It’s time again for my annual awards, a tradition that has been in place since 2005.

TV Show: Breaking Bad
Honorable Mention: Homeland, Orange Is the New Black, Shameless, Arrested Development

breaking-badWithout any question whatsoever, the best TV show of the year was Breaking Bad on AMC, which ended its run in October. I can’t say I had been there since the beginning, but we were following along with the suspense the final two seasons. Walter White was even my Halloween costume this year. Thankfully there is to be a prequel spinoff sometime in 2014!

Previous Winners: Homeland (2012), Friday Night Lights (2011), 30 Rock (2010), Dexter (2008-2009), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2007), The Office (2006), Arrested Development (2005)

Movie: The World’s End
Honorable Mention: 42

worlds-endThis is a very difficult category with a largely undeserving winner, because as far as I can remember I only saw three movies that came out in 2013: 42, The World’s End and Jobs. We went to Argo a second time, and I may have also seen Django Unchained this year, but both officially came out in 2012 so that doesn’t count. Jobs was one of the worst movies I’ve ever paid to see in a theater, so that left only two movies standing. The World’s End was pretty funny, but didn’t quite live up to the hilarity of other Simon Pegg movies.

Previous winners: Argo (2012), Moneyball (2011), Cyrus (2010, again by default), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Milk (2008), Superbad & Into the Wild (2007), Clerks II (2006), Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (2005)

Music Artist: Eric Church
Honorable Mention: Darius Rucker, George Strait, Jason Aldean

eric_church1For the third straight year, country star Eric Church is my favorite musician of the year. I don’t think he necessarily had much new material this year aside from the release of a live album, but he still stood out more than any other current singer. His would be one of the very few concerts I’d pay to see right now.

Previous winners: Eric Church (2012), Eric Church/Jason Aldean/Blake Shelton (co-winners, 2011), Darius Rucker (2010, 2009, 2008), Smashing Pumpkins (2007), Meat Loaf (2006), Weezer (2005)

Song: Wagon Wheel, Darius Rucker
Honorable Mention: “We Were Us”, Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert; “Sunny and 75”, Joe Nichols; “Redneck Crazy”, Tyler Farr; “1994”, Jason Aldean

darius-ruckerThe song that jumps out to me as being the most memorable of 2013 is a remake of one that was recorded about ten years earlier by Bob Dylan. Darius Rucker’s cover of “Wagon Wheel” jumped to #1 on the Billboard chart on April 13, and I never really got tired of hearing it on the radio.

Previous Winners: “Springsteen” Eric Church (2012), “Beer In My Hand” Eric Church (2011), “It Felt Good On My Lips” Tim McGraw (2010), “Roll With Me” Montgomery Gentry (2009), “What Kinda Gone” Chris Cagle (2008), “Another Cup of Tea” Tuesdays Robot (2007), “You’re Beautiful” James Blunt (2006), “Nothin’ To Lose” Josh Gracin (2005)

Actor/Actress: Bryan Cranston, Emmy Rossum
Honorable Mention: Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Taylor Schilling

emmy rossum 4My top acting spot of the year, by no surprise, goes to the man who played Walter White on Breaking Bad, which is such a 180 from his old character on Malcolm in the Middle or even his recurring role on How I Met Your Mother. Clearly this guy is a very versatile actor! Top actress honors go to Emmy Rossum, the star of Showtime’s Shameless, which I picked up this year and instantly became a fan, though I am the only one in the house who feels this way.

Previous Actor Winners: John Goodman (2012), Nick Offerman (2011), Michael C. Hall (2010, 2009), Sacha Baron Cohen (2006), Jeffrey Tambor (2005)
Previous Actress Winners: Yvonne Strahovski (2012), Connie Britton (2011), Portia de Rossi (2005)

Athlete: Philip Rivers, Chargers
Honorable Mention: Kevin Love, Jared Allen, Glen Perkins

riversIn what was another pathetic year for Minnesota sports, I went with my old favorite football squad and its quarterback who should be in consideration for Comeback of the Year. Philip Rivers went from interception machine to the league’s most accurate passer in 2013 under new coach Mike McCoy, and if it weren’t for five bizarre late-game meltdowns, the Chargers could be 12-2 right now instead of 7-7. Normally a Minnesota team athlete would win here, but the Twins were atrocious, the Timberwolves were injured and underachievers, and the Vikings went from the playoffs to a 4-win team.

Previous Winners: Josh Willingham and Adrian Peterson (2012), Jim Thome (2011), Kevin Love (2010), Joe Mauer (2009), Torii Hunter (2007), Johan Santana (2006), Luis Rodriguez (2005)

Bar: The Water Tank
Honorable Mention: Common Interest, Pour House, Little Woodrow’s

watertankYou are not going to walk into the Water Tank and mistake this for a nice place. It is a dump. But they have cheap drinks and karaoke five nights a week, oftentimes with very short singing queues. Plus it’s only a mile and a half from home, making it convenient. Best over-pours in town!

Previous Winners: Midnight Cowboy (2012), Eastern Standard (2011), Green Mill (2010), Chatterbox Pub (2006)

Restaurant: Franklin BBQ
Honorable Mention: Torchy’s, Chuy’s, Royal Indian, Jardin Corona

Franklin-BBQ2The restaurants mentioned here are all in the $ – $$ range and are not to be confused with really great places that require reservations. Franklin BBQ of Austin makes you stand in a really long line starting at sun-up if you even want to be served any barbequed meats, but in my two experiences this year it is SO worth it. There are a lot of great BBQ places in town, and if you really aren’t into standing in long lines, you can get damn good food in several other area places, but somehow no one does it quite as good as Franklin’s. I’ll definitely be taking out-of-town guests here in the future if they’re up for standing in place for several hours.

Previous Winners: Franklin BBQ (2012), Torchy’s, Fogo de Chao (2011), Buffalo Wild Wings (2006), Hu Hot Mongolian Grill (2005)

Karaoke Song: Dammit Janet (performed 5 times in public)
Honorable Mentions: Rock Me Amadeus (4), Hey Jealousy (4)

It turned out my best, most popular karaoke choice of the year was a song from the 1975 musical Rocky Horror Picture Show. I first performed this at Battle of the Sexes night at karaoke league, doing both male and female vocals while quickly changing costume. Oldie but a goodie, and a great crowd-pleaser.