TORO has been covering the beautiful and talented women of the world for years. For all the guys who feel left out, we celebrate all that can be done by the stronger, dumber sex. To close 2012, we've created a list of the 10 most influential, or otherwise fascinating dudes of note.

David Axelrod, Political Strategist


Campaign strategists are the unsung heroes of politics. Candidates may run in campaigns, but these guys win them — or don’t, with about the same amount of recognition either way. Democrats and Republicans alike should stand in awe of the work of David Axelrod, who helped counter four years of particularly relentless, almost conspiratorial opposition to Barack Obama and led the Dems to their most important victory in years. Axelrod has since put aside his career as an operative, fittingly, since he’s already pulled off the unimaginable twice.

Felix Baumgartner, Daredevil


Every year it gets a little harder to defy the limits of human endurance. How much faster can one man go? How closer can he get to the brink of death without quite going over? This year Austrian stuntman / daredevil Felix Baumgartner provided the most stunning individual physical achievement, free-falling from 39 kilometres above the Earth. Among other records he became the first person to break the sound barrier without mechanical aid, essentially becoming the closest thing we’ve ever seen to a human rocket.

Mark Carney, Future Governor of the Bank of England


As 2012 comes to a close few people may be in the mood to celebrate the achievements of financial eggheads, but there’s no denying the genius of Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney. He is a man with an uncharacteristically acute vision of an increasingly convoluted economic system, who helped keep Canada free from the most devastating effects of the post-2008 global financial crisis. Next June he will become the first non-Brit to govern the Bank of England since its formation four centuries ago. Let’s hope he can work the same magic for them. 

Louis CK, Comedian


“[My success] is not gonna last, I’ve got a year left,” Louis CK joked in his 2011 special Live at the Beacon Theater. While the comedian has put his groundbreaking series Louie on hold and become less visible than he was, say, six months ago, there’s no reason to believe he’s reached a career peak. Louie concluded its third season on a high note, wrapping an incredible three-episode Late Night narrative arc / middle finger to David Letterman and ending with its hero’s surreal New Year’s Eve in China. Now touring new material CK will remain the most important name in stand-up well into next year.

Erik Martin, Website Manager


Reddit dot com bills itself as the “Front page of the internet,” and with each passing month that’s starting to sound less and less like a baseless boast. While it’s far from the most popular of websites its format and general purpose — to collect and pass interesting, if usually mindless, third-party content between users — are gradually becoming internet standards, particularly for younger demographics. Along with BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti, Reddit GM Erik Martin is the new face of online activity that is increasingly favouring user-approved viral material over original content. 

Frank Ocean, Musician


There was speculation about Frank Ocean’s personal life before July of this year, when the singer posted a letter online confirming his bisexuality, but his confession still came as a shock to most. For an R&B / hip hop artist — let alone one affiliated with a group as controversial as Odd Future — to come out publicly felt like an immediate, enormous leap forward for the musical community. But the weight of Ocean’s revelation wouldn’t have meant much if his music didn’t back it up and Channel Orange was undoubtedly the most critically beloved album of the year, and its Billboard Top 10 debut indicates that openness of sex preference is far from the commercial suicide it once may have been.

Tom Tancredo et al., Reformers


An American politician defying the stance of his party is something like a double rainbow — it happens, but so rarely it can create some truly stunned reactions. So kudos for all those conservatives, most notably Colorado representative Tom Tancredo, who support helped pass that state’s Amendment 64, allowing the legalization of marijuana. For us Canucks it’s bittersweet — when it comes to drug policy we are now somehow less liberal than Colorado — but the amendment has undoubtedly changed the debate on pot for the better.

The Toronto Argos, Athletes


Yes, Usain Bolt defended Olympic medals and LeBron James won an NBA title but for us, we look homeward. 
Toronto fans are some of the most loyal and supportive in sports, but their teams don’t always pay back that loyalty. For Argos fans that all changed this year; after several increasingly dismal seasons, the once-great franchise roared back from the dead and took the 100th Grey Cup series away from the Calgary Stampeders. Much of that was owed to quarterback Ricky Ray, but of course it would be wrong not to include the entire team as our collective choice for Athletes of the Year.

Ai Weiwei, Artist and Activist


Artists rarely if ever directly create political reform, but they have a much more vulnerable role as representatives, and voices, who work without the protection of parties and power. Since his incarceration and release by Chinese authorities in 2011, multidisciplinary artist Ai Weiwei has earned his place as one of the art world’s most important voices of change. While his most visible project this year, a parody video of “Gangnam Style,” was maybe a bit too cheeky a film about Weiwei’s life — subtitled Never Sorry — helped bring his story to the world at large. It is one of the most acclaimed documentaries of the year, a definite Oscar front-runner.

Joss Whedon, Filmmaker  


Before writing and directing The Avengers, currently the highest-grossing non-James Cameron movie of all time, Joss Whedon was still something of a cult figure, a guy who’d created some beloved TV franchises — Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Firefly chief among them — but was still far from a bankable talent. Now, with only three feature credits to his name including the upcoming indie-Shakespeare project Much Ado About Nothing, he’s become the most fascinating filmmaker in Hollywood. Fully capable of balancing major studio work with personal projects and retaining his own unique sensibility no matter what the budget, Whedon is a Terry Gilliam-level movie artist with the clout of Spielberg.

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