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Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 12/15/2009

Biggest celebrity of the '00s?

By Liz Kelly

Angelina Jolie walks the red carpet in 2008, before the birth of twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline. (Getty Images)

Yesterday, released its list of the top celebs of 2009, based on traffic to the juggernaut of a Web site. And, for the first time in five years, Johnny Depp has been knocked from the top of the heap. That's right, the slightly eccentric swashbuckler has been replaced by moody, floppy-haired vampire portrayer Robert Pattinson. The list contains some surprises, too -- Megan Fox ahead of Brad Pitt and another vamp -- the "Twilight" saga's Ashley Greene beating out Angelina Jolie. In fact, in all, five of "Twilight's" actors made the list.

But enough about 2009 and those vampires-come-lately -- our work here today is much more serious in scope. We're to debate who deserves the title of the biggest celebrity of the '00s. Entertainment Weekly compiled their own list earlier this month (Johnny Depp topped it, so nyah), but with inclusions like Will Smith (who didn't do much to impress me), I think there's room for improvement.

What factors should go into your consideration? Just one: When you look back over the last decade, what name just jumps into your head?

For me, that name would be Angelina Jolie, whose film career really started taking off in the new millennium even as she managed to romance Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston, found time to mother six children and became an active humanitarian. She may have had a quiet '09, but there's no denying her dominance over the past several years.

But, as ever, I'm hoping you'll disagree and share your picks in the comments section below.

Visit our full Best of the Decade coverage.

By Liz Kelly  | December 15, 2009; 11:03 AM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Celebrities, Friday Lists  
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They're not our normal run of celebrities, but two names that jump out at me are Peter Jackson and JK Rowling. (Okay, so I'm a nerd. Sosume.) Also, Jerry Bruckheimer and JJ Abrams, for both their TV and film contributions.

Keira Knightley.

Posted by: northgs | December 15, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

George Clooney. How that paparazzi-bashing guy from "E.R." (whose idea of acting is "heads down, eyes up, mumble") suddenly became an Oscar-winning elder statesman of Hollywood is completely beyond me.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | December 15, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Dan Radcliffe. The only thing he will ever be known for is Harry Potter, but that's a hell of a big "only thing."

Posted by: dkp01 | December 15, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Not a big fan, but you have to include Brittney Spears. Her rise to the top then the media hyped scraping of the bottom and rise again is nothing short of remarkable.

Posted by: hodie2 | December 15, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

If you mean 'best' celebrity of the decade, then I agree that Jolie tops the list. If you really mean 'biggest' then serious consideration should go to Michael Jackson. He has two MORE kids in the '00s, gets weirder and weirder, stages a big comback, goes through two child molestation scandals including a hugely publicized trial, hides out, plans ANOTHER comback, then gets even bigger by going and dying on us. As far as big goes, he pretty much beats out anyone.
Then of course, there is our own Liz, who started it all for us....

Posted by: agog1 | December 15, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

No clooning* the Clooney, there, td, or I shall have to ask you to step outside to discuss this like reasonable (i.e., fightin') men.

Anyway, Clooney is to the double-oughts what Hanks was to the nineties.

* Special thanks to Mad Magazine's Don Martin for the sound effect.

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 15, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Clooney was the first name that came to mind. He's done such a range of work this decade and has developed the clout to get things done because he wants to. I also watched "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" yesterday, so that might be influencing my thinking.

Posted by: mouse4 | December 15, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I'd think you have to throw Tom Cruise into the mix. Most of the movies he's done throughout the decade have performed at least respectably well, and, say what you want about his promotion of Scientology, it sure did keep in the headlines for what seemed like a good solid year back in the mid '00s.

Posted by: KevFromArlington | December 15, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell, too. The 2000s have been great times for their careers.

Posted by: KevFromArlington | December 15, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

George Cloony for the boys team, Angelina Jolie for the girls. They have the perfect combination of steady, big marquee work, and tabloid involvement.

Your Cate Blanchetts and Matt Damons had good decades professionally, to be sure, but they didn't entertain quite as comprehensively as the other two.

Posted by: WDC2 | December 15, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I think Jolie and the Cloonster would have to duke it out. I'd have to tip in favor of Clooney because he directed, produced and acted his way through the aughts.

Fast on their heels would be Beyonce and Drew Barrymore..........................



Posted by: mdreader01 | December 15, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be pedantic and nitpicky, but the decade actually INCLUDES 2010, just as the previous millenia included 2000. There is no year 0.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | December 15, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Outstanding, mdreader!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 15, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

DCCubefarm, you are mathematically correct that THE decade would be 2001-2010. On the other hand, A decade can be any ten consecutive years, such as 1996-2005.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 15, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I was waiting for a Kanye moment. Bravo, mdreader01.

And byoolin, you're on. I will do my best to compensate considering you have such an extreme age advantage on my young self. Pistols at dawn.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | December 15, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Damn that Kanye!

I take everything back. The greatest entertainer of the aughts is

The In-Vitro Fertilization Doctor.

He's made us laugh, cry, and wonder why. He brings to celebrities the one accessory that can't be purchased at Gucci or Tiffany's. He keeps marriages together and tears marriages apart. He ends careers and starts careers.

Running neck and neck with him is the

Overseas Adoption Specialist.

Posted by: mdreader01 | December 15, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree an Angelina Jolie, but I'd also like to give a shout out to Reese Witherspoon and Leonardo Di Caprio.

Posted by: ideallydc | December 15, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

hodie's got a point about Britney. Hard to to believe she only became famous in late 1998 / early 1999. And look at her now. Good choice!

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | December 15, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we need two sets of biggest celebs from 2000-2009, based on whether their accomplishments are admirable or otherwise. Sort of like the Oscars and the Razzies, or the Nobel Prizes and the Ignobles.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 15, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Daniel Radcliff has become pretty well know for his involvement in Equis, but in the UK and stateside.

Posted by: mcleve | December 15, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Kinda surprised at the support for Clooney, since these things are usually a "what have they done lately" thing. Hence the focus on Twilight, Get Mooned or whatever it is. No fan of either, but MJ and Brit-Brit both need to be up there. Beyonce is not eligible since she is the greatest entertainer of all time...

Posted by: reddragon1 | December 16, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

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