The GQ Men of the Year awards: why Tony Blair and co really won

The magazine’s annual awards ceremony honoured a peculiar mix of blokes. Were these chaps really the best in their respective fields? Were they even close?

In a brutal kick in the teeth for those of us who were planning on doing our best work in November and December, GQ has announced its Men of the Year, and the final list is a peculiar mix of the annoying, the half-decent and the Men Who Haven’t, On the Face of It, Had a Particularly Good Year At All. Here’s an alternative guide to some of GQ’s winners.

Pharrell Williams – solo artist of the year

There’s a strong argument that anybody who was even vaguely involved with Blurred Lines, let alone its chief architect, should never be honoured for anything they do in music ever again; that you could drop a genre-blitzing all-time classic, melding The White Album with Enter The Wu Tang and still be dismissed with a simple, “Yeah, but … Robin Thicke.” Yes, it has been another good year for Pharrell doing what Pharrell does, but if pop is all about being entertaining, then surely a more deserving solo artist of the year would be Thicke himself, whose painfully public career apocalypse has been one of the most hilarious and richly deserved in pop history?

Pharrell Williams with Kanye West and Lewis Hamilton at the GQ Men of the Year awards
Pharrell Williams with Kanye West and Lewis Hamilton at the GQ Men of the Year awards Photograph: Richard Young /REX

John Bishop – comedian of the year

Really? We ask again, really, GQ? Given the huge wealth of comic talent at our nation’s disposal, the best we can offer up for celebration is a man with the most annoying delivery since England’s one-day bowling attack, the first major graduate of the Michael McIntyre School Of Saying Unfunny Things In A Voice That Suggests They Are Funny And Hoping People Don’t Notice That They’re Not. For shame.

Tony Blair – philanthropist of the year

If we can accept the idea that at the start of every new year one’s moral slate is wiped completely clean and we are absolved of previous sins, then Tony has been up to a lot of good, establishing charities both local and international, and continuing to act as a peace envoy in the Middle East, a role in which, we’d argue, he is only enjoying limited success. There are some, of course, who’d counter that such concerted goodliness could only be the actions of a very guilty man. Indeed, one of the people to express their disbelief at his award is Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker - and when he’s bussin’ off shots at you, you know you’re in trouble.

Apparently, Tony Blair has won GQ's philanthropist of the year award. Finally these awards have grasped irony!

— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 2, 2014

Lewis Hamiltonsportsman of the year

A profoundly peculiar choice for the sportsman of the year, this, given that Lewis continues to lag behind his team-mate Nico Rosberg in the Drivers’ Championship and regularly sulk about it in public. Considering that he has his own personal parking space at Asda, we’d argue that Lewis doesn’t need any more awards, but since he has had this one bestowed upon him for a year of meh, we’d like to throw in the England World Cup squad in there as an alternative.

Benedict Cumberbatch – actor of the year

You can’t knock his hustle, neither on the small screen, nor increasingly on the big screen, where he’ll soon be playing a dragon again in the final instalment of The Hobbit and criminalising it up opposite Johnny Depp in Black Mass, the story of the Bulger mob. But my beef with Benedict is quite simply that he perpetuates the posh British male totty archetype, with his fringes and his cheekbones and his names like “Benedict” and “Cumberbatch” an archetype that normal menfolk simply cannot live up to.


Pete Cashmore

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, Lassie and Tony Blair: here to save the world
Marina Hyde: As if we needed a definitive sign that the humanitarian-awards industry was out of control, the former prime minister receives a gong from Save the Children. Where will the madness end?

Marina Hyde

27, Nov, 2014 @2:40 PM

Article image
Alastair Campbell outlasts Tony Blair in bad sex awards
Former spin doctor beats off stiff competition from ex-PM to reach shortlist for prize honouring clumsy prose about coitus

Richard Lea

18, Nov, 2010 @6:01 PM

Article image
Who will win Lost in Showbiz's awards for 2012?

John Travolta, JLS, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles – the celebrities line up for the inaugural LiS awards

Alexis Petridis

20, Dec, 2012 @7:20 PM

Article image
Tony Blair announces faith film awards

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is to set up its own awards for films that improve understanding between religions. Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe takes a leap of faith with the Lib Dems

Catherine Shoard

22, Mar, 2010 @11:14 AM

Article image
How Tony Blair was taken into the Murdoch family fold
Wendi Deng reveals link in a magazine interview where she describes the ex-PM as one of her husband's 'closest friends'

Dan Sabbagh

05, Sep, 2011 @12:04 AM

Article image
David Cameron's Cool Britannia knees-up: will anyone want to go?

The PM's bash to celebrate the best of British entertainment might seem like a weak cover version of Tony Blair's infamous shindig. So who might be washing their hair that night, asks Dorian Lynskey

Dorian Lynskey

09, Jun, 2014 @4:04 PM

Article image
Kerrang! awards 2012: You Me at Six lead nominations
Justin Bieber and Lou Reed listed in villain of the year category

Sean Michaels

02, May, 2012 @10:20 AM

Article image
Annie Leibovitz on the shots that made her
She captured America’s most tumultuous moments and its biggest stars. The great photographer relives her Rolling Stone years – and the time she set fire to Patti Smith

Jordan Riefe

31, Mar, 2019 @2:25 PM

Article image
Miley Cyrus and her pig: how to pose on a magazine cover with animals
Non-human cover stars are two-a-penny in the publishing industry. Just check out Miley with Bubba Sue on the new issue of Paper magazine. But, as many celebrities past and present show, you have to pick your companion with care…

Morwenna Ferrier

09, Jun, 2015 @1:51 PM

Article image
Cate Blanchett attacks media over awards ceremony frock coverage
The Australian actor reiterates her distaste for fashion-focused interviews with female stars on red carpets before awards

Ben Child

14, Apr, 2015 @12:18 PM