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Remembering the real celeb MVPs of 2017

December 27, 2017 GMT

For past few years I’ve continued a tradition started by my predecessor in the Features Department, Cody Clark. That tradition? New Year’s resolutions for celebrities.

As I started inventorying which celebs interested me this year — which is generally a short list, admittedly — I struggled. To put it simply, a lot of famous folks did a lot of bad things this year (or were ousted for having done bad things). That’s not to say I was ever a Harvey Weinstein evangelist, but you get the idea. Celebrities, and the very concept of celebrity, normally grosses me out -- and 2017 didn’t help.

For this year’s column I’ve decided to focus on the good. The following celebs made me happy this year. I don’t know if that happiness will last — a celeb’s downfall is always just one tweet away — so consider this a snapshot. Or rather, like the cheap, ultimately dispensable Polaroid that celebrity has always been.

Finn Wolfhard: The young actor had already charmed me as the ringleader in “Stranger Things.” That by itself, though, wouldn’t have put him on this list. What really sold me was Wolfhard’s turn in this year’s horror film “It.” His baselessly braggadocios, compulsively foulmouthed character, Richie, was the best part of that film. Yeah, Richie cursed a lot, but so do unsupervised 13-year-old boys in real life. So did my own friends when I was that age. It really took me back. Thanks, Finn.

Gal Gadot: I was prepared to not care about Wonder Woman. As it turns out, I was no match for Gal Gadot’s charms. The Israeli actress was thoroughly convincing as the titular character in this year’s “Wonder Woman.” One of the film’s most frequent gags was how other characters became truly disarmed by Wonder Woman’s otherworldly good looks. That gag might fall flat normally, or have a tinge of sexism, but not so with Gal Gadot — she actually is that stunning. Wow. Just wow.

Mark Hamill: It’s so good to have this guy back in our lives. Hamill’s acting in the original Star Wars trilogy is honestly pretty stiff. Before seeing “The Last Jedi” this month, though, I saw Hamill in the Sundance film “Brigsby Bear.” That film’s biggest surprise was that, go figure, Hamill had actually become a really good actor. “Brigsby Bear” wasn’t an apparition: Hamill is captivating in “The Last Jedi,” and in a way that’s separate from the film’s script, direction and storied lore. He can make his own charm now, thank you very much.

Hayley Williams: At this point, the Paramore frontwoman is moderately famous — she’s put out high-quality, critically respected, commercially viable music for years now. I don’t know how anyone could watch the music video for “ Hard Times,” Paramore’s main single off its latest album, and not be star struck. Her vocal chops and overall charisma are off the charts. Seriously, why is Hayley Williams not more famous? The new album, “After Laughter,” turns Williams’ heavy, introspective lyrical content into some of the most joyous synth-pop of the year. May we all turn our own lemons into such lemonade.