As 2008 comes to a close, it’s time for the avalanche of year-end reviews and lists. I’m freaking out over the shrinking number of shopping days until Christmas, and Barbara Walters has already determined who the most fascinating people of the year are.
2008 was pretty un-fascinating, overall. The list is more of an indicator of popular culture than genuine fascinating people.
Some names on the list are obvious, like Olympic record-setter Michael Phelps, failed vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin impersonator and Emmy-winner Tina Fey, and tween queen Miley Cyrus.
Two of the names are questionable. Rush Limbaugh was one of the many blowhards commenting on the election, even encouraging people to vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries in order to beat Barack Obama, but was he the most fascinating? It’s certainly indicative of what a circus the election was when Limbaugh is more of a draw than one of the few legitimate commentators left.
Frank Langella is a name I recognized as an actor, but I had to search IMDB to figure out why he’s on Barbara’s list. I’m still not sure. He’s an Oscar contender for Frost/Nixon, but that film doesn‘t even open until December 5, the day after the show airs.
Two of the names are just plain WTF. Will Smith and Tom Cruise must have the best publicists in the world, to make the list ahead of actors that actually had break-out years, like Robert Downey Jr., Daniel Craig, or Christian Bale. Will Smith’s Hancock is one of the high-grossing films of the year, but was overshadowed by other films. Tom Cruise had a part in Tropic Thunder, but Valkyrie is getting more talk for its delays than the quality of the film itself. In fact, Suri Cruise should have made the list instead of Tom.
The last two names on the list have yet to be released. I’ll go out on a limb and predict Barack and Michelle Obama.
Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008 will air Thursday, December 4 on ABC.
If I’ve missed any reasons why these people should be considered one of the top 10 fascinating people in the world, please let me know.
Last year’s list included Victoria and David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, the founders of MySpace, Bill Clinton, J.K. Rowling, Katherine Heigl, Jennifer Hudson, Hugo Chavez and Don Imus.
If I may make some suggestions to Barbara: Viggo Mortensen, Jensen Ackles, Gael Garcia Bernal, and the creators of icanhascheezburger.