Awards for the Very Best of the Year in Pop Culture

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, your favorite destination for all of the most entertaining and informative pop culture content (obviously), is a year old! To celebrate, we asked our staff to think back on the most memorable moments from TV, movies, and celebrity culture from the last year. Behold: the Obsessies!

Below you’ll find our version of an award show: an incredibly silly and equally fun list of categories and winners reflecting back on the things from this last year that excited us the most and made us the most passionate. It runs the gamut from serious to ridiculous. We’re acknowledging our favorite revival of a TV show (hello there, Timothy Olyphant), paying tribute to the most embarrassing wig a poor actor had to wear (Hong Chau, love you forever), and marveling over cinema’s singular talking fetus.

We had a blast putting these Obsessies together, and an even greater time creating The Daily Beast’s Obsessed these last 12 months. Who doesn’t love awards? Welcome to the Obsessies.

A photo of Jeff Hiller, Bridget Everett from the television show Somebody Somewhere

Jeff Hiller and Bridget Everett from Somebody Somewhere

HBO

Best Ariana Madix Endorsement

Winner: Madix’s Guest Shift at Raising Cane’s

Throughout the “#Scandoval,” Ariana Madix gave Instagram a lot of fun and surprising endorsements. But her guest shift at Raising Cane’s in El Segundo before the Vanderpump Rules Season 10 reunion was maybe her best work. There’s something about seeing celebrities—even reality stars who notably work in restaurants—sporting a bright-red fast-food uniform while posing through a drive-thru window that’s both comical and endearing. There’s no one I’d rather receive a warm chicken fingers combo from! — Kyndall Cunningham

Best Cannibal Content

Winner: Bones and All

I know what you’re thinking: How can Bones and All, a movie about people who like eating people possibly work as a “romance” story? But I swear, it’s not just the presence of Timothée Chalamet that does it; the film examines two young drifters who try to make a life together on the margins of society, in spite of the traumas and differences that have left them so isolated. They just also happen to cannibals! Keep doubting if you must—just know that there’s a reason that I and so many others ate this one up. — Laura Bradley

Best Film That No One Saw

Winner: Playground

You’ll be hard-pressed to find child performances as nuanced, complex and moving as those in Playground, Laura Wandel’s unforgettable 2022 Belgian import about the efforts of a 7-year-old girl to save her older brother from grade-school bullies, and the messy feelings and actions that her mission inspires. Intensely affixed to its pint-sized protagonists’ perspectives, the film has the authenticity of a documentary and the complexity of great drama. Despite failing to find a theatrical audience in America, it’s an absolutely riveting and heartbreaking snapshot of cruelty and kindness—and one of last year’s absolute best. — Nick Schager

A photo still from the film Playground

Best Food Item Portrayed in TV This Year

Winner: The McBaguette in Emily in Paris

Le yum! Our beloved American doofus Emily (Lily Collins) stumbles upon a new marketing opportunity in Season 3 of her silly Netflix show: the McBaguette. I wish American McDonalds would take notes and offer this dish in the States, but for now, we’ll have to live vicariously through Emily. — Fletcher Peters

Best Revival

Winner: Justified: City Primeval (runner-up: Party Down)

Eight years after it went off the air, Justified returned in a new city, with all new characters, and with a new villain—and yet thanks to the eternal cool of star Timothy Olyphant and the superb stewardship of showrunner Michael Dinner, City Primeval recaptured the tone, excitement and humor of its predecessor. In a TV landscape littered with subpar reboots, it was a monumental feat, and one also accomplished by Party Down’s excellent return engagement on Starz. — NS

Best Slow-Burn Romance of the Year

Winner: Janine and Gregory in Abbott Elementary

You might see these two win again next year, only because the slow burn is still going. And no, we’re not tired of it yet. Not since Nick and Jess of New Girl have we seen a couple as powerfully will-they-won’t-they as Janine and Gregory. If you were inside my house while I watched Season 2 of Abbott Elementary, you were probably shocked at how many times I yelled, “KISS! KISS! KISS!” at my television screen. — FP

A photo including  Rachel McAdams in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Rachel McAdams in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Lionsgate

Best Twist of the Year

Winner: Everything That Happened in The Rehearsal

The pre-planned initial conversation. The recreated bar. The subconsciously implanted trivia answers. The cringe-worthy confession. And that’s just the premiere episode! When it came to surprising audiences with jaw-dropping left turns, Nathan Fielder’s bonkers The Rehearsal had no equal. — NS

Best X-Rated Movie Moment

Winner: Alexander Skarsgård Being Seduced-Assaulted in Infinity Pool

Brandon Cronenberg’s 2023 film is awash in psychosexual insanity, and that begins with Mia Goth’s first private encounter with Alexander Skarsgård at a remote beach. Taking a pee has never been more unexpectedly exciting and traumatizing. — NS

Biggest Quality Drop-Off

Winner: Yellowjackets Season 2

Yellowjackets’ inaugural season was a creepy Stephen King-via-Lost affair that nicely balanced its past-present narratives while suggesting the intriguing supernatural ties that bind its characters and time periods. Season 2, on the other hand, was a misshapen mess that remained sturdy when it focused on its 1990s teens-stranded-in-the-wilderness action, and fell apart every time it segued to the present to detail its adult characters’ nonsensical and pointless dilemmas. Unless it comes up with something useful for its grown-ups to do, and fast, it’s hard to imagine the show recovering from its severe sophomore slump. — NS

A photo including Lily Rose-Depp and The Weekend from the show The Idol

Lily Rose-Depp and The Weekend in The Idol

HBO

Bluntest Title of the Year

Winner: Plane

Can you guess what the movie Plane is about? Think long and hard. Have your guess? OK, here’s the answer: a plane. Shocker! Gerard Butler is also involved. But yeah, it’s mostly about a plane. How plain. — FP

Celebrity Trial We Were Most Obsessed With

Winner: The Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Trial

We’re not proud that we were riveted by a trial involving one of the most famous people in the world and a guy who said that he crashed into her on the fanciest ski slope in the U.S. But, listen, it gave us Gwyneth Paltrow’s parade of courtroom cashmere, her being asked on the record what gifts she would give Taylor Swift for Christmas, and the most biting utterance of “I wish you well” in human history. Sometimes, you can’t beat rich white lady drama. — Kevin Fallon

Discourse We’d Like to End Forever

Winner: Gay Movies!

Can we just let them be? It’s so exhausting that each time a movie featuring a gay main character, gay romance, or—God forbid!—gay sex, we devolve into an endless, exasperating debate about what the movie should be saying, what kinds of gay characters should be centered, how much sex characters should or should not be having, how integral coming out should be to the plot, or how much “straight audiences” should be catered to. This past year or so, we had discourse surrounding Bros, Fire Island, Spoiler Alert, Passages, and Red, White & Royal Blue. They were all good movies—not that you’d have heard that point amidst the cacophonous debates. — KF

A photo including a film still from the movie Bros

Luke MacFarlane and Billy Eichner in Bros

Universal Pictures

Embarrassing Flop of the Year

Winner: The Idol

With The Idol, HBO handed Euphoria creator Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye a blank check to play with, which they signed in blood, cum, and cocaine. The promise was that they’d produce something psychosexual and daring—a line-young sight to behold, if not actually any good. Unfortunately, The Idol was plagued by reports of its own impending doom long before its June premiere. We love to watch a slow-motion car crash, but all the talk of The Idol’s behind-the-scenes mess was a lot more fun than the ugly, disjointed, incoherent product that appeared onscreen. It was, for all intents and purposes, a gigantic flop. (That said, “World Class Sinner” deserved to be a bigger summer 2023 bop.) — Allegra Frank

Group of Actors We Most Want to Hang Out With

Winner: All Those Irish People!

Forgive us for forgetting that the Irish are the coolest people on earth. Luckily, the casts of The Banshees of Inisherin and Bad Sisters, and actors like Paul Mescal, Nicola Coughlan, Domhnall Gleeson, Andrew Scott, and Jessie Buckley all embarked on press tours this last year to remind us. — KF

Horniest Valentine’s Day Special

Winner: Harley Quinn’s “A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special”

A flowery love scene starring Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and so, so many vines? A giant, blown-up Bane rampaging through the streets and humping billboards of Brett Goldstein thanks to a sex-steroid-fueled high? That’s just another day in Gotham City in Max’s best animated series. It might be called “A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special,” but beyond its “edgy”-er qualities, Harley Quinn’s Valentine’s Day installment is mostly just as horny as they come. — LB

Man Who Deserved To Die the Most Last Year

Winner: Claes Bang’s “The Prick” in Bad Sisters

The cast of Bad Sisters could fit into another category on our list—“Group of Actors We Most Want to Hang Out With,” which went to “All the Irish People!”—but Claes Bang deserves an award of his own. He is so good at being bad in Sharon Horgan’s dark comedy, it’s frightening. It’s hard to root for someone’s death, but The Prick deserves his fate by the end of the series. — FP

A photo including Chris Evans and Ana de Armas in the film Ghosted

Chris Evans and Ana de Armas in Ghosted

Apple TV+

Messiest Press Cycle

Winner: The Don’t Worry Darling Drama

Of all the movies released last year, none was more unavoidable than Don’t Worry Darling. And that was true before the film even debuted—which it did last fall, after what felt like years of nonstop scrutiny. Not a day went by last spring and summer without updates or opinions on the drama between Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles, and/or Florence Pugh entering the chat. Ultimately, the movie was a terrible, and terribly obvious, sci-fi drama that had no business being the talk of the town, save Pugh’s stellar performance. But boy, was it fun talking about whether every member of the cast and crew hated each other every day for many, many, many days. — AF

Most Conspicuous Commitment to an Accent

Winner: Austin Butler

Upon hearing that he was set to receive this honor for his performance at awards shows post-Elvis, we’re told that Austin Butler responded with one simple sentence: “Thank you—thank you very much.” — LB

Most Disgusting TV Moment

Winner: House of the Dragon

Frankly, I still have not ruled out suing House of the Dragon for emotional damages over its nauseating maggot therapy scene. The fancy brass jar and little tray do nothing to distract from the horrors of this moment, as King Viserys holds out his gangrenous hand for a bunch of squirmy worms to nosh on while his adviser informs us, oh so calmly, “The maggots will remove the dead flesh and hopefully stop the advance of the rot.” On one hand (sorry), I know this was a real-life treatment, so perhaps I should be less squeamish. On the other… I’m sorry, I’m getting sick just thinking about this! — LB

Most Disturbing Talking Fetus

Winner: The Talking Fetus in Blonde

Blonde was an utterly excruciating watch—borderline-misogynistic torture porn in desperate need of a re-edit. First on the chopping block should be the repeated appearances of Marilyn Monroe’s (Ana de Armas) fetuses, each one given a disturbing level of sentience despite never making it far into gestation. Worst of all was when Marilyn’s unborn, undeveloped baby spoke to her as she prepared for abortion. We get it: Marilyn desperately wanted to be a mother! But as viewers, we wanted our memories wiped immediately. — AF

Photo still of Ana de Armas in Blonde

Most Horrifying Celebrity Halloween Costume

Winner: Heidi Klum as Worm

It apparently took Klum two years to put together the absolutely revolting worm costume she wore last year, and I have to say, that time investment really paid off. Klum’s usual Halloween collaborator, makeup artist Mike Marino and his team at Prosthetic Renaissance, were apparently dubious of Klum’s vision—at least at first. “I love the color of a worm,” Klum told Vogue last fall. “There are so many subtle colors of pinks and browns within its body, and the way their segmented anatomy allows them to move so seamlessly. They seem so simple to the eye, but there is so much going on.” Really, though, it’s the color contacts that made this terrifying ensemble complete. — LB

Most Precariously Placed Wig of the Year

Winner: Hong Chau in The Night Agent

It was a particularly rough year for hair-raising headpieces, what with Hilary Swank’s bedraggled bangs in Alaska Daily, Hayden Panettiere’s blunt bob in Scream 6, and M3GAN getting the chop. But there was no one who met a more unfortunate toupee-based tragedy than Hong Chau in The Night Agent. As the President’s chief of staff, Chau’s wild gray wig was as stiff as her pantsuits, the kind of hair that no Oscar nominee deserves to have plopped on their noodle. — Coleman Spilde

Most Ridiculous And Just Like That Moment

Winner: Miranda and Che in the Kitchen

For the rest of our lives, I think we all will never forget where we were when we first saw Miranda Hobbs get fingerbanged by Che Diaz in Carrie Bradshaw’s kitchen, while our beloved CB was left traumatized with no recourse but to piss herself. I will hear no arguments that this was not or is not the greatest show on television. — KF

A photo including Miranda and Che from the film And Just Like That

Miranda and Che from And Just Like That

Miranda and Che from And Just Like That

Most Unfortunate Reality TV Gaffe

Winner: “Homeless Not Toothless”

It’s not polite to laugh about charity. So forgive us, because Kathy Hilton’s inability to get the ludicrously named Homeless Not Toothless nonprofit’s name correct in an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills led to the single best eight minutes of television we watched all year. — KF

Most Unnecessary Streaming Documentary

Winner: White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch

To borrow the viral saying about work meetings, this could’ve been a BuzzFeed article! — KC

Movie Performance Not Enough People Are Talking About

Winner: Rachel McAdams in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

If there’s one thing we’re always saying is that not enough people are talking about Rachel McAdams. But that’s been an especially egregious truth this spring and summer, considering that the actress gave one of the most sensationally subtle, quietly soaring performances of the year—and in an iconic role at that. Yes, Judy Blume’s quintessential novel and the film adapted from it is very much about a young girl’s journey into womanhood. But, as we learned through McAdam’s performance, it’s also very much about a mother’s discovery of her own womanhood as well. Are you there, Academy voters? It’s us, Obsessed! — KF

Scream of the Year

Winner: Claire Danes in Fleishman Is in Trouble

No, the best scream of the year doesn’t go to Scream 6, but rather Claire Danes in Fleishman Is in Trouble. As her life unravels (and that’s an understatement), Danes’ character heads to a wellness retreat in upstate New York where there is a special scream room. She fills the room with an earthquake-level shaking scream which, the directors told me, was done in just one take. Holy moly. — FP

Taylor Swift’s Biggest Taylor Swift Move of the Year

Winner: Releasing an Album About Midnight On Her 12,000th Day Alive

As I write this, Taylor Swift is probably planning to release her next Taylor’s Version rerecording in the most original way—maybe she will send a drone announcement to all of her top Spotify listeners, or she will reveal that the date announcement was actually in one of her music videos from 2012. But this one really got me. Her latest new album—I say “latest new” album, because her actual latest album is Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)Midnights was released on her 12,000th day alive. — FP

A photo including Taylor Swift during the International Film Festival TIFF

Taylor Swift at the Toronto International Film Festival

Amy Sussman / Getty

TV Show We’ll Never Stop Screaming to the Rafters About

Winner: Somebody Somewhere

The most touching, profound show we’ve ever seen where an entire episode revolves around throw pillows that say the word “cunt” on them. —- Kevin Fallon

TV Trend That Needs to Die

Winner: Long-form TV adaptations of/sequels to popular movies

Successful movies don’t need to be remade or continued—and they certainly don’t require multi-episode TV expansions. Nonetheless, the past year was inundated by such efforts (American Gigolo, Let the Right One In, Fatal Attraction, History of the World Part II, Dead Ringers, Willow), all of which wrongly assumed that more is better. Even when they were pretty good, none of them were equal to their source material. Our advice: find original small-screen stories to tell. — NS

Worst Chemistry

Winner: Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, Ghosted

Chris Evans and Ana de Armas are both charismatic, attractive movie stars. Nevertheless, they don’t share a lick of chemistry in Ghosted, which confirms that simply sticking two fabulously charming and good-looking individuals together is not enough to generate rom-com magic. You’re more likely to find more sparks in a pile of wet blankets than in Dexter Fletcher’s misfire, whose only triumph is getting everything horribly wrong—beginning with its ill-fitting A-list pairing. — NS

Worst Major Awards Show Win

Winner: Harry Styles beating Beyoncé for AOTY at the Grammys

Harry’s House is a perfectly fine album with a few exceptional tracks, such as “Satellite” and “Cinema.” But does anyone besides his die-hard fans really think that album was the best, most impactful musical output of 2022? Especially up against Beyoncé, who gave us an immaculate club album, endless Instagram captions and an infectious TikTok dance while honoring Black, queer icons and ballroom culture?? Apparently, the Recording Academy, who I think pulls winners’ names out of a hat at this point, did. — KC

A photo including Harry Styles at the 65th Annual Grammy

Harry Styles at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards

Christopher Polk / Getty

Worst Man on a Reality Show

Winner: Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz, Vanderpump Rules (tie)

Let’s be real. Men have committed far worse crimes on television than cheating on their girlfriends. However, Tom Sandoval managed to make every moment leading up to that shocking revelation downright infuriating: from bad-mouthing his former partner Ariana Madix to constantly inserting himself in women’s business to that dreadful Wite-Out manicure.His buddy Tom Schwartz was equally insufferable, provoking his ex-wife Katie Maloney all season and enabling Sandoval’s affair behind-the-scenes. Unfortunately, I can’t wait to see both of these losers back on my television screen next season. —KC

Worst Pronunciation of Guacamole of the Year

Winner: “Glocky-molo” in The Great British Baking Show

I mean, what the hell is this? Duolingo is a thing, people. Or do they not have that in Great Britain? I can’t say more without getting mad. — FP

Worst Twist of the Year

Winner: The Crowded Room

Now that it’s finished airing, we can finally discuss the lamest twist of the year—The Crowded Room’s revelation that Tom Holland’s Danny Sullivan has multiple personalities courtesy of his dissociative identity disorder. Despite this being laughably obvious from the start, the show spent hours upon hours diligently pretending that it was putting one over on its audience. It was not. Consequently, any viewers who stuck with this cruddy drama were always miles ahead of its action. If that weren’t frustrating enough, the series’ corny conception of DID as a borderline-supernatural phenomenon was dubious at best, and abjectly ridiculous at worst. — NS

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