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Radcliffe, Pitt among 2011's top entertainers

It was a big year in entertainment with some big names and not-so-big names making a mark on the showbiz industry. So who was tops this year?

Entertainment Weekly magazine named its choices for the biggest and best in this week's "Entertainer of the Year" issue. Daniel Radcliffe earned the top spot, but several others, such as singer Adele and "The Help" star Viola Davis, made the list.

How did the publication make its selections?

The staff votes and debates, editor Jess Cagle said on "The Early Show." The staff then whittles the list down to 15, and then decides which one really deserves to be named Entertainer of the Year.

Daniel Radcliffe is EW's entertainer of the year

"This year, it seemed pretty clear that it was Daniel Radcliffe," Cagle said. "Between 'Potter' and Broadway, he's the one who surprised us the most and got us most excited."

In the issue, celebrities write about the entertainers on the list. But how are those celebrities chosen?

Entertainment Weekly, Cagle explained, looked for a personal or professional connection.

"We asked Meryl Streep to write about Viola Davis because they're both great actresses in the forefront of the Oscar race. And even though Meryl and Viola are competitors, Meryl couldn't wait to say nice things about the very talented and popular Viola Davis," Cagle said.

"We asked Steve Carell to write about Ryan Gosling because they costarred in one of our favorite movies this year, 'Crazy Stupid Love.' In a couple of instances, we invited celebs to write just because they were fans: Julia Roberts loves Adele; Sandra Bullock loves 'South Park' and 'Book of Mormon,' so we asked her to write about Trey Parker and Matt Stone."

Cagle also shared thoughts on each of the entertainers on the list:

Entertainer of the Year: Daniel Radcliffe

No one has ever had a year like him: a billion-dollar blockbuster and a Broadway show. Radcliffe starred in the finale of the biggest movie franchise in history (nearly $8 billion in global box office), he spent 11 months learning to dance so he could star in Broadway's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (and he was great in it) and he also found time to shoot another film -- a thriller called "Woman in Black," which opens in February. Despite wealth and fame at an early age, he's never fallen into the teen-star trap. He has shown that he's humble, curious and dedicated to the craft of acting, and he has made a point of learning all he can from great actors (like Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman during the 'Potter' films) and directors, and challenging himself whether it's in a Broadway musical or 'Equus,' which he did on stage a few years ago. This means he's got a bright future: He's interested in learning and growing, that's the key to longevity.


When picking Entertainer of the Year, it was actually hard to choose between Adele and Radcliffe. Adele had the top-selling album of the year and as a singer, she touches her audience more deeply than any other singer today. Julia Roberts in her essay pointed out that people have a deep personal connection to Adele. It's because Adele puts so much of her soul into her music, we really feel like we know her.

Brad Pitt:

He had two very interesting movies this year: "Tree of Life" and "Moneyball." While neither was designed to be a huge commercial hit, both movies were critically-hailed artistic accomplishments from one of this generation's finest and most interesting actors. I think this year the conversation moved away a bit from his personal life, and toward his career, which, artistically, reached a new peak.

Pictures: Brad Pitt

The cast of "Bridesmaids":

Individually, the cast members were great, from Kristen Wiig to Melissa McCarthy to Maya Rudolph. Any of those women could have been named an Entertainer of the Year on their own. But, as a cast, they were something really special. Their chemistry in "Bridesmaids" was a huge part of the movie's success -- a movie that really changed the way Hollywood thinks about female-driven comedies, and the way it thinks about the female audience (studios now take both more seriously). Already you can see the impact this movie has had in television, where so many female-driven comedies are succeeding.

Pictures: Kristen Wiig

Pictures: Melissa McCarthy

Viola Davis:

No actress touched us more than she did in "The Help." She's had a great career, but she's always had more respect and admiration from the industry than with audiences. This year that changed, and she's the frontrunner for a Best Actress Oscar. Meryl Streep wrote the essay on her in the magazine and really said it best: "Her modesty is her majesty."

Pictures: Viola Davis

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