True Detective — The year began with arguably the best TV series of 2014 (if you can ignore the final episode) and established, once and for all, that television is now the dominant medium in pop culture. Not for nothing, but it also solidified Matthew McConaughey’s career resurgence.
Alexandra Daddario — Daddario has been around for a few years, but True Detective brought her to the mainstream. She let’s us objectify her best feature. She dresses nicely for swim lessons). She also gave us the Tweet of the Year.
…. The president has seen my boobs pic.twitter.com/I5BRXOl1UO— Alexandra Daddario (@AADaddario) February 18, 2014
Michael Keaton — Though it sometimes felt like it, Michael Keaton never actually disappeared from Hollywood after his run of Batman movie — he lingered in supporting roles in mostly bad films. Birdman resurrected that career and reminded us of why he’s one of the most dynamic, interesting, and brilliant actors in the industry.
Jane the Virgin — The best new guilty pleasure of the year, Jane the Virgin brought wit, energy, and sexiness to the telenovela format, as well as the best love triangle since Ben and Noel. It also introduced us to the very lovely Gina Rodriguez.
Chris Pratt — We knew and loved him from Parks and Recreation, and respected him for his turns in Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty, but Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie made him the biggest star this side of McConaughey, and it couldn’t have happened to a better, more likable guy. He’s not new to us in 2014, but he’s new to the world.
Boyhood — The Richard Linklater film by not only blew us away by introducing a novel gimmick to fictional filmmaking — telling a 12 year long coming-of-age story using the same actors — but he backed it up with one of the most poignant, heartfelt movies of the decade.
Transparent Jill Soloway gave us the year’s best new sitcom, an amazing comedy that helped put a face on the trans community while delivering an honest and often heartbreaking performance from Jeffrey Tambor.
The Leftovers — Just me? Damon Lindelof broke up the summer doldrums with a new HBO drama that satiated our conspiracy theory thirst following the conclusion of Breaking Bad and, as far as I’m concerned, made up for the Lost finale.
Kids’ Flicks — It’s a great year to be a parent if you take your kids to the movies frequently. It wasn’t just the big hits — The Lego Movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Big Hero 6 — that made it an insanely good year for kids movies, it was also some of the smaller ones, like The Boxtrolls, Book of Life and the surprisingly fun Mr. Sherman and Peabody. Going to kids movies never felt like a chore in 2014 (so long as you avoided Disney’s Planes spin-off).
Pedro Pascal — Pascal came out of nowhere last Spring and stole season four of Game of Thrones, took top spot in the 2014 Pajiba 10, and landed a lead role in Netflix’s Narco series. He is charm personified.