Survival of the fittest ? the new trend? -- We take a look at the stars and the biggest hits of the year

By EW Staff
December 23, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

He didn’t rap, he didn’t wield a sword, and he didn’t play the leader of the free world, but if the year 2000 had an Entertainer of the Year emeritus, it would have to be…Charles Darwin. Yep, that Darwin, the ”survival of the fittest” guy. Maybe it had something to do with the turn of the century, but the entertainment that had us roaring with approval this year seemed to return over and over to the same theme: the elemental human struggle to survive. The showbiz images of 2000 are almost exclusively images of war: Gladiator‘s Russell Crowe, bruised and bloody, fighting for his life in the Roman arena. Survivor‘s Richard Hatch outfoxing rats and snakes to become the prime-time king of Pulau Tiga. The cast of The West Wing, outfoxing rats and snakes inside the Beltway. Eminem turning his hostility into a kind of primal-scream theater. Warriors soaring to triumph in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Ellen Burstyn sinking to defeat in Requiem for a Dream. Even boy bands like ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys seemed to be locked in mortal combat to conquer the Billboard pop charts. In fact, choosing EW’s 12 Entertainers of the Year was itself a pitched battle, but we think you’ll find our selections perfectly natural…