The 14 Winners (and Losers) of 2012

From Hollywood to politics, the people we loved and the people we loved to hate.

Yesterday, Buzzfeed crowned Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield (or as they dubbed them, Stonefield) the winners of 2012. Now I certainly won’t argue against that—they are great actors and were part of one of the most pleasantly surprising and biggest money-makers of the year, The Amazing Spider-Man. But here are my picks for the biggest winners and losers of 2012.

Winner: Nate Silver
Those of us obsessed with election coverage knew about Nate Silver four years ago when he first created his FiveThirtyEight website. With his correct 50-out-of-50 state predictions in 2012, he’s changed how elections will be covered. Therefore, it’s hard to believe that he’s not one of the potential nominees for Time’s Person of the Year.

Winner: Channing Tatum
With Magic Mike, the one-time beefcake stripper (and now People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive) became a bona fide beefcake actor.

Winner: Joss Whedon
We, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer devotees, are passionate about its creator, Joss Whedon. In times of success (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), missteps (Dollhouse), and utter letdown (“beer, bad”—’nough said), we have stood firmly behind him. And though many may not admit it now, I was nervous when it was announced that Whedon would helm The Avengers. After all, this was a colossal moneybag summer blockbuster. But it wasn’t Whedon selling out. Instead, with his trademark wit and impeccable cast, he created a movie that is now the third highest grossing film of all time. But we knew him when.

Winner: Anne Hathaway
It’s unfair to say that The Dark Knight Rises was a letdown. But coming after one of the—if not the—greatest action movies of all time, its expectations were insurmountable. We can spend all day discussing what went wrong (like what inspired my second favorite Internet meme this year, “People Dying Like Marion Cotillard”). But what’s without dissent is Oscar-nominee Anne Hathaway’s slinky, scene-stealing performance as Catwoman. With Les Miserables opening on December 25th, and Hathaway featured in both the ads and its Oscar campaign, she is an actor to watch for many years to come.

Winner: Daniel Day Lewis
As Lindsay Lohan so adroitly proved in Liz & Dick, it takes more than just a wig and some pearls to portray a legend. If you haven’t yet seen Lincoln, go now. His performance as Lincoln is indescribably beautiful and moving. Without question, it is one of the greatest film performances I have ever seen. And will certainly earn him his third Best Actor Oscar.

Winner: Hillary Clinton
Not only is she a highly regarded Secretary of State, but the once and (possibly) future presidential candidate became an Internet phenomenon earlier this year with “Texts from Hillary”— in my opinion, one of the funniest memes of all time. (Besides Paula Deen Riding Things.) Check out my favorite.

Winner: The Walking Dead
[SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t watched this season. But seriously, what’s wrong with you?] Heads in aquariums. Lori finally gone. Carl carrying a gun and wearing a sheriff’s hat. After the slow-paced last season set on the farm, TWD came back with a vengeance. And a really, really high body count. Plus, it caused some guy in Long Island to shoot his girlfriend (she lived) because she didn’t think a zombie apocalypse was coming. Shit got real.

Winner: Gotye and Fun.
These two bands created two of the best and most addictive singles of the year, “Somebody That I Used to Know” and “We Are Young,” both of which were just nominated for Grammy’s Record of the Year.

Winner: E. L. James
Say what you will about the Fifty Shades of Grey books (which I have, extensively: here and here), there was no bigger publishing story this year. Despite unbelievably terrible writing, all three of James’ books have remained on the New York Times best-sellers list for 38 weeks.

Winner: James Bond
Just two years ago, the entire Bond franchise was in jeopardy. But thanks to new investors, director Sam Mendes, and a perfect script and cast for Skyfall, James Bond is as sexy as ever. Jason Bourne, who?

Winner: The Big Bang Theory
With the girls (Kaley Cuoco, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik) getting as much screen time as the boys, the show has fully come into its own. Not only is it one of the most consistently funny half-hours on TV, it ranks in the top five for new episodes and for syndicated shows.

Loser: Clint Eastwood
It will be a long time before America forgets about his misguided “performance” at this year’s Republican National Convention. Trouble With the Curve, which opened a mere two weeks later and was Eastwood’s first acting role since 2008’s Gran Torino, received a lackluster reception.

Loser: Eddie Murphy
Poor Eddie Murphy. This year, his movie A Thousand Words was not only a box-office flop, but received a zero percent rating on RottenTomatoes—the worst-rated movie in the Oscar-nominated actor’s career. (For comparison, Norbit was nine percent.)

Loser: John Travolta & Olivia Newton John
All you need to know about their new Christmas album, This Christmas, can be summed up in the most craptacular music video (?) of all time: “I Think You Might Like It.” Seriously. They line dance.