Director, actress and mom-of-six Angelina Jolie may top PEOPLE magazine’s list of 25 most intriguing people – but she isn’t the only newsmaker who made headlines in 2014.
On the big screen, Reese Witherspoon, 38, turned books into blockbuster hits (producing both Gone Girl and Wild) and Chris Pratt, 35, exploded into stardom with summer’s megahit Guardians of the Galaxy.
Meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey, 45, made a more than alright, alright, alright comeback in his Oscar-winning role in Dallas Buyers Club – and everyone’s BFF Jennifer Lawrence, 24, continued her leading-lady status in the high-grossing Hunger Games franchise.
And, of course, PEOPLE’s Most Beautiful cover girl Lupita Nyong’o, 31, effortlessly took the red carpet by storm during awards season – and took home an Oscar for her emotional role in 12 Years a Slave to boot!
On the small screen, Orange Is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, 30, made history as the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an acting Emmy.
TV titan Shonda Rhimes, 44, turned Thursday nights into ShondaLand, adding How to Get Away with Murder to a lineup that already included longtime hit Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. And 40-year-old Jimmy Fallon, who took over the hosting duties on The Tonight Show, became the king of late night with his post-prime time hilarity.
Behind the scenes, comedian and 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan, 46, is still bravely fighting to recover from the injuries sustained in a car crash in June.
And not-so-behind the scenes, hearts broke everywhere when London-based attorney Amal Alamuddin, 36, took longtime bachelor George Clooney, 53, off the market and became Mrs. Clooney during a glamorous September soirée.
PEOPLE also remembers beloved luminaries we lost in 2014, with friends and family sharing memories. Among them: The great Maya Angelou, who died on May 28 at the age of 86. Hillary Rodham Clinton paid tribute to the poet, author and activist, telling PEOPLE: “We’re a better country today because of Maya Angelou. Our country’s struggles, triumphs and progress over the past century are written all over her life.”
For more of the year’s most intriguing people, pick up the newest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.