The Culturati Caucus

Over the past month, we quizzed 97 New York culture mavens (and some visiting luminaries) on the best movies, tweets, and other artistic artifacts they’ve encountered this year. The tallies were anything but scientific, but they nonetheless surfaced a few conspicuous crowd-pleasers—plus, as expected, quite a number of ardent endorsements of everything from Ellen Barkin’s Twitter profanity to DIY architecture at Zuccotti Park.

78% of respondents were glad when Adele’s 21 was on repeat.
22% needed it to stop.

“You want to send Adele’s album to every guy who screwed you over. So I’ve sent out about 4,700 of them, and I’m just waiting for responses and apologies.” —Kathy Griffin, comedienne

“One of the great albums of the decade, if not the century.” —Adam Walker, publicist, Film Forum

“I can’t get Justin Bieber’s Christmas album out of my head. His rap of ‘Little Drummer Boy’? I’ll be singing it on the subway going home tonight.” —John Waters, director

“Every time I confess this I’m convinced a lightning bolt is going to strike me down, but I adore Coldplay’s ‘Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.’ ” —Nico Muhly, composer

“Adam Levine must be tried at the Hague for ‘Moves Like Jagger.’ ” —Darrell M. McNeill, assoc. producer, BAM

The Descendants
“I cried because it’s so rare to see a movie in which everyone, especially men, behave decently.” —Richard Peña, program director, Film Society of Lincoln Center

Margin Call
“It reminded me of how much money I lost this year.” —Bob Balaban, actor

Friends With Benefits
“I think I cried some tears. I was laughing my arse off.” —Elizabeth Olsen, actress

Being Elmo
“Not crying. Bawling.” —Solange Knowles, musician

“When I laugh, I cry, because I’m that emotionally screwed up.” —Mike Albo, author

The Help
“Four times.” —Russell Simmons, cofounder, Def Jam Records

Hanna —Alex Timbers, director
Bill Cunningham New York —Colum McCann, author
The Descendants —Penelope Ann Miller, actress
The Score of Contagion —Nico Muhly
Moneyball —Celine Rattray, film producer (“The lessons in Moneyball for film producers are very, very interesting. Do you hire the expensive person? Or do you make a bet on someone undervalued?”)
Weekend —Tod Lippy, editor Esopus
Martha Marcy May Marlene —Massimiliano Gioni, assoc. director, New Museum
Battle for Brooklyn —Darrell M. McNeill

Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
“She’s not only an incredible comedic actress, but she can play tragedy. I think she will win an Oscar, and I bet you it will be for something serious.” —Andy Cohen, V.P. and host, Bravo

“I could watch Ryan Gosling in anything. He’s got a real mix of vulnerability and menace.” —Gary Oldman, actor

“Michael Shannon is a knockout. He bust me out in tears and applause, alone in my living room.” —Melissa Leo, actress

“Joseph Gordon-Levitt was beeeaauuutiful in 50/50. He’s just really open and really relaxed.” —Tilda Swinton, actress

“Jessica Chastain has 34 films out this year. Not quite that many, but seems in the double digits. Could they create an Oscar for Most Valuable Player?” —Celia Weston, actress

“Bill Cunningham owned 2011. Softer than soft, harder than hard, Bill is the realest New Yorker alive. And Occupy? Bill had it down in 1988: ‘Money is cheap. Freedom is expensive.’ Never take the money.” —Sasha Frere-Jones, critic

Nominated by Christopher Bollen, author.
• On Melancholia: Lars von Trier is that weird rarity: one of the world’s greatest filmmakers who has never made a great film.
• Legitimate question: just walked out on L.A. screening of The Artist and wondered: am I a Grinch or is it just an unbearably cute flyspeck?
The Skin I Live In is basically Pedro Almodóvar’s chic version of The Human Centipede. But I prefer Dieter Laser over Antonio Banderas …
• Steve McQueen’s Shame would have been so much more disturbing if Brandon had actually enjoyed the sex.

Nominated by Amanda Stern, reading-series curator, Joe’s Pub.
• Wait—“Twilight” is about vampires?
• I only wrote a “genre novel” so you’d have another example for your trend piece.
• “Empire State of Mind” is a great song! Is there a version available without the Jay-Z parts?
• Will I be able to follow the plot if I see The Help before I see Bagger Vance, Driving Miss Daisy & The Blind Side?

Nominated by Adam Walker.
• This twitter shit is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Never had so many friends in my life. I’m never leaving my house.
• Uh oh PR intervention!! My peeps just told me 2 limit my fuks to 1 fuk a day. What da fuk shud I do? What da fuk wud I say? help me my frenz!
• O no,now these muthafuckin assholes r hijacking my fuckin T-fuckin-V. These debates r a full season of a mediocre reality show w vampires!
• OMFG…I just realized Callista Gingrich has my exact fuckin haircut. Fuck. 1st thing tmrw, shave it all off or head full of extensions. Fuck
• Fuck u all, I like my real frenz better. Bunch of fuckin celebrity snobs… You all know who you are …

The Book of Mormon is the musical that every one of us in the comedy industry wishes we had made.” —Paul Feig, actor-director
“The theatrical part of Sleep No More was a little forced, but oh, man—the details were fantastic.” —Jim Jarmusch, director

“Tent City was like performance art, placing the Third World in the middle of the financial district. It was a DIY monument to our communal angst.” —Vikram Gandhi, documentary filmmaker

Ashton Kutcher
Kim Kardashian
Hurricane Irene
Will and Kate
Charlie Sheen #winning
James Franco
Whitney Cummings
The Supercommittee

2011 SURVEY RESPONDENTS: Waris Ahluwalia, Mike Albo, Jon Robin Baitz, Bob Balaban, Molly Barnett, Felix Barrett, Natasha Bedingfield, Bérénice Bejo, Lake Bell, Andrew Berman, Christopher Bollen, Ashley Bouder, Maureen Bray, Bebe Buell, Tory Burch, Jennifer Carpenter, Cliff Chiang, Bill Clegg, Andy Cohen, Karen Cooper, Sam Corbett, Alan Cumming, Julie Danni, Anthony DeCurtis, Drake Doremus, Maxine Doyle, Paul Feig, Richard Flood, Sasha Frere-Jones, J. Michael Friedman, Cary Fukunaga, Vikram Gandhi, Alex Gansa, Massimiliano Gioni, Rebecca Gold, Kathy Griffin, Alyssa Hart, Michel Hazanavicius, Jonathan Hochwald, Paul Jackson, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Jarmusch, Felicity Jones, Geoff Kloske, Solange Knowles, Karl Lagerfeld, Matt Lauer, Ang Lee, Melissa Leo, Tod Lippy, Natasha Lyonne, Colum McCann, Ryan McGinley, Darrell M. McNeill, Aaron Meier, Kenny Mellman, Laura Miller, Penelope Ann Miller, Jennifer Missoni, Honor Moore, Nico Muhly, Kirsten Munro, Gary Oldman, Elizabeth Olsen, Patton Oswalt, Richard Peña, Renée Price, Celine Rattray, Jacques Renault, Nathaniel Rich, Elisabeth Robinson, Melissa Rosenberg, Jane Rosenthal, Tom Rothman, Rajendra Roy, Andrew Saffir, Brian Selznick, David Shields, Russell Simmons, Alex Smith, Gavin Smith, Scott Snyder, Olivier Staphylas, Amanda Stern, Darin Strauss, Sarah Suzuki, Tilda Swinton, Marlo Thomas, Uma Thurman, Alex Timbers, Adam Walker, John Waters, Randy Weiner, Celia Weston, Olivia Wilde, Max Winkler, Susan Yung

The Culturati Caucus