Welcome to the ShortList Review Of The Year Awards. There's no ceremony, no awards and not a vol-au-vent in sight...
MAN OF THE YEAR: Ryan Gosling
Who else could it have been? That we quite like Ryan Gosling is both ‘unavoidable’ and ‘an understatement’.
We’ve interviewed the 31-year-old actor twice this year — including putting him on the cover as the embodiment of cool (inset) — and devoted multiple pages to his films. Drive in particular.
In the space of just 12 months, the former-Mouseketeer has transformed himself from lesser-spotted indie darling to Hollywood’s hottest property, with a cinematic winning streak that started in January with Blue Valentine and has continued right until the end of the year with a potentially Oscar-grabbing turn in The Ides Of March. Oh, and he fearlessly intervened in a real New York street fight. The man might well be perfect.
For these reasons, and the fact he looks impossibly dapper in a scorpion jacket and leather gloves — a look we’ve tried, and failed, to pull off — we’ve crowned him our ‘Man Of The Year’.
So, join us in raising a coffee mug to Ryan. Done? Good. Now, turn the page to find out which men he pipped to the post, as well as the results of all our other end-of-year awards…
2. Tom Hardy
Cinema has found its latest, greatest, buffest blank canvas. Hardy’s year saw him slim down to slip into a suit for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy before bulking up as an MMA fighter in Warrior (inset).
3. Noel Gallagher
In the acrimonious Oasis divorce, we’ve had to take sides with Noel. We love Liam, but the older brother’s solo album trumped Beady Eye’s.
4. Michael Fassbender
The main reason the X-Men films are back on track. Fassbender’s charismatic turn as Magneto almost had us rooting for the wrong side.
5. Karl Pilkington
The year that Pilkington finally upstaged Gervais and Merchant with An Idiot Abroad 2. They may make the show, but he makes the show.
6. Mahmoud Jibril
Leader of Libya’s National Transitional Council for the seven and a half months of the country’s civil war. A man of his word, he stepped down when Sirte was captured, Colonel Gaddafi killed and Libya freed.
7. Lionel Messi
To stand out in the current Barcelona team should be nigh on impossible, but then, at times, Messi seems capable of miracles.
8. Professor Brian Cox
The poster boy for particle physics.
9. Olly Moss
Pop-culture artist whose paper-cut silhouettes and alternative film posters rock our little world.
10. Sir David Attenborough
There’s not a bit of sentimentality here — Attenborough is simply the best in the world at what he does.
BOOKS OF THE YEAR
1 Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson
2. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt''
3. I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan by Alan Partridge
4. The Affair by Lee Child
5. Fear And Loathing At Rolling Stone by Hunter S Thompson
6. Zone One by Colson Whitehead
7. The Fear Index by Robert Harris
8. Private Eye: The First 50 Years by Adam McQueen
9. One For The Trouble by various authors
10. The Cut by George Pelecanos''
WOMEN OF THE YEAR
1. Jessica Chastain: Like Ryan Gosling, Chastain (above) could do no wrong in 2011. With just two previous film credits, the smart and beautiful Californian came seemingly from nowhere to add seven films to her CV this year, including The Help, The Tree Of Life and Take Shelter.
2. Kristen Wiig: The writer and star of Bridesmaids beat the boys and gave comedy producer and director Judd Apatow his biggest ever hit.
3. Adele: Six Grammys, the year’s biggest selling album worldwide and a refreshingly down-to-earth attitude.
4. Pauline Pearce: Better known as the Heroine Of Hackney. With her foul-mouthed reprimand of rioters, she spoke for a whole nation.
5. Vicky McClure: Followed a fully deserved Bafta win for This Is England ’86 with an equally stunning performance in its sequel.
VIRALS OF THE YEAR
2. SpongeBob Beaten
3. Robot Ed
4. Oligarch Battle
TV SHOWS OF THE YEAR
1. This Is England ’88: Shane Meadows’ bleak period drama (pictured) chewed over the consequences of This Is England ’86 with a trio of episodes. Bruising social commentary, masterfully authentic performances and, um, gags about “achey balls” marked this as something special. Roll on 1990.
2. Frozen Planet: Sir David Attenborough’s latest whispery advert for HD television captured the majesty and tragedy of the ever-dwindling polar regions in dinner-spilling detail.
3. Game Of Thrones: Sprawling, cerebral and soaked in blood. This daring mega-budget adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantasy saga was definitely deserved its record Sky Atlantic ratings.
4. Boardwalk Empire: Season two of the stiff-coloured crime saga delivered a brutal blow to the “Bored walk” detractors with more grisly violence, a mutinous storyline and 12 action-packed episodes
Then... 5. Doctor Who 6. All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace 7. An Idiot Abroad 2 8. Fresh Meat 9. The Hour 10. Top Boy
FILMS OF THE YEAR
1. Drive: Scorsese and De Niro, Leone and Eastwood, and now, with their second film together ready to shoot, you can add Drive collaborators Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn to the list of classic cinematic partnerships. Yes, it’s that good.
2. The Fighter: Christian Bale won the Oscar, but every performance in this gritty but uplifting boxing biopic hit the mark.
3. Senna: As a grown man, it’s not generally the done thing to emerge from a cinema with tears streaming down your face. With Senna, it was impossible to avoid.
4. Tinker Tailor Solider Spy: You had to pay attention (and possibly watch it twice), but this retelling of the John Le Carré novel was stylishly shot and packed with British talent.
Then... 5. True Grit 6. Moneyball 7. Attack The Block 8. The Adventures Of Tintin 9. The Artist 10. Submarine
GADGETS OF THE YEAR
1. Samsung Galaxy Note: Samsung took a big risk with this 5.3in tablet/smartphone hybrid, but it paid off. A superb debut.
2. Nintendo 3DS: Mario Kart, in 3D, in your hand. The most innovative gaming device of the year.
3. iPad 2: Apple consolidated its position in 2011, with the iPad 2 proving to be its finest work yet. But it was ‘evolution not revolution’.
4. Nokia 800 Lumia: Nokia’s big comeback, powered by Windows. Even iPhone users were a bit jealous.
5. Sonos Play:3: The ultimate wireless music system for your home. Compatible with everything from iTunes to internet radio.
6. Virgin TiVo: Taking Sky+ to its logical (and somewhat terrifying) conclusion, this box learns your viewing habits and records shows it suspects you’ll like.
7. Sony Z Series laptop: Super-light, super-expensive carbon-fibre laptop with a clever dock that boosts its lethal firepower using an external graphics card.
8. Samsung D8000 TV: This was 3D TV’s finest hour: the richest, sharpest 3D picture and a touchscreen remote to boot.
9. Sony Dev-5 digital binoculars: Featuring 20x zoom and the ability to record images, these are probably better than your actual eyes.
10. Fujifilm X100: The best interchangeable lens camera — and there was hardly a shortage. Achingly gorgeous, and its Hybrid viewfinder is a work of genius.
SHORTLIST’S QUOTES OF THE YEAR
(The finest lines from our 2011 interviews)
1. “I don’t know why he’s called Boots and I didn’t think I’d like him, but I f*cking love this cat. I f*cking love him. I keep telling him, ‘I f*cking love you.’” Noel Gallagher on his newest family member.
2. “Reality TV shows. I really hate them. Full of f*cking mediocre f*cking wannabes. And we see enough misery in the newspapers every day without having to tune in to some poor c*nt boiling an egg in EastEnders. Oh f*ck off, there’s so much misery around. F*ck off. We’re addicted to misery in this country. F*cking EastEnders.” Elton John sits on the fence.
3. “No. Although that night I did do heroin.” James Franco laughs off the rumours about being stoned at the Oscars.
4. “I’m going through a Milli Vanilli phase right now. I watch the videos in awe. The concept blows my mind.” The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas reveals his musical inspirations.
5. “I misplaced my World Championship medals for months. It’s bad news when you can’t find your medals. But then I figured that I could just go win some more.” Usain Bolt decides modesty isn’t an option for him.
6. “I’m going to go out and play a classic album next year but it’ll be my f*cking new one. Not one from 20 years ago.” Paul Weller takes aim at nostalgia culture.
7. “She’s a five out of 10. I just know her as ‘Stupid Face Karen’. Men love her, don’t they? But she’s just so ridiculous.” Matt Smith rates his co-star Karen Gillan.
8. “Well, I’ll tell you what — you wait until you hear Noel’s music because that ain’t gonna be Oasis either. It might remind you of it but there’ll be something missing. And what’ll be missing is f**king me.” Liam Gallagher dismisses his brother’s solo credentials.
SPORTS PERFORMANCES OF THE YEAR
1. Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City: A terrifying glimpse (at least for one side of Manchester) at the future of English club football.
2. Rory McIlroy wins the US Open: From Masters agony to a first Major championship victory in a mere two months.
3. England beat India And, in the process, Andrew Strauss’s team are crowned the world No1 Test nation for the very first time.
4. Sebastian Vettel wins the Monaco GP: The young German’s fifth victory in the opening six races left the world in no doubt he was to become the youngest ever double world champion.
Then... 5. Mo Farah wins the 5,000m at the World Championships 6. Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon 7. Barcelona win the Champions League 8. Sarah Stevenson wins Taekwondo World Championship gold 9. Mark Cavendish wins the Tour de France green jersey 10. Darren Clarke wins The Open
ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
1. The Horrors: Skying Released at the height of summer and inspired by psychedelia, baggy and Eighties synth-pop, Skying yielded terrific singles and propelled The Horrors into the big league.
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Effortlessly catchy songs, sell-out live shows and critical acclaim in the US. Finally. His best collection of songs since What’s The Story.
3. Metronomy: The English Riviera A Mercury-nominated slice of pop electronica that’s pleasingly free of odes to substandard B&Bs.
4. The Black Keys: El Camino A breathtakingly confident burst of soul-infused cool.
Then... 5. White Denim: D 6. The Throne: Watch The Throne 7. Arctic Monkeys: Suck It And See 8. The Strokes: Angles 9. The Vaccines: What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? 10. PJ Harvey: Let England Shake
GAMES OF THE YEAR
1. Portal 2: How do you go from low-budget experiment to million-selling blockbuster (inset) in one move? Simple: expand your backstory, add a few more elements to the physics-based puzzles and cast Stephen Merchant to voice your sidekick. Of course, it helps if that original “experiment” was a Game Of The Year contender in its own right, but impressive nonetheless.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ‘Vast’ doesn’t even begin to cover the scope of Skyrim. It may well be impossible to see everything it has to offer. There, that’s a challenge for you this Christmas.
3. Uncharted 3: Playing the Uncharted games is like making your merry way through an Indiana Jones film. But, you know, one of the good ones.
4. LA Noire: Rockstar’s crack at a detective game (with game-changing motion-capture technology) hit all the beats of a classic noir story.
Then... 5. Batman: Arkham City 6. Call Of Duty: MW3 7. Fifa 12 8. The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword 9. Battlefield 3 10. Mario Kart 7