Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Mr. Will-W.:Pop Maven's 2011 Celebrity Year in Review

Throughout the year, I am fortunate enough to meet a copious number of Celebrities, but how many of them actually stand out? And how many of them are actually nice enough to go the extra mile when they aren't surrounded by a Camera Crew and Handlers? This is my 2011 Celebrity Year in Review  (in no specific order) and ultimately a Love Letter to the Star Power of Toronto.

1. Ashley Benson & Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars - January 27, 2011: Two genuinely sweet Girls on the brink of Super-stardom with their hit dark and suspenseful ABC Family Series.
2. Selena Gomez - August 25, 2011: If you still don't have much respect still for the former Wizards of Waverly Place Star, you need to re-evaluate your stance.  Gomez not only has sold-out Arenas with her Tour in support of fantastic Disc When the Sun Goes Down bringing her back multiple times to Toronto, but that sweet Girlfriend of Justin Bieber is a bona fide Multimedia Empire.
3. Adele - March 3, 2011: Who ever would guess that this British Siren would command Charts around the World?  Adele's Album 21 has become a Household Item everywhere and even the Receptionists at my Dentist's Office are humming Someone Like You.  It's rare that I hug a Celebrity, but we did so and there really were tears. I will never forget her.
4. Elizabeth Olsen - April 21, 2011: Never underestimate the Youngest Child. That is something we always will have in common.  This Olsen Sister long has avoided the Radar, but her moment has arrived at last. Her Breakthrough Performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene is spellbinding.
5.  Bradley Cooper - May 12, 2011: People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive sat-down and played a little Piano for me after my Roundtable Interview with him for The Hangover Part 2.  Brainy, talented and handsome.  Deadly.
6. Larry King - February 16, 2011: This Primetime "King" of Talk's CNN days might be over but he still is keeping busy with his current Tour.  It was a complete fluke that I crossed paths with him that day outside Four Seasons Hotel, but it's the lucky moments that are all the more memorable.
7. Bob Barker - April 15, 2011: The Price is Right Icon Bob Barker made a rare visit to Toronto showing his undying support for the Animals, in this case Elephants at the Toronto Zoo.  It was extremely rushed, but those 10 seconds were both surreal and amaze.
8-9. Cosmopolis - May 29-31, 2011: He's pretty much the Epitome of Hearththrob and I had the pleasure of meeting The Twilight Saga Star Robert Pattinson on multiple occasions early this Summer while he was filming David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis.  Both Pattinson and Cronenberg were gracious to Fans who watched and waited patiently for hours.  Everybody wanted a bite, but only the truly patient got a taste.
10. Rico Rodriguez - May 31, 2011: Is there anyone who isn't a Fan of ABC's Modern Family?  Anyone who watches the Sitcom - and there are many of you - will understand why the greatness of this Encounter needs no further explanation.
11-13. The Cast of Glee - May 30 & June 11-12, 2011: Although they weren't all quite so Fan-friendly in reality, it was still a great pleasure meeting some of the Cast of Glee early this Summer.  The lovely Matthew Morrison came to promote his Solo Disc late May, while the remainder of the Cast performed four sold-out Shows at Air Canada Centre soon after.  I still gush to this day about meeting one of my faves Dianna Agron, who plays Quinn.
14. Olivia Wilde - September 14, 2011: Guys and Girls alike expressed envy when I posted this Photo of the ravishing Wilde and me at a non-publicized Press visit during TIFF.  She simply can do no wrong in my books - beautiful inside and out.
15. Tilda Swinton - September 10, 2011: I have nothing but incredible respect and admiration for Oscar Winner Swinton and have long been a Fan of her unconventional role choices.  She is brazen, kind-spirited and just perfect.  Once again this year she is garnering Awards buzz for We Need to Talk About Kevin.
16-17. The Boys of Harry Potter - July 18 & August 28, 2011: With the World having said farewell to Harry Potter on the Big Screen this Summer, I had the pleasure interviewing Matthew Lewis, who shone as one of the Series' greatest Heroes.  Not long after, fellow Castmate Tom Felton visited his Fans at Fan Expo and like Lewis, was gracious.  Perhaps it's something in the Waters of London...
18-20. Young Money Entertainment - July 12, August 15 & 19, 2011: Not many can say they've met all three Jewels of the Hip-Hop Triple Crown known as Young Money Entertainment, one of the Industry's most celebrated Record Labels.  Urban Royalty Drake, Lil Wayne and Nick Minaj are Artists I have great respect for and I am proud to say I've been photographed with them.  I may have received an E-mail or two this year stating "I hate you!.. just kidding!" following those Postings.
21. Anderson Cooper - June 2, 2011: Although I have admitted that I'm struggling to embrace Cooper as a Daytime Talk Show Host, I still adore him and his piercing blue eyes greatly.  Who could forget his v. adorable Laughing Fit back in August?
22. Jane Fonda - August 21, 2011: Although I've heard mixed comments from others about this two-time Oscar Winner, she was nothing but Honey when I met her on her way into the City for her latest Book, Prime Time. Regretfully she had to cancel her TIFF appearance for Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, which many are saying is her last Movie.
23. Helen Mirren - June 30, 2011: The stunningly beautiful Mirren was in the City for the Blackcreek Music Festival this Summer and both my Dog Billy, and I had the pleasure of meeting her loveliness.  The smile on her face was unforgettable with him leaning-in for a peck as she told him, "Billy, you're beautiful!".
24. Luis Contreras - July 21, 2011: I don't watch Sports generally, but I grew-up watching lots of Horse Racing.  Nothing is more exciting to me than the thrill of a Finish Line, bobbing heads, Fans screaming and seeing a return on a $2 bet. Contreras, originally from Mexico, wowed at Woodbine this year where he broke a record in Purse Earnings this season with $11,563,915. One of his more noted Mounts was probable Champion Filly Inglorious (whom I also get to meet), Winner of the historic Queen's Plate this year against the Boys.
25. Evan Rachel Wood - September 9, 2011: Few Actresses excite me as much as Wood (pardon the pun) who consistently has wowed me whether it be in HBO's Mildred Pierce, where she may have stolen a scene or two from Kate Winslet, or Oscar-bait The Ides of March where she plays a Seductress of another kind.  A real Movie Star.
26. Chloë Grace Moretz - September 11, 2011: After causing a frenzy at the Airport upon arrival with hoards of grown Men thrusting 8x10s her way, a rushed-off 14 year-old Moretz stayed true to her word after promising me a Photo via Direct Message on Twitter.  After attending her TIFF Premiere for Hick, she came right over my way, posing graciously!  Even top Celebrity Blogger JustJared took notice, Tweeting about the Photo. For those of you who haven't yet seen Martin Scorcese's Hugo 3-D, you must.  Moretz is a delight!
27. Felicity Jones - September 13, 2011: One of the Actresses gaining the most Awards buzz is this British Thespian for her much-improvised Breakthrough Performance in Like Crazy.  Although she took few Photos at her TIFF Premiere for the Romantic Drama, she was kind enough to make her way over for a Snap.  Definitely one to keep on your Radar.
28. Kelly Osbourne - August 29, 2011: Fashion Expert, TV Star and Singer Kelly Osbourne has long shed her reputation as a Bad Girl and surprisingly is one of the sweetest Celebrities I met in 2011.  And it wasn't just all for me as the current Material Girl Collection Spokesmodel was just as nice to all her Fans, Tweeting to them that she would make time for them in front of her Yorkville Hotel after finding out how long they had waited for her.  One-by-one she took Photos with each of them, signing a storm of Autographs.
29. Harvey Weinstein - September 14, 2011: Fatherhood has done Weinstein well.  One of the most important men in Hollywood did a rare Photo with me on his way out of the amaze InStyle Magazine Party at Windsor Arms Hotel during TIFF - not an easy feat considering he's denied me previous years.  Whatever I said worked this time as he was all smiles! Legend and Idol.
30. Milla Jovovich - November 23, 2011: Another one of those rare instances where I carry my Camera on me in hopes of a Celebrity Spotting and it actually happens.  It was a chilly November day when I had taken Billy out for a walk and stumbled upon the Set for Resident Evil: Retribution.  Charmed by his good looks, Jovovich brought Billy into her Suburban and posed for a couple Photos together with him.  Resident Cuteness!
31. Jessica Chastain - September 16, 2011: Many of 2011's greatest performances belong to Chastain, who appeared in several of my favourites including The Help, The Debt and Take Shelter.  I had the pleasure of meeting her on multiple occasions at TIFF this year and she is everything I had hoped for and more - a real Class Act.
32. Hugh Jackman - September 21, 2011: They don't come any nicer than Jackman.  Fans allover the City fell in love with the busy Thespian this Summer over and again with his engagement at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Day after day he would make the time to pose for Photos with Fans at the Stage Door of the Venue, ensuring everybody was taken care of.  I also got to connect with him again this September at the Premiere and After Party for Real Steel.
33. Michael Fassbender - September 10, 2011: There was nobody more whom I wanted to meet than Fassbender at TIFF this year.  The German-Irish Actor quickly became one of my new faves with his all-out performances in both Steve McQueen Films, Hunger and Shame.  And I suppose it doesn't hurt that he's v. easy to look at?  Word is that a certain Canadian Film Distributor is none to pleased he didn't make it in-time from the Venice Film Festival to promote another Title he had premiering at TIFF.  Oh well, more for us!
34-35. The Men Behind Lady Gaga - March 4 & November 17, 2011: Here's to two Men who have stamped their place in the world of Fashion and they're not actual Designers or Supermodels.  Formichetti, one of the Masterminds at the Haus of Gaga and Creative Director for MUGLER, stopped by Toronto recently for an appearance at The Bay - Queen Street.  It was an incredible honour to have a proper chat with him while he smoked a Cigarette at 2:00 AM. Earlier in the year, I got to take a Photo with scandalous famed Photographer himself Richardson, who was working closely with the World's biggest Pop Star for lush Photobook Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson.
36. Jason Segel - October 27, 2011: Without a doubt, one of my favourite Films 2011 was The Muppets and it made me extremely happy that I got to meet Star/Producer/Writer Segel who made a visit to the City for Press. I even got to attend a Press Junket with none other than Kermit the Frog!
37. Foster the People - November 30, 2011: One of my fave Musical Acts of 2011 is California's Foster the People, whose quirky brand of Alternative/Dance-Pop brought some sunshine to their chilly Live at Much appearance recently.
38. Total Recall - June 5-26, 2011: Toronto housed its biggest-budget Film Production of all time in Sony Pictures' Total Recall this Summer and I'm pleased to say that I got to meet most of the Principal Actors (Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston) and Director Len Wiseman in the August 3, 2012 release; a friendly and superb Cast.
39. Anna Faris - September 8, 2011: Hands down one of the funniest Women alive, Faris ranks as one of my favourite Actresses. She's fearless and it all comes out so effortlessly with her.  Seeing her arrive in Toronto with Husband Chris Pratt for Moneyball at TIFF was a delightful surprise and we even had a moment where we totally got each other and giggled like Kids!
40. Shania Twain - May 10, 2011: I'm totally on Team Shania and rooting for that Comeback of hers!  Although there was a bit of unnecessary kerfuffle at her Book Signing this Spring, all ended well thanks to Shania and her wonderful Sister Carrie-Ann.
41. Juliette Lewis - December 13, 2011: Definitely one of my favourite Actresses of all time, spunky Lewis pretty much can call Toronto her second home, considering the number of times she's visited these past couple years for Concerts, TIFF and now the filming of NBC's The Firm.
42. Regis Philbin - December 6, 2011: Who doesn't love Regis?  Although the Daytime TV Veteran said farewell to us on Live! With Regis and Kelly last month, he's still working hard promoting his Memoir How I Got This Way.  All the better for us, as it gives us a chance to see him finally in these parts.  He is remarkable and I'm humbled.

Until next year, Mavenati!  More Adventures to come...