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Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Female Stars Of 'Black Panther' & 'Crazy Rich Asians' Named 'EW' Entertainers Of the Year

Cardi B
Jora Frantzis for EW

Cardi B on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's 2018 Entertainers of the Year issue.

It should come as no surprise that Cardi B made the list for Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year tally. After all, the "Money" rapper dropped her smash Invasion of Privacy debut in April, announced her pregnancy on SNL, got married to Migos' Offset, had hits like "I Like It" and appeared on Maroon 5's smash "Girls Like You." For all of that and way more, the magazine dubs her a "full-on pop culture phenomenon" in their Dec. 7 issue.

Cardi shares a series of covers with the female stars of Crazy Rich Asians (Constance Wu, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh and Gemma Chan) and Black Panther (Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o and Letitia Wright), as well as honorees The Good Fight's Christine Baranski, Big Little Lies' Nicole Kidman, Queer Eye's Fab 5, married A Quiet Place co-stars John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), The Assassination of Gianni Versace star Darren Criss, quadruple threat writer/actor/rapper/director Donald Glover, A Star is Born co-stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and another 2018 supernova, Ariana Grande.

Some excerpts from the magazine's year-end honors:

Darren Criss: The 31 year-old former Glee star made headlines as the cunning killer Andrew Cunanan in FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace, an acting challenge Criss couldn't pass up. "I think my main interest playing someone like Andrew is, as much as we like to distance ourselves from people we put in the 'horrific' box, we have so much in common with these people," he said. Criss' cover story includes Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy explaining that he had to fight to get the actor his first major dramatic role. "I always knew he could do it," Murphy said.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga: Veteran actor Sam Elliott had a lot of nice things to say about his A Star is Born co-stars. "The number-one thing about Bradley Cooper right off the top that’s so clear is his intelligence," Elliott said. "It’s one thing to be an actor, a really good actor, but then to direct and to write and produce and bring all these other people to a piece and get it to a studio and get it sold and get all this energy behind it…he took this classic tale that’s been done and done and done and turned it into a modern version that just stands the ground today." 

Elliott dubbed Gaga a "brilliant artist in her own right. "On some level I feel like, who was the muse? Was it Bradley? As far as I’m concerned, he clearly was -- for everybody on the film, on both sides of the camera," said Elliott. "He’s the one who poured the energy into it, he’s the one that poured the light into this thing. He drew that same kind of energy from Stefani. I’ve always loved female singers, and she’s fascinating -- the nature of her talent is simply sublime. Both of them are completely fearless, and to see them work together is pretty mind-blowing. I’ve been around this business for 50 years, and it’s easy to get jaded. But making this movie was a transformative experience for me, and that’s because of who I got to work with."

Donald Glover: The Chi creator Lena Waithe recalled meeting Glover at the Creed premiere in 2015, where he let slip that he was working on a little show called Atlanta, which he really hoped people would dig. "I'm sure people are going to love it," she told him of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning FX series. Once the show debuted, Waithe said she remembers thinking, "'Nothing will ever be the same again,'" noting that Glover "gave us permission to be funny, dark, off the beaten path, and be our authentic selves in a way I hadn’t seen before. Atlanta also scared the f--- out of me -- and if other black artists are being honest, it scared the f--- out of them, too -- because what Donald did was he said, 'I’m going to make something that’s amazing and just also happens to be black.'" Glover has continued blowing minds, with Childish Gambino's provocative "This is America" video and starring roles in The Lion King and Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Ariana Grande: Good pal Troye Sivan described how Ari had a very rough 2018, rising above personal struggles to release the hit Sweetener album, which includes such instant-classics as "God is a Woman" and "No Tears Left to Cry." "For her to release an album, and to do it so effortlessly and successfully -- I think it comes down to her being absolutely genuine and connecting with people on a human-to-human level,” said Sivan, who collaborated with Grande on “Dance to This” in June and appears in her eagerly anticipated "Thank U, Next" video. “And then, of course, the music is just really, really, really undeniably good.”

Cardi B: The 26 year-old star said the birth of baby daughter Kulture Kiari in July was her "best memory" of the year, while her thrilling October performance at the American Music Awards was her professional highlight of 2018. “It was my first big performance on television after giving birth, and I just wanted people to see that I’m working my ass off,” she said of the skintight, glittery leotard and thigh-high boots she wore for the spirited run through "I Like It" “The rehearsals were long days and I had bruises on my body, but it came out so perfect. It was worth it.” The rapper said she's looking forward to doing "anything and everything" she can in 2019, boasting, "the only thing that'll stop me right now is time."

Check out all of the covers below.

Gemma Chan, Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina from "Crazy Rich Asians" on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's 2018 Entertainers of the Year issue. Ruven Afanador for EW
Darren Criss on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's 2018 Entertainers of the Year issue. Ruven Afanador for EW

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