The Best Of The Century

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Best Children's Book Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (1952)

The most lovable spider in literature befriends a hapless barnyard pig named Wilbur and launches a campaign to save him from becoming someone's meal. The webs Charlotte weaves are tangled and enchanting. RUNNERS-UP The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Best TV Show The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening (1989- )

Dazzlingly intelligent and unapologetically vulgar, the Simpsons have surpassed the humor, topicality and, yes, humanity of past TV greats. RUNNERS-UP The Mary Tyler Moore Show; The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite

Best Dance The Four Temperaments by George Balanchine (1946)

No plot, no set, no Look-Ma-I'm-a-swan costumes--just a stageful of virtuoso dancers who hurtle through angular steps and abstract poses that evoke a limitless universe of emotions. RUNNERS-UP Esplanade by Paul Taylor; Jardin aux Lilas by Antony Tudor

Best Film Citizen Kane, directed by and starring Orson Welles (1941)

Its power--a compound of rebel cheekiness, stylistic innovation and a tragicomic vision of media power--has never waned. It remains a work that seduces the young and inspires the old with thoughts of what the medium can achieve. RUNNERS-UP Day for Night by Francois Truffaut; Chinatown by Roman Polanski

Best Novel Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)

Exhaustively portraying the events of a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin, it has comic exuberance, encyclopedic inclusiveness and a virtuoso display of diverse narrative styles that make most subsequent novels look like spin-offs. RUNNERS-UP One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Best Nonfiction Book The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1974)

This scalding and historic expose of the vast Soviet prison network set up for dissidents made international headlines when it first appeared in the West. It also got its author kicked out of his homeland. RUNNERS-UP The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; The Double Helix by James Watson

Best Opera Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten (1945)

This tale of a troubled fisherman's fatal encounter with the bigoted residents of his seaside village is told with emotion and all-encompassing humanity by Britain's foremost composer. RUNNERS-UP Wozzeck by Alban Berg; Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini

Best Comedy Routine "Who's on First?" by Abbott and Costello (1938)

It's such a simple premise, and Abbott and Costello drive it about 20 ft. into the ground, but "Who's on First?" is not only the century's most famous comedy bit; it's also the best. It's absurdism mixed with the easy pleasure of confusion, and Bud Abbott plays the perfect cool logician to Lou Costello's frustrated inquisitor in this Beckettian farce. RUNNERS-UP "Dead Parrot," Monty Python; "Rope Tricks," Will Rogers

Best Song Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday (1939)

In this sad, shadowy song about lynching in the South, history's greatest jazz singer comes to terms with history itself. RUNNERS-UP Corcovado by Antonio C. Jobim; A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall by Bob Dylan

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