Every year, social media giant Tumblr releases its year-end charts ranking the most popular topics of discussion on the site, and 2016’s top actors were none other than Sebastian Stan, Chris Evans, and Tom Hiddleston.
The ranking lists the top twenty actors who were tagged and posted about the most on Tumblr. The micro-blogging site, with its young, adaptable userbase and emphasis on rebloggable multimedia content, is often used as a haven for fandom activity; Tumblr users’ favorite actors reflect that.
The list of the top Tumblr actors of 2016 reads like a list of the most popular fandoms of Tumblr. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is well-represented, with Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Chris Evans (Captain America), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) taking the top three honors. Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Marvel newcomer Doctor Strange, and Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds also round out the top 20 of Tumblr favorites.
Of the top actresses on Tumblr, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) also represented the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cate Blanchett, who starred in Tumblr favorite Carol, will also be joining the MCU soon as a member of the cast of Thor: Ragnarok.
There is a heavy correlation between the top actors and actresses on Tumblr and the most-discussed films, books, and television series. Superhero films make up six of the 20 top films on the list: Captain America: Civil War takes the top slot, followed later by Deadpool, Suicide Squad, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Doctor Strange.
While many Marvel films and actors were popular on Tumblr, Captain America: Civil War and its actors and characters had the most cross-list appeal. Captain America: Civil War not only took the top slots in Tumblr’s list of top actors and films, but it also made an appearance on the list of Tumblr’s top ships.
“Ships,” in this instance, does not refer to nautical terminology. The word is a shortened version of “relationship,” and is a popular term on Tumblr and other sites used by fans to refer to hypothetical or real relationships. A fan who “ships” two characters together might reblog pictures of them on Tumblr or write fanfiction about their relationship.
While Captain America: Civil War did not have the most popular Tumblr ship of 2016, the pairing of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes came in at number eight and rose in popularity by one slot over last year’s position.
The DC Extended Universe, while popular among the list of top films on Tumblr, did not make as much of a splash in the lists of top actors and ships. Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and Jared Leto (the Joker) are the only actors from the films to chart on Tumblr’s lists. No ship from the DC Extended Universe appears on the list of top Tumblr ships.
The other huge film of 2016 on Tumblr was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Stars Daisey Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, and John Boyega all ranked on the lists of top Tumblr actresses and actors. The film came in at number three on Tumblr’s list of top films, and The Force Awakens spawned two entries on the list of top Tumblr ships: Kylo Ren/General Hux and Kylo Ren/Rey, both of which had never made an appearance on the list before.
The list of most popular films on Tumblr also heavily skewed towards newer films: of the 20 most popular movies, only three had been released prior to 2014. Frozen (2013), How to Train Your Dragon(2010, with a sequel in 2014), and the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003, followed by The Hobbit films in 2012-2014) were the oldest entries on the list.
The rest of the Tumblr top actor list also heavily features Supernatural actors, which is fitting considering the show is the most popular show on Tumblr. All three stars of Supernatural (Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, and Jensen Ackles) made the list, and a ship from the show between Ackles’ and Collins’ characters was the fourth most popular ship on Tumblr.
While Tumblr users as a whole are an eclectic bunch with a huge range of interests, the top fandoms on the site generally share some traits. The top films are mostly huge action or superhero blockbusters, the top television shows mostly share science fiction or fantasy elements, and Tumblr’s favorite actors and actresses are the ones who appear in their favorite media and ships.
There is also a high amount of turnover among Tumblr’s favorites: between a quarter and a half of the entries on each list were not on the lists in 2015. How many of the top Tumblr movies are your favorites?
[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]