In the 365-day hailstorm of increasingly disturbing news that was 2018, perhaps the lone bright spot was the uptick in charmingly light-hearted celebrity content that filled Instagram feeds. Among these new and notable Insta users were Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Tom Cruise, as well as many other A-listers who quickly realized the benefits that come with an Instagram account, in terms of both increased publicity for their latest projects and the ability to endear themselves and their many quirks to a whole new audience of followers.
Still, some of these Instagram newbies mastered the app more thoroughly than others: Roberts, for example, issued a deliciously savage clapback in the comments of one of her posts mere weeks into her time on the ‘Gram, while Cruise still has yet to post anything not directly related to Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Here, then, is a very official ranking of the Instagram debuts of every major celebrity who logged on in 2018.
10. Jake Gyllenhaal: 1 million followers
Joined: December 5, 2018, with a video of him “realizing” he won’t be playing a hero in the next Spider-Man movie. The video was viewed more than 2.7 million times and received 563,000 likes.
Best post(s): Sadly, in his two weeks on Instagram, Gyllenhaal has only posted thrice. Besides the clip confirming his joining the extended Marvel universe, he also shared a video of him singing a song from Sunday in the Park With George with Annaleigh Ashford—after inhaling several large gulps of helium—and an expertly edited photo of him in his Mysterio mask, Hugh Jackman in his Wolverine hair and nails, and Ryan Reynolds in full Deadpool cosplay. Judging by the production value and attention to detail in his single row of posts, Gyllenhaal is going for quality over quantity. Admirable, to be sure, but not what we’re looking for from our celebrity Insta follows. Do less, Jake! (But post more!)
Grade: 0/10 Mysterio costumes (at least, until we have more #Gyllenposts to analyze)
9. Tom Cruise: 2.8 million followers
Joined: January 25, 2018, with a black and white shot of an equally black and white clapboard for Mission: Impossible — Fallout. “Get ready,” he wrote, hashtagging the film’s title and garnering a respectable 150,000 likes.
Best post(s): As previously mentioned, all 35 of Cruise’s posts in 2018 revolve around a certain excessively punctuated action film, sadly offering little to no insight into his offscreen life. Still, his behind-the-scenes looks at the many stunts he performed in the movie were undeniably impressive, as was the one pun he made throughout the PR push: “Dropping in,” he captioned a shot of him jumping out of a plane, simultaneously teasing the movie’s then-impending “drop” into theaters. Good one, Tom.
Grade: 1/10 HALO jumps
8. Demi Moore: 124,000 followers
Joined: October 12, 2018, with a video, addressed to Stella McCartney, in which she showed off the dress she wore to Princess Eugenie’s royal wedding. Moore admitted that her daughters had been pressuring her to “get into the InstaSwing,” and received almost 461,000 likes on the post.
Best post(s): With only 14 posts on her page, Moore still has a ways to go before she’s really in the InstaSwing, but that hasn’t stopped her from posting a few valuable pieces of pet content and, most importantly, a truly mesmerizing video of her wearing a paper crown and dancing along to the music at a Medieval Times.
Grade: 2/10 excessively filtered voting selfies
7. Joe Biden: 1.1 million followers
Joined: September 6, 2018, with a carousel of photos honoring a group of wounded veterans who walked across the entire country. The photo was technically his “return” to Instagram since retiring the @VP44 handle, but his first personal post received almost 300,000 likes.
Best post(s): The former VP only has nine posts so far, nearly all of them as serious and inspiring as his first upload, all of which have helped further the rumors that he’ll be throwing his hat in the ring for the presidency in 2020. But if you avoid politics at all costs on the ‘Gram, here’s a very cute dog instead.
Grade: 4/10 beaded friendship bracelets
6. Princess Eugenie: 626,000 followers
Joined: March 8, 2018, with a video of her speaking on behalf of scoliosis research at We Day. Her debut coincided with International Women’s Day, and earned 404,000 likes.
Best post(s): As the only member of the British royal family with a personal Instagram account, Eugenie’s page is a treasure trove for royals fans. Come for the glamorous photos from her October wedding to Jack Brooksbank, stay for the maybe-royal-etiquette-defying shot of her dad, Prince Andrew, in Buckingham Palace. But, most of all, prepare to double-tap any and all throwback photos of Eugenie’s “really cool” childhood as a cotton candy-scarfing little princess. [#instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnrBUHrlWc8/[ Grade: 5/10 show-stealing fascinators
5. Natalie Portman: 3.4 million followers
Joined: January 1, 2018, with a trio of Time’s Up-related posts, each of which garnered about 20,000 likes. “Everyone’s resolution for the year: No more accepting sexual harassment and inequality at work as normal. It’s not normal,” she captioned the first.
Best post(s): Since joining Instagram at the beginning of the year, Portman has become a prolific poster, focusing primarily on sharing empowering and feminist imagery, fact sheets, and memes. That said, her back-to-back posts in honor of Star Wars Day—including a clip of her demand on a recent episode of SNL to “say something ‘bout the motherf*&%ng prequels, bitch”—offered a much-needed dose of levity to our feeds.
Grade: 6/10 Jar Jar Binkses
4. Rose Byrne: 92,000 followers
Joined: July 9, 2018, with a joyous selfie announcing that she’d “caved” and joined the masses on the app. Mysteriously, the photo received barely 7,500 likes.
Best post(s): Contrary to her downright disappointing follower count, Byrne is already quite the expert at giving the people what they want. Keep an eye out for her regular #TBTs, which always arrive alongside a hilariously deadpan caption. But we would be remiss not to highlight Byrne’s absolutely excellent (and, presumably, wine-fueled) attempt at rapping, with Tiffany Haddish and Salma Hayek as her audience. Get Byrne a Grammy! And several million more followers!
Grade: 7/10 Nicolas Cage farts
3. Nicole Kidman: 2.6 million followers
Joined: January 8, 2018, with a photo of her “shutting the place down” after the Golden Globes. She also included a reference to the Time’s Up movement, and earned nearly 165,000 likes, on top of the two awards she took home that night.
Best post(s): Sure, it’s nice to get an inside look at Kidman’s sweet relationship with husband Keith Urban, but let’s face it: The real highlight of her profile is the self-described “cat girl’s” steady stream of adorable animal photos. Topping the list, thanks in large part to an impeccable pun, is a recent snapshot of one of her cats staring moodily out from under the Christmas tree.
Grade: 8/10 “gooooddddd” puppies
2. Julia Roberts: 4 million followers
Joined: June 26, 2018, with a cheerful photo of her sitting underneath a tree. The photo was captioned with a simple “Hello,” and received more than 378,000 likes.
Best post(s): As delightful as her many, many throwbacks to her Pretty Woman and Ocean’s Twelve days may be, Roberts’s undying love of mahjong—whether she’s playing with niece Emma Roberts or receiving birthday gifts wrapped in mahjong-themed paper—cement her status as everybody’s favorite Cool Aunt.
Grade: 10/10 “ugly” nail polish emojis
1. Macaulay “Instagram” Culkin: 563,000 followers
Joined: March 2, 2018, with a selfie taken during an appearance on The Tonight Show. In the photo, he and Jimmy Fallon both wear bunny ears—a common motif throughout the @culkamania experience—earning them just under 60,000 likes.
Best post(s): Beside’s Culkin’s regular references to rabbits (he runs a lifestyle blog called “Bunny Ears“), the child star has also launched several more immensely successful recurring Insta-series. In March, he dressed up in a tux and live-Instagrammed the Oscars—without attending or even watching them. Additionally, from time to time, he’ll carefully arrange full outfits around his home in hopes of tricking his friends into thinking the rapture has arrived and stolen his body straight out of his clothes. At least they’ll now be prepared when “#RaptureTuesday” actually does roll around. [#https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf7KPArHPoG/] Grade: 11/10 customized bunny-ear headbands