And the Most Fascinating Person of 2008 is ...

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The most searched-for celebrity online in '08 was Britney Spears.

But who will be unveiled as Barbara Walters' coveted, completely arbitrary Most Fascinating Person of the Year? Here's two hints:

  1. Britney Spears did not win this one, unfortch.
  2. It's one of the individuals pictured below ...
Michael Phelps Photo

Who's the most fascinating of these celebrities? Follow the jump to find out ...

It's Barack Obama!
Obama Family Portrait 2011

The first African-American to be elected president was an obvious choice, even up against the likes of Tom Cruise (#2) and his former Republican rival on the national political stage this year, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (#3).

Actor Frank Langella ranked #4 for his upcoming role as President Richard Nixon in Nixon/Frost. Barbara Walters, who used to be, like, a real journalist at one point, predicts he will nab an Oscar nomination for the role.

Thomas Beatie - a.k.a. the pregnant man - was No. 5.

The rest of the list was as follows: Rush Limbaugh (#6); Tina Fey (#7); Miley Cyrus (#8); the swimmer boyfriend of Caroline Pal (#9); Will Smith (#10).

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Tom Cruise Biography

Suri's First Crap
What's not to love about Tom Cruise? Well, potentially a lot of things. But all in all, he's a quality actor with dozens of good films on... More »
Born
Birthplace
Syracuse, New York
Full Name
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV

Tom Cruise Quotes

I was feeling pressed in the interview with Matt Lauer. For me, my issue was really about child drugging. It's not like it is today, like people are really kind of openly talking about this.

Tom Cruise [on Matt Lauer interview]

I can't even articulate it, to be honest. That feeling, that connection. Just who she is and what she means to me.

Tom Cruise [on feelings for Katie Holmes]