It was a year in which the dominant cultural story was the sad, but eerily almost predictable drug-addled death of Michael Jackson. But there were a few good moments sprinkled in with the outrageous and the tawdry in 2009. My choices for cultural winners and losers this year:
Winner: Farrah Fawcett. Unlike Jackson, she fought and ultimately lost her battle with cancer with extraordinary grace, faith, and dignity.
Winner: "Up." The elite and the people agree that Pixar films are sublimely entertaining. The eight-minute montage near the beginning of this film sweetly chronicling a loving marriage moved millions to tears from coast to coast.
In fact, animated movies continued to earn massive box-office receipts. "Up" drew almost $300 million, "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" came very close to $200 million, and the offbeat "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" grossed more than $120 million.