year in culture 2016

93 Culture Creators on What They Loved in 2016

The most eye-catching moments. Photo: Vulture

What do the people who make culture think about the year in culture? We canvassed 93 actors, directors, comedians, and other creators about what caught their eye in 2016. Below are the top vote-getters, along with runners-up and a few representative (or particularly entertaining) quotes.

Favorite Movie


“When you watch a movie that is that emotionally resonant and that joyful and that simple, it makes you say, ‘That’s what a movie should be.’”

The Witch

“Robert Eggers’s The Witch is probably my favorite film this year. I saw it at the Nitehawk in Brooklyn, and it just floored me.”

La La Land

“It’s good to see human stories that actually do something for you—and La La Land is both.”


Favorite TV Show


“Donald Glover is genius. It is just so fresh. There is nothing like it.”

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

“Sarah Paulson was unbelievable.”


Westworld And I’m not even smart enough to truly appreciate it.”

Favorite Performance in a TV Show

Donald Glover in Atlanta

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep

“Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She’s a goddess.”

The Kids in Stranger Things

“I can’t wait to see what those guys do next. Amazing.”

Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld

Favorite Performance in a Movie

Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea

“Casey Affleck is wonderful. Also, I love the movie.”

Sasha Lane in American Honey

“I thought she was unbelievable and so brave. She’s also a boss-ass human being — so congratulations!”

Helen Mirren in Collateral Beauty

“I just worship at the shrine of Helen Mirren. Whatever she does is great.”

Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water

Emma Stone in La La Land

Favorite Late-Show Host

Jimmy Fallon

“No one comes close for me. I just love the fact that he’s not mean-spirited, to be perfectly frank.”

Seth Meyers

“There’s something about him. I’m digging him.”

Samantha Bee

James Corden

Stephen Colbert

Favorite Play or Musical (That Isn’t Hamilton)

The Humans

“I think it’s the most important American play of the 21st century.”


“It really sneaks up on you. It’s a beautiful story and unbelievably well executed.”


The Crucible

Favorite Pop Star

Lady Gaga

“She’s just always a pop icon to me. She’s a legend.”

Fifth Harmony

“My daughter’s favorite band.”


Favorite Political Joke or Sketch

Alec Baldwin As Donald Trump on SNL

“Every single sketch SNL wrote for Alec Baldwin as Trump was comedically masterful.”

Dave Chappelle’s Monologue on SNL

Kate McKinnon As Hillary Singing “Hallelujah”

Chappelle’s SNL Election-Watching Sketch

Favorite Album

Solange, A Seat at the Table

“It’s everything and a bag of barbecue potato chips.”

Beyoncé, Lemonade

“I literally got snacks, turned off my ringer, sat down in my living room, and watched an album. Beyoncé is ridiculously awesome!”

Frank Ocean, Blond(e)

Favorite Book of 2016

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

“We had the privilege of reading The Underground Railroad before it was published. It was thrilling.”

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

Most Important Person in Culture

Hillary Clinton

“There are now at least 65,527,581 cracks in that glass ceiling.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda

“He reshaped what a musical is in terms of content and style and substance. It’s remarkable. Plus, he’s my neighbor.”

Donald Trump

Michelle Obama

Is Trump’s Victory Good or Bad for Entertainment?


“It shouldn’t matter. No matter who is in office, you should always hold them to task and speak for the people. I want people to hope that he’s a good president. I really do. Just because I like the country. I love the country so much. I’m hoping that he ends up knowing what he’s talking about and proving a lot of me and my friends wrong. That’s my dream scenario.”

Respondents: Waris Ahluwalia, Pedro Almodóvar, Austin Amelio, Tichina Arnold, Talia Balsam, Banks, Christine Baranski, Warren Beatty, Matt Bellassai, Annette Bening, Haley Bennett, Rachel Boston, Benjamin Bratt, Matthew Broderick, Michael Che, Linda Cohn, Lily Collins, Terry Crews, Noah Cyrus, Brittany Daniel, Lee Daniels, Mackenzie Davis, Daya, Dana DeLorenzo, Jude Demorest, Gabrielle Dennis, Ty Dolla Sign, Ezra Edelman, Bridget Everett, Randy Fenoli, Mark Feuerstein, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Judah Friedlander, Nina García, Tony Goldwyn, CeeLo Green, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Skylar Grey, Tony Hale, Mel Harris, Ethan Hawke, Lucas Hedges, Jack Huston, Barry Jenkins, Jessica Joffe, Finn Jones, Orlando Jones, Colin Jost, Milla Jovovich, Ellie Kemper, Keegan-Michael Key, Nick Kroll, Don Lemon, Judith Light, Mark Linn-Baker, Lisa Loeb, LeToya Luckett, Martha MacCallum, Billy Magnussen, Debi Mazar, Ben McKenzie, Leandra Medine, Arnon Milchan, Marilyn Minter, Sarah Morris, James Murphy, Naturi Naughton, Ruth Negga, Isaac Oliver, David Oyelowo, Joe Pantoliano, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anne Pasternak, Glen Powell, Sarah Rafferty, Ted Raimi, Leven Rambin, Ben Rappaport, Christina Ricci, Wyatt Russell, Nick Sandow, Ray Santiago, Liev Schreiber, Peter Scolari, Joseph Sikora, Dave Stewart, Susan Stroman, Sophia Takal, Anya Taylor-Joy, Vince Vaughn, Susan Kelechi Watson, Naomi Watts, Ricky Whittle.

*This article appears in the December 12, 2016, issue of New York Magazine.

93 Culture Creators on What They Loved in 2016