There was a time not too long ago when it looked like Ryan Reynolds’ career as a movie star was about over. His 2011 Green Lantern film was a financial disappointment, spawned no sequels, and when the DCEU was launched he and his version of the character were left behind. Reynolds didn’t have another hit for several years afterward, starring in such forgettable fare as The Change Up, Safe House and R.I.P.D.
But then came Deadpool. Reynolds did more than become the first actor to headline movies as both DC and Marvel superheroes – he had the biggest hit of his career, launched a bona fide franchise, and did so while helping shepherd the film to the screen as a co-producer. And now, he’s the Entertainer of the Year.
Entertainment Weekly announced Wednesday that Ryan Reynolds is 2016’s Entertainer of the Year. The 40-year-old Reynolds got the award, according to the magazine, because of the way Deadpool connected with audiences. The actor elaborated in the preview of the article:
“I knew that this was going to speak to the very core of the Deadpool fan base, and I knew they would embrace it. I think it just really landed at a fortunate time. We were right at ‘peak superhero,’ particularly in the sense that the superheroes were all intermittingly clenching their jaw muscles and brooding. Deadpool came along and sort of threw all that on its ass.”
Reynolds makes a certain amount of sense as Entertainer of the Year, both for the comeback narrative and the sheer strength of Deadpool and its popularity. Sure, Deadpool is only the fifth-highest grossest film of the year, but the highest that has contained a legitimate movie star lead performance – the four ahead of it either was animated (Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets), or contained an ensemble cast (Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book).
Who could it have been besides Reynolds? Some fans may lament the passing-over of Beyonce, who gave us both the Lemonade short film and album of the same name this year. Lin-Manuel Miranda presided over the Hamilton juggernaut as it continued to crush Broadway records while spreading to music and a PBS documentary; Miranda also wrote well-regarded songs for Disney’s Moana. How about Kate McKinnon, for her SNL work and a series of wonderfully weird movie performances? Or an all-cast award, as EW has given out several times in the past, to Game of Thrones, or perhaps Stranger Things?