Here it is, folks! The 15th Annual Pajiba 10. It contains six new members, one actor making his first appearance since 2016, and at number one, our latest entrant into the Pajiba 10 Hall of Fame. As always, if you’re unhappy with the list — and how could you be? — you have no one to blame but yourselves! You voted. We compiled. Here it is, your Pajiba 10!
(Oh, and as for voting on the best Original P10 member from 15 years ago, Paul Rudd won, and it wasn’t even close).
10. Hannah Waddingham — There were two other Ted Lasso cast members in contention this year — Brett Goldstein and Jason Sudeikis — but they both just missed the list, although I suspect had we done our voting over the summer, Goldstein would’ve broken the top five. I adore that Waddingham outranked both male co-stars, however, because I think she’s a quintessential Pajiba 10 selection: A longtime London theater star who gained some recognition for memorable roles in both Game of Thrones and Sex Education before winning all of our hearts in Ted Lasso. It’s hard to imagine topping her first season arc, which Kaleena so lovingly wrote about, but she put all of our hearts in a bind in the second season over her affair with Sam Obisanya, although it was her friendship with Juno Temple’s Keeley Jones that affected us the most. Also, she has some serious pipes, as she demonstrated in the Christmas episode over the summer. Some may not know this, but she also had a modest pop hit in the UK 21 years ago. She is an absolute treasure, and one hell of a boss-ass bitch.
9. Henry Cavill — Henry Cavill makes his debut on the Pajiba 10 this year, and it wasn’t his turn as the Man of Steel in the DC world that put him over the top, nor his perfect moustache in Mission: Impossible - Fallout. He’s been hovering around in the Pajiba orbit since a Stardust (in a decidedly unsexy role), but it was in Pajiba cult fave Man from U.N.C.L.E. where he truly started to impress. Here’s how Kayleigh describes his role in U.N.C.L.E.:
Want to know how good The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is? It makes Henry freaking Cavill charismatic. The dullest Superman to ever don the cape, the one who looks like he wouldn’t know joy if it yanked him by the pants, is front and center here, charming and magnetic and having the time of his life. There isn’t a moment in this film where Cavill doesn’t look like the cat who got the cream, and it’s reviving to the spirit to watch unfold. He’s so charismatic, you can’t help but wonder if he made some sort of cursed monkey’s paw deal with Zack Snyder to land the Superman gig on the condition he have his charm sucked out of him by a Dementor.
It’s his role in Witcher, however, that elevated him to Pajiba 10 status. It’s the perfect role for him, where he gets to be a little bit of Superman (with arms so big, as Tori notes, that they hang from his body at an angle) and a little Solo from Man from U.N.C.L.E., although his charisma is more muted, which somehow makes him all the more sexy. Mostly, though, I think it’s the voice. Or maybe it’s the abs.
8. Kathryn Hahn — Along with Melanie Lynskey, Hahn has been on my Freebies list for years now — she first gained my notice in the canceled-too-soon sitcom Free Agents with Hank Azaria — and I’ve personally lobbied for her appearance on the Pajiba 10 numerous time. She’s hovered around the outskirts of the list for years thanks to memorable roles in Happyish, Parks and Rec, I Love Dick (great performance, terrible show), and her break-out in Bad Moms. It was her turn as a rabbi in Transparent, though, that significantly changed my life (literally, but that’s a story for another day). I don’t love that it took her magnificent, scene-stealing turn in a Marvel series, WandaVision, to gain her entry into the Pajiba 10, but then again, it did earn her a rare Emmy nomination for a comic-book series. She is absolute perfection: Funny as hell, gorgeous, and one of the best actresses of her generation. She’s so good that her WandaVision character is getting her own spin-off series, and Rian Johnson was smart enough to draft her into the next Knives Out film.
7. Florence Pugh — Pugh is another phenomenal actress who benefited greatly this year from her role in the MCU (in both Black Widow and Hawkeye), but she would have eventually landed on this either way, thanks to memorable turns in Midsommar and Little Women (although, I also adored her in the little-seen Fighting with My Family alongside The Rock). Those who follow her on Instagram also know that she’s as fun and badass as her Yelena character (minus the accent), but also seems to be wise beyond her age (Fun Fact: She’s the same age as her Hawkeye co-star, Hailee Steinfeld). I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of her in the Pajiba 10 in the years to come, and not just because she’s set to fill Black Widow’s role: She’s lined up roles in Olivia Wilde’s next film (the one with Chris Pine and Harry Styles); in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer; as the lead in her boyfriend Zach Braff’s A Good Person; and the lead in the adaptation of Nita Prose’s debut novel The Maid, which comes out next week (I’ve already pre-ordered it!). She’s not just a terrific actress, but she’s the perfect combination of goofy and sexy.
6. Rahul Kohli — We here at Pajiba would never take credit for someone’s success — especially not someone as talented and clever as Rahul Kohli — but I am proud to say that we were on the Kohli train from the very beginning. We love him on Twitter, we love him when he’s Karaoke singing in his car, we loved his facial expressions in iZombie. We think he is the best, and while he hasn’t been in the Pajiba 10 since 2016, he’s a regular presence in the top 20. We adore him, and we feel invested in his career, and that paid off in a huge way this year in one of the year’s best TV shows, Midnight Mass, where he also turned in one of our favorite performances. Bonus: He’s now a Mike Flanagan regular — he’ll next appear in The Fall of the House of Usher — and we could not be more excited about that partnership. We love this man.
A little thank you to everyone at @pajiba for their kind words. Your support always means a lot to me innit.— Rahul Kohli (@RahulKohli13) October 14, 2016
5. Zendaya — Zendaya is another first-timer to the Pajiba 10, and honestly, how could she not be on the list in a year where she’s starring in the biggest movie of the pandemic era, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and one of the most talked-about movies of the year in Dune. She also has her television bona fides in Euphoria, which returns to HBO Max next month, and she is involved in the Internet’s favorite relationship right now. She’s a phenomenal actress, but also just a goddamn joy (the less said about Malcolm & Marie, perhaps, the better, although I didn’t hate it as much as some). She’s also our favorite kind of actor: She gained success not because of nepotism but because of talent. She’s also the only Dancing with the Stars contestant that has ever made our Pajiba 10, and if she didn’t blow you away in The Greatest Showman a few years ago, you just weren’t paying attention.
4. Dev Patel — Patel is no stranger to the Pajiba 10 — this is his second consecutive year on the list, the first of three 2020 returnees — and as Kayleigh described him last year, he is a star for today, tomorrow, and Hollywood’s future. The much anticipated Green Knight finally arrived this year, and it did not disappoint, earning placement in the sixth most top ten films list this year and potentially earning the actor another Oscar nom. As beloved as he is, it’s a shame he isn’t cast in more things, but he makes every role count, as I’m sure he will in his next, Monkey Man, his feature directorial debut, which comes out next year. He’s come a long way since his Slumdog Millionaire days, and in Green Knight, he was allowed to be really, really hot.
3. Dolly Parton — Another returnee, Dolly Parton is an icon. She has demanded space for women’s voices that don’t conform or fit clean within anyone’s expectations. She’s unabashedly been herself. She makes promises and keeps them. She makes the world a better place with books for children and vaccines for everyone. Oh, and she’s made some really important music that captures the perspective of women on the margins of society. If you haven’t listened to the incredible Dolly Parton podcast, Dolly Parton’s America, that places her at the center of all that is good about American culture and all that makes it universal, then you need to. It’s an important examination of why America’s culture is as ubiquitous as it is, and how Dolly Parton is a major contributor to that.
2. Lee Pace — Kayleigh captured our number two — and first-time entrant after all these years! — better than I can in her FYC post. “He is a beacon, a safe spot, and a constant reminder to stay hydrated because he was going to make you thirsty as f**k … Lee Pace has been a sinfully underrated hot guy for far too long. He was the absolute embodiment of adorkable on the unfairly canceled Pushing Daisies, where he played a pie-maker with the ability to raise the dead through touch. How could anyone believe that this extremely tall hunk of prime male could play an awkward romantic? Acting! Pace is good at it. Underrated, really. We let so many boring white dudes be leading men but not Pace, a man with actual charisma? The system sucks. Of course, Pace can steal a scene like his salary depends on it. Remember the all-too-short moments during the interminable The Hobbit trilogy where he made it almost watchable with his domineering elf sass? He’s currently chewing up the scenery on Foundation in a way that leaves me close to ignoring my other man, Jared Harris. How do you compete with a man who wears shorts to the Met Gala? The guy who seems to have enough footage of himself wandering shirtless through the desert to make Lawrence of Arabia: After Dark? This guy goes bare-chested hiking and it’s not making me roll my eyes? AND he has a cute dog?! AND HE POSED WITH PANDA BABIES?!
Lee Pace knows what the people want, and he delivers it with no fuss or arrogance, even though, if I looked like him, I would never shut up about how handsome I was. Some actors are uncomfortable with being gawked at, but Pace practically invites us to engage in a healthy bout of lecherous hooting. He understands that life is tough, and we must take our moments of pleasure in whatever shape they come.”
What a fine shape he is, too.
1. Keanu Reeves — Keanu is the male Dolly Parton. He is joy. He is light. He is generous. He is beloved. He is everything we should all aspire to be. Passionate about his job and kind to those with whom he works. He manages to be both chill and exuberant, and I honestly don’t think anyone has ever had a bad word to say about him. He was last year’s number two, after making his debut at number one in 2019, and now he’s exactly where he belongs as he rides into the Pajiba Hall of Fame: At the top of our 15th Annual Pajiba 10. All hail Keanu!
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