknowledging the surprising breakout talent that is Tristan Wilds, I’ve been a fan of Kat Dennings’ since her 2001 WB series Raising Dad. 7 years makes her officially NOT a breakout star.