A look back at the year that was—with a focus on four people who found great success in it. After Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus could have retired, but then we wouldn’t have had her transformational turn as the flummoxed, scheming, darkly comic vice-president in Veep. By Jonathan Van Meter.12 Years a Slave has been hailed as one of the most powerful films to come out in a long time, a searingly American movie by British director Steve McQueen, who says it’s about far more than slavery. By Dan P. Lee. Rachel Kushner is a motorcycle-savvy, political-radical-sympathizing child of academic hippies who feels more at home among artists in ski cabins than at literary-awards parties (even when she is an honoree). By Boris Kachka. In the early aughts, there was hardly a radio single that didn’t bear some trademark of producer Timbaland’s sound. Now, after a long time in the wilderness, he’s back at the mixing desk. By Jessica Pressler
Plus: Our critics select the best in movies, pop, books, art, theater, TV, and classical music.
On the Cover: Collage by Gluekit. Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos/New York Magazine (Timbaland, Louis-Dreyfus); Graeme Mitchell for New York Magazine (Kushner); Patrick McMullan (Johansson); Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic/Getty Images (West); Bella Lieberberg (Haim); Frank Ockenfels 3/Courtesy of AMC (Breaking Bad); Eric McCandless/Courtesy of ABC (Scandal); Courtesy of Netflix (Orange Is the New Black); Alex John Beck (Vampire Weekend); Courtesy of Warner Bros. (Her); Simon Annand (Rylance); Michael J. Lutch (Quinto); Daniel Daza/Courtesy of Roadside Attractions (Redford); Jaap Buitendijk (E); Merie W. Wallace/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures (Dern); Courtesy of Studio Ghibli (The Wind Rises); Richard Termine (The Marriage of Figaro); Francois Duhamel/Courtesy of Sony Pictures (American Hustle); Craig Blankenhorn/Courtesy of FX (Russell); Gomillion & Leupold/Courtesy of RCA Records (Fantasia).