Happy New Year, SlackFans! We’d like to start 2014 with yet another quick look back at the year that was. This time, we tell you who won 2013. Whether they were legitimate acts from the entertainment world or random “15 minutes of fame” Internet celebs, for better or worse, these individuals had a great year.
A quick note before we begin: we are well aware that Grantland’s (very funny) Rembert Browne recently published his third-annual “Who Won [This Past Year]?” bracket. In posting our list of 2013’s pop-culture victors, we don’t intend to step on Rembert’s toes (not that he or anyone at Grantland would care). In fact, most of what you’re about to read was already written by mid-December. We’re only publishing now because, well, we’re slackers. Also, we’re far too lazy to do something complicated like a bracket (again, props to Rembert). So what follows is a basic Top 50 countdown to the #1 winner of 2013. Enjoy!
OK, we couldn’t resist. Before getting to the winners, let’s quickly mention some of those who LOST 2013: Manti Te’o, Paula Deen, Anthony Weiner, Lance Armstrong, Aaron Hernandez, Oscar Pistorius, Eli Manning, David Moyes, Will Smith (if only for playing a character named Cypher Raige in the abominable After Earth), everyone responsible for The Lone Ranger, fans of Happy Endings (the TV show that was cancelled, not what Jennifer Love Hewitt did on the also-cancelled The Client List), the general health of professional athletes, the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto (though maybe he WON 2013)…
50) NATASHA LEGGERO
Ike: Seemingly came out of nowhere and gave a surprisingly good performance at The Roast of James Franco as the only rando. She had a quirky-looking web series, featured in Daniel Tosh’s Brickleberry, showed up on episodes of The League and Drunk History, then wound up on NBC’s New Year’s Eve show, where she angered a bunch of actively-looking-way-too-hard-to-get-offended-as-an-excuse-to-get-violent-and-misogynistic-and-even-racist Americans with a harmless joke about old veterans and Spaghettios. Loved her response. America needs to calm the hell down.
49) MARGOT ROBBIE
Ike: The hottest random newcomer since… Megan Fox? And a way better actress too. Plus, she’s Australian!
48) JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT
Ike: For writing, directing, and starring in a film that enabled him to spend several months making out with and dry-humping Scarlett Johansson.
Avinash: “Well played, JGL,” said Zach Braff as he began writing, directing, and starring in a film that will enable him to spend several months making out with and dry-humping Margot Robbie, Jennifer Lawrence, and Charlize Theron.
47) SERENA WILLIAMS
Ike: Continued dominating in a way that made you honestly think, “How does anyone else ever win tennis tournaments?”
Avinash: Other women only win when Serena’s too busy being a fashion icon.
Joel: The rare athlete so dominant that when she even drops a set people are like, “Did she have the flu or something? Was she playing left-handed?”
46) JOHN OLIVER
Joel: I love Jon Stewart and The Daily Show as much as anyone, but my little exposure to John Oliver’s stand-up show and bits on TDS had me really excited for the summer. I was betting he would fill Stewart’s giant shoes better than people expected, but no one could have predicted how consistently awesome his summer performance would be. I figured that network sharks were almost certainly circling, and they were: HBO has snatched him up for their own take on a Stewart/Colbert-type show.
45) JAMES HARDEN
Joel: He was undersold. He was playing third banana. He got ousted in a trade that may or may not have affected several championships. Then he immediately proved that he was way better than anyone was giving him credit for, busting out for 82 points in the first two games of the season. Then Dwight Howard came to his team, which might actually go in the loss column because D12 is a clown, but still. Fear the beard.
44) JOE FLACCO
Joel: Won the Super Bowl, got PAID, achieved levels of respect previously thought impossible for him.
Avinash: Didn’t need to ride the Ravens defense and run game to the Lombardi Trophy like Trent Dilfer. Now does most of his succeeding selling Mighty Wings.
43) ANDY MURRAY
Ike: Became the first male Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936, arguably replacing Roger Federer in tennis’s Big Three.
Avinash: An Englishman still hasn’t won Wimbledon since 1936…
42) MARIANO RIVERA
Ike: He gets the nod here even though the Yankees sucked. He returned from a knee injury to win the AL Comeback Player of the Year award in his last season. Before retiring he became the only active Yankee to ever have his number retired. The farewell tour he took to every MLB city was unheard of for this day and age; no one else would receive that kind of love. And even though a lot of people dislike the Yankees, his last game was an emotional, real moment, with the normally stoic Sandman sobbing on the shoulders of Jeter and Pettitte as they subbed him out.
Joel: I don’t care who you are or how bad you hate the Yankees, that was, and he was, something special.
41) KATE MIDDLETON
Ike: Gave birth to a prince (how often do women get to say that?!) and remained remarkably well-liked by generally everyone, including us dick Americans.
Avinash: Let’s just ask the fair princess about gun control or abortion or same-sex marriage and see how quickly that changes. All (well maybe not quite all) jokes aside, us Americans shouldn’t be so fond of the Duchess and her Scouse brows. The obsession is not only ridiculous for the same reason that most obsessions are ridiculous, but also because it’s un-American. This great nation was founded in revolt against a monarchy. Now we wish we had our own pretty princesses and inbred royals.
Ike: His song became the soundtrack to an Internet meme that took the nation by storm and also produced significant discussions on race, cultural appropriation, Harlem, dancing, hip-hop, EDM, and more. He basically had nothing to do with any of that, but still, thanks to all of it, he’s now a big name in the dance world.
39) CARA DELEVINGNE
Ike: Straight Instagram celebrity. Absolutely blowing up in the fashion world. “Generation-defining eyebrows,” as Rolling Stone put it. A signature facial expression where she sticks her tongue out, kind of like Miley does, only Cara does it way better and makes it way cooler than when Miley does it. Just got done doing a feature film. An appearance as a radio DJ in the year’s biggest video game. Hung out with Rihanna a lot.
38) TREY PARKER AND MATT STONE
Avinash: The Book of Mormon is still killing it. South Park Season 17 tackled Game of Thrones, NSA surveillance, Kimye, and the phenomenon of informative murder porn. Parker and Stone quite boldly made a hilarious, clever, and scathingly insightful episode of Cartman being Cartman in the Zimmerman Trial’s aftermath. They dished out comedic justice for Trayvon. Although their Game of Thrones trilogy wasn’t their finest satire, it did put words to the HBO series’ iconic theme to give us something catchy to sing when GOT returns early this year.
37) COUSIN TERIO
Ike: This year, Brittany Furlan, Andrew Bachelor (King Bach), and other Vine celebrities made it big thanks to their six-second videos (Jesus, what kind of world do we live in, right?), but Cousin Terio’s dancing topped all of them. Incredible stuff, particularly when you consider how many athletes adopted his dance for warmup and/or celebratory purposes. Actually, wait, we also have to give love to BatDad.
36) KATHERINE WEBB
Ike: Her boyfriend AJ McCarron has sort of overshadowed her recently (what with being a Heisman finalist and surprisingly losing his last two games), but in early 2013, Katherine Webb blew up when Brent Musburger pointed her out during Alabama’s destruction of Notre Dame. In a matter of hours, the former Miss Alabama had hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers (an admittedly depressing measure of one’s worth in 2013) and then ended up both in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and on a major (and terrible) reality show about diving into swimming pools.
Avinash: The camera cuts to her reaction every time McCarron does anything of note. I guess she’s the new Eva Longoria. And her man’s still in college.
35) KID PRESIDENT
Ike: Although to be fair, that Soul Pancake YouTube channel on which he appears has overdone it of late. Almost feels like exploitation. But his cuteness did enable him to meet the real President.
Ike: Released a spunky, well-liked EP in late 2012 that received a lot of love on SoundCloud but that didn’t appear to be headed for any real mainstream success. Instead, one of its songs, “Royals,” blew up immediately in her native New Zealand, then surprisingly reached number one in the United States in 2013. It was the first time a Kiwi solo act had ever accomplished the feat. The teen’s debut full-length followed, riding the popularity of its lead single to overwhelming success.
Avinash: This indie pop rock band blew up in 2012, and in early 2013, you couldn’t go out or watch TV without hearing their simultaneously happy and whiny sound. Nate Ruess even got to sing on Eminem’s new album. They won the awards for Song of the Year and Best New Artist at the Grammys — for their second album!! Artists that aren’t actually new win Best New Artist all the time because the award is for “a new artist who releases (…) the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.” So some band that fails to impress the Recording Academy with their debut can still become the “best new artist.” That’s like winning Rookie of the Year your second season because you came off the bench your first year.
Joel: It’s actually even weirder than that: all three of the main guys in “fun.” were in other, less successful bands for years before this — so it’s like winning Rookie of the Year your second season in the bigs after spending your twenties in AAA leagues. I remember when Ruess accepted the Grammy and was like, “It’s weird to be ‘Best New Artist’ when we’ve all been doing this for over a decade…” Better late than never, I guess. Now they are everywhere.
Ike: That Southwest commercial with their song in it played all the time during March Madness. Which song? I don’t know. “We Are Young,” “Some Nights,” “Carry On” — one of those. They all sound similar and feature long wordless choruses.
32) EMILY RATAJKOWSKI
Avinash: Do we really live in a society where dancing naked can make you a winner? Yes. Yes we do. Quirky dancing, in fact, is only one of the many things you can do naked to get famous. Just ask Kim Kardashian.
31) THE DUCK DYNASTY CLAN
Joel: How the fuck did this become the kind of thing that people will reference as if they know 70% of their audience will know what they’re talking about? I am firmly in the 30%.
Avinash: One of the beardos waxed homophobic in a GQ interview. Wasn’t enough to knock Duck Dynasty (or even just the one asshole) off A&E though. And having your own Chia Pets is pretty sweet.
Ike: Racist too. Now Jesse Jackson is getting involved.
Avinash: So maybe Duck Dynasty Klan would be more appropriate? The Turtle Man is so much more deserving.
30) THE IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA GANG
Avinash: I really don’t think that many people noticed, but the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia crew produced arguably the single greatest season in American sitcom history. They’ve always veiled their brilliant writing that deconstructs the sitcom behind the show’s confederacy of sociopathic dunces. This season they went more meta, with the show commenting on itself. They even made fun of the fact that they haven’t won any Emmys in an episode about the gang desperately trying to win an award. The multiple levels of allegory in the episode are mindblowing. The gang may never win the Emmy they deserve, but they’re winners in our book.
29) JESSICA CHASTAIN
Ike: This redheaded California native, whose rise started in 2011-12, saw her status as an A-List actress solidified in early 2013 when she served as Jen Lawrence’s main Best Actress competition (even winning a Golden Globe), did a full tour of the talk show circuit (coming off as decidedly charming), started getting exclusive access to the top designers’ red carpet dresses, began dating a wealthy Italian fashion executive, and became the first actress in almost 50 years to star in the top two films at the American box office (Mama and Zero Dark Thirty, both of which featured big Game of Thrones dudes — Jaime Lannister in Mama and Stannis Baratheon in Zero Dark Thirty). Chastain spent the rest of 2013 working on her next film roles, the most notable of which is Christopher Nolan’s latest, Interstellar.
28) ADAM LEVINE
Avinash: He inexplicably won People’s Sexiest Man of the Year (what is this, people, 2010?), continued being the most popular judge on a wildly successful award-winning reality TV competition, launched a new fragrance line, sold his “style” to Kmart, and helped thousands of kids get clear skin! He also won in a year where Maroon 5 was irrelevant. That’s remarkably impressive for him, and horribly sad for America.
27) THE 23-YEAR-OLD DUDE FROM SNAPCHAT WHO TURNED DOWN $3 BILLION
Avinash: Peddling a sexting app to non-pervs — genius!
Joel: He thinks he can get over $9 billion — for a phone app that has zero income. Ladies and gentlemen, the definition of hustle.
26) YASIEL PUIG
Joel: He burst into the spotlight with the best run of career starts since Linsanity, then quickly revealed himself to be delightfully crazy. My favorite thing about Puig is the fan anticipation. Not since Barry Bonds have I seen the crowd hold its collective breath in expectation every time someone steps to the plate. I just happened to end up at game six of his career, right before the mania really exploded. Even then, everyone would stop talking and put down their hot dogs to watch his at-bats. He didn’t crank any white dots into the stratosphere that particular day, but he still made this this ridiculous throw and had every head shaking in disbelief. Sure, he inevitably cooled off. His habit of bypassing the cutoff man didn’t always work out so spectacularly, and the strikeouts piled up, particularly in his first playoffs. But right now, he can put butts in seats like few other baseball players alive. And why not? He’s enormous and Cuban and awkward and fast and extremely cocky.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of SlackPost’s People Who Won 2013, featuring the Top 25!