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It’s been said that Hollywood is like high school with money, but given the drama of the past 12 month maybe that’s a little unfair to high school. And yet, the year that brought you Slapgate and Spitgate also saw some serious accomplishments by the industry’s overachievers. In its first annual Yearbook, The Hollywood Reporter celebrates slackers and straight-A students alike with Hollywood High’s Class Honors.
Michelle Yeoh, who returned to her action-heroine roots with an awards-worthy turn in this year’s most bonkers blockbuster, Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Bob Iger. Obviously.
Ari and Elon on vacay
Most Valuable Pardner
The Great American West might as well be renamed the Taylor-verse. Not content to have created the most popular show on TV, Taylor Sheridan launched two Yellowstone prequels (1883 and 1923) for Paramount+ this year, as well the gangster series Tulsa King. Expect more spinoffs, at this rate one for every year in U.S. history.
Dave Chappelle is wildly popular around school for telling jokes about how transgender people are body-liars and Jews really do run the media. Principals Ted Sarandos and Lorne Michaels don’t seem to mind. Maybe it’s because Dave ends each zinger with his “Ain’t I a stinker?” face.
Most Abrupt Expulsion
In a town where no one is officially fired — they merely pursue new opportunities or decide to spend more time with their families — Bob Chapek’s unambiguous canning of entertainment head Peter Rice came off as the cruelest Disney move since killing Bambi’s mom.
Most Popular (Farm Animal)
With awards contenders EO, The Banshees of Inisherin and Triangle of Sadness, this is the biggest year for donkeys on film since 1966’s Au Hasard Balthazar.
Biggest Case of Senioritis
After 18 seasons headlining Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo can be forgiven for slacking off a bit: She’s reduced her onscreen role to just eight of this season’s 20-plus episodes as she eyes a possible exit from the ABC drama
Jim Gianopulos can take credit for helping to deliver Paramount Pictures its best year in recent memory at the box office — albeit in absentia after being abruptly ousted as studio chair in September 2021. His slate included three monster hits (Top Gun: Maverick, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, The Lost City) and he developed the overachieving horror pic Smile.
Worst Semester-Away Student
Let’s see: There was the Iceland strangling incident. The Hawaii path of destruction. The Standing Rock imbroglio. The Vermont farm fiasco. Are we missing anything? Probably. But in the lead-up to next year’s The Flash, Warner Bros.’ investment Ezra Miller is back home and promises that this time, it will be different.
Four years into his five-year, $300 million development deal at Netflix, Ryan Murphy finally created his first bona fide hits for the streamer this fall, with the back-to-back releases of The Watcher and Dahmer.
Most Emotional Comeback
Brendan Fraser, who cried after nearly every festival screening of The Whale.
Best Rivalry (That No One Involved Will Admit To)
HBO’s House of the Dragon vs. Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. These two fantasy prequel epics that aired at the same time on dueling streaming services are absolutely not in competition with each other, as their respective creators and network executives have made perfectly clear. It makes no sense to compare these two lavish attempts to become the next Game of Thrones-esque swords-and-shields sensation. So just knock it off. (Dragon kinda won, though.)
The Negroni Sbagliato. House of the Dragon’s Emma D’Arcy mentioned the cocktail in an interview, TikTok lost its collective mind, and pretty soon there were fears of a Campari shortage.
Cannibalism (Dahmer,Yellowjackets, Bones and All, Fresh, Armie Hammer)
Most Polarizing Performance
Marilyn Monroe’s talking fetuses in Blonde
This year, late night sent back diversity like an improperly made egg-yolk omelet. Sure, most hosts left of their own volition — see Trevor Noah’s Daily Show exit and Desus and Mero’s Showtime breakup — but TBS axing Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal left the landscape with only two women: Amber Ruffin and Ziwe. At least one straight white man freed up a slot: James Corden announced that he and his increasingly bad PR will flee CBS at season’s end.
Most Unexpected Superpower
Batgirl’s ability to disappear
Most Hollywood Gesture of Support
Actor-activist Sean Penn giving his Oscar to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “When you win, bring it back to Malibu.”
Most Viral Event
The 2022 BAFTAs, which turned out to be a major COVID superspreader, infecting attendees including Kenneth Branagh (pictured) and Ciarán Hinds, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, a large chunk of the National Geographic team, and numerous publicists and journalists.
The 60-year slugfest between Marvel and DC took an unexpected turn Nov. 1, when Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn began his job as co-chairman and co-CEO of DC Studios, tasked with helping the Warner Bros.-backed studio take on his old bosses at the box office.
Best Dying Line
“You’ve got this.” — The White Lotus
Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown L.A., which simultaneously hosted the sexual misconduct trials of Harvey Weinstein and Danny Masterson and Eric Weinberg’s arraignment.
Most Tone-Deaf DJ
D-Nice, who dropped the needle on “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” as Will Smith sauntered into the Vanity Fair Oscar party, statuette in hand, just hours after assaulting Chris Rock onstage at the Academy Awards.
Best Reason to Shave
Bob Chapek’s “CEO Beard”
Worst Financial Adviser
Matt “Fortune Favors the Brave” Damon, with his plug for Crypto.com
Best Financial Advisor
Larry “Ehhhh, I Don’t Think So” David, with his anti-plug for FTX
Most Played-Out Craze
Most Tarnished Status Symbol
Weirdest Celebrity Appearance
Tie among Johnny Depp as a spaceman at the VMAs, Johnny Depp in Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie show, and Johnny Depp on the witness stand.
Most Bang for Most Bucks
The Russo brothers, who burned (and detonated) some $200 million with their extravagantly expensive, gratuitously explosive Netflix actioner The Gray Man.
Most “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
The ubiquitous Quinta Brunson
This story first appeared in the Dec. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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