Every year, Google releases the most searched actors of the calendar year. The list often reflects pop culture touchstones, as well as rising stars gaining traction. This year, the top searches were unsurprising, as they reflected major events reported on by the media. Johnny Depp, who was engaged in a very public defamation trail with his ex-wife Amber Heard, topped the list at number one. He was followed by Will Smith, who became an object of much controversy when he slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars. However, as we go further down the list, it is much more surprising.
The first four slots were taken up by individuals involved in the controversies above, with Amber Heard and Chris Rock ranking respectively at #3 and #4. However, there were some definite surprising standouts. Stranger Things breakout star Joseph Quinn came at #6, while the rest of the cast remained off of the list. This was particularly surprising considering the actor’s character, Eddie Munson, only totaled about 42 minutes of total screen time throughout the entire season. However, Eddie is a stand-out amongst fans, so maybe his placement on the list is valid.
Coming at #9 was Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller. While Teller certainly made waves this year, including becoming a fan favorite on TikTok and even hosting SNL, the actor was not the star, nor the most bankable actor in the blockbuster hit. Tom Cruise feels like a much more obvious actor for audiences to latch onto, yet Teller seems to have been the one to peak the interest of Google users.
Another surprise addition is Ashley Judd, who came in at #10. The Emmy-nominated actress did not have a major starring role in a movie at all this year, but she did make an appearance as herself in the film She Said. The film follows the journalists who worked to investigate the allegations around Harvey Weinstein, sparking the #MeToo movement and a major Hollywood reckoning. Judd was at the forefront of the movement and worked to expose Weinstein, so it made sense for her to be included in the movie.
The rest of the list includes Julia Fox, who dated Kanye West earlier this year and has since been very active on social media talking about the controversies; Jada Pinkett Smith, who was the subject of the joke Chris Rock made that prompted the slap; and Ezra Miller, whose various controversies, allegations directed against them and trouble with the law looms over the future of the DCEU. You can check out the full list, as well as other Google-compiled lists from this year, via USA Today (opens in new tab).
Who knows what the next year may bring, and you never know who will make a splash with audiences. For a preview into what movie fans may be searching about in 2023, check out our 2023 movie release schedule. It includes exciting projects like Barbie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so there is a lot to look forward to in the coming months.