GQ's 25 Most Popular Stories of 2020

The Editors of GQ
·10 min read
New York City, April 2020.
New York City, April 2020.
Kena Betancur / Getty Images

1. Where to Buy Face Masks Online Right Now

By Rachel Tashjian, Sam Schube and Daniel Varghese

No surprises here, given the year. We all need to wear masks—so here's a running list of designers producing them.

Robert Pattinson self-portrait, taken in April while in isolation in London.
Robert Pattinson self-portrait, taken in April while in isolation in London.
Coat, $1,430, shirt, $900, and pants, $775, by Craig Green / Boots, $1,400, by Dior Men

2. Robert Pattinson on Being Batman, "Tenet," and Life in Isolation

By Zach Baron

Nobody in Hollywood is more suited to thriving during lockdown than Robert Pattinson, the once reluctant movie star who’s stepping back into the spotlight with a new Christopher Nolan blockbuster and then The Batman. That is, if he can find his phone. Or turn on his computer. Or keep from burning down his kitchen.

<cite class="credit">Photo Illustration by C.J. Robinson</cite>
Photo Illustration by C.J. Robinson

3.The Mystery of the Immaculate Concussion

By Julia Ioffe

He was a senior CIA official tasked with getting tough on Russia. Then, one night in Moscow, Marc Polymeropoulos's life changed forever. He says he was hit with a mysterious weapon, joining dozens of American diplomats and spies who believe they’ve been targeted with this secret device all over the world—and even at home, on U.S. soil. Now, as a CIA investigation points the blame at Russia, the victims are left wondering why so little is being done by the Trump administration.

Kanye West at his own West Lake Ranch outside Cody, Wyoming.
Kanye West at his own West Lake Ranch outside Cody, Wyoming.
Coat, $2,193, by Rochas / Jacket, $3,095, by Dunhill / His own t-shirt, by Yeezy / Jeans, $198, by Denim Tears x Levi’s / Shoes, $135, by Birkenstock / His own sunglasses (throughout), by Oliver Peoples / His own watch (throughout), by Ikepod / His own rings (throughout), by Cartier

4. Kanye West on His Next Album, Designing Yeezy, and Kobe Bryant

By Will Welch

First he changed the sound of popular music. Then he revolutionized fashion and sneakers. Now, Kanye West is redesigning the very building blocks of family life—food, clothing, and shelter—and he’s claimed thousands of acres in Wyoming as a test site for his ideas. We followed West from Cody to Calabasas, and from Cabo San Lucas to Paris, to see it all firsthand—and to talk to him about his next album, his “altered ego,” and his renewed faith in God.

<h1 class="title">daniel-craig-gq-cover-april-2020-lede.jpg</h1><cite class="credit">Jeans, $98, from Front General Store / Bracelet, $7,200, by Tiffany & Co.</cite>

daniel-craig-gq-cover-april-2020-lede.jpg

Jeans, $98, from Front General Store / Bracelet, $7,200, by Tiffany & Co.

5. Best James Bond Yet: Daniel Craig on "No Time to Die" and How He Changed 007 Forever

By Sam Knight

For our money, he's the best Bond yet—a searching soulful actor who managed to turn the campy secret agent into a three-dimensional character. Now as the world gears up for Daniel Craig's final film as 007 nears, he offers some rare reflection on the franchise he redefined and the icon he reimagined.

<cite class="credit">Sweater, $890, by Gucci</cite>
Sweater, $890, by Gucci

6. The Making (and Remaking) of Timothée Chalamet

By Daniel Riley

He found superstardom and artistic acclaim instantaneously. Now, with unique candor, the actor of a generation reveals what it’s like to come of age in our very upside-down era.

<cite class="credit">Vest, $1,195, and pants, $695, by Giorgio Armani / Shirt, $485, by Givenchy</cite>
Vest, $1,195, and pants, $695, by Giorgio Armani / Shirt, $485, by Givenchy

7. The Big Buscemi

By Gabriella Paiella

Steve Buscemi has seen it all. He was hit by a car and a bus as a kid, was once stabbed in a bar fight, volunteered as a firefighter during 9/11, and somewhere along the way became one of the most accomplished film actors of his generation. And then tragedy struck: In 2019, Buscemi lost his wife of over 30 years. In a rare interview, Hollywood's most beloved misfit opens up about anxiety, loss, and the hard work of getting through it all.

All clothes, shoes, and accessories, his own
All clothes, shoes, and accessories, his own
Suit, by Emporio Armani / Shoes, by Giorgio Armani / Watch, by Omega

8. George Clooney on His Brush with Death, Picking Proper Fights, and Turning into a Wife Guy

By Zach Baron

The actor, director, and GQ Icon of the Year is the one thing we can all agree on—at a time when we can’t agree on anything.

<cite class="credit"><strong>Illustration by Paul Lacolley</strong></cite>
Illustration by Paul Lacolley

9. The Great Buenos Aires Bank Heist

By Josh Dean

They were an all-star crew. They cooked up the perfect plan. And when they pulled off the caper of the century, it made them more than a fortune—it made them folk heroes.

<h1 class="title">ChrisMatthewsBadBoy.jpg</h1><cite class="credit">simon abranowicz</cite>

ChrisMatthewsBadBoy.jpg

simon abranowicz

10. Like Warren, I Had My Own Sexist Run-In with Chris Matthews

By Laura Bassett

The (now-former) Hardball anchor frequently demeans women guests with objectifying and belittling comments, both on and off air.

<h1 class="title">JAPAN-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS</h1><cite class="credit">STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES</cite>

JAPAN-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS

STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

11. Inside the Diamond Princess, the Coronavirus-Infected Cruise Ship on a Nightmare Voyage

By Doug Bock Clark

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, one ill-fated cruise ship became a symbol for the panic and confusion that would soon engulf the globe. Doug Bock Clark uncovers what two harrowing weeks trapped aboard the ocean liner felt like—for unsuspecting tourists, for frightened crew members, even for the captain himself.

ALL CLOTHES LARRY&#39;S OWN.
ALL CLOTHES LARRY'S OWN.
Left: Jacket, by Giorgio Armani / Sweater, by Billy Reid / Glasses (throughout), by Oliver Peoples | Right: Hoodie, by Theory / Shirt, by Rag & Bone / Pants, by Ermenegildo Zegna

12. Larry David: The Incredibly Happy Life of TV's Favorite Grouch

By Brett Martin

We venture into the peculiar alternate reality of Larry David and begin to wonder: Is the world's most infamously neurotic man actually its most self-actualized?

Jaron Lanier, photographed at home with a decades-old lens from an augmented-reality headset.

jaron-lanier-gq-september-2020-lede.jpg

Jaron Lanier, photographed at home with a decades-old lens from an augmented-reality headset.

13. Why Facebook Is Bad, Twitter Might Be a Little Bit Good, and Social Media Is Rotting Our Brains

By Zach Baron

Tech oracle Jaron Lanier warned us all about the evils of social media. Too few of us listened. Now, in the most chaotic of moments, his fears—and his bighearted solutions—are more urgent than ever.

<cite class="credit">Robe, $2,995, by Turnbull & Asser / Tank top (throughout) $990, by Tom Ford / Jeans, $88, by Levi’s / Sunglasses (throughout), $360, by Moscot / Necklace (throughout), $185, by Miansai</cite>
Robe, $2,995, by Turnbull & Asser / Tank top (throughout) $990, by Tom Ford / Jeans, $88, by Levi’s / Sunglasses (throughout), $360, by Moscot / Necklace (throughout), $185, by Miansai

14. Brooks Koepka, the World's Best Golfer, Has Some Issues With Golf

By Daniel Riley

Koepka is collecting majors at a record clip while upending the tour's social norms, wearing Off-White on the course—and making clear he wouldn't mind changing the game forever.

<cite class="credit">Illustration by Simon Abranowicz</cite>
Illustration by Simon Abranowicz

15. The Promise That Tested My Parents Until the End

By Christopher Solomon

Couples pledge many things to one another. When my father grew ill, one promise tested everything about my parents' long and happy life together, and forced my mother to wonder how she would keep her word—and also whether she should.

The Ford Mustang that Fred Ashmore rented, modified, and then drove to Cannonball glory.
The Ford Mustang that Fred Ashmore rented, modified, and then drove to Cannonball glory.

16. Inside the Frenzy to Conquer the Cannonball Run

By Alex W. Palmer

When the country shut down and the highways thinned out, a stealthy group of amateur car obsessives glimpsed an opportunity to revive the fabled cannonball run—the highly daring, absurdly illegal cross-country endurance race. And in the record-breaking frenzy that followed, they became legends of the unlikeliest pastime of the pandemic age.

<cite class="credit">Jacket, $1,995, and pants, $1,095, by Giorgio Armani / Sweater, $230, by Sunspel /Shoes, $790, by Church’s / Socks, $2, by Uniqlo</cite>
Jacket, $1,995, and pants, $1,095, by Giorgio Armani / Sweater, $230, by Sunspel /Shoes, $790, by Church’s / Socks, $2, by Uniqlo

17. Trevor Noah Goes Deep With Wesley Lowery on Racism, Trump, and America Divided

By Wesley Lowery

At a time of immense political polarization, the newsman of the year appears on TV each night to help translate. Maybe that’s why we keep tuning in.

<cite class="credit">Blazer, $3,400, shirt, $1,250, and pants, $1,300, by Gucci / His own boots, by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello / Bracelet (throughout), by $3,300 Tiffany & Co. / Rings (throughout), his own</cite>
Blazer, $3,400, shirt, $1,250, and pants, $1,300, by Gucci / His own boots, by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello / Bracelet (throughout), by $3,300 Tiffany & Co. / Rings (throughout), his own

18. Jason Isbell on ”Reunions,” Finding Sobriety, and Everything That Came Between

By Zach Baron

A decade after bottoming out and cleaning up, Jason Isbell has become the last of his kind: a guitar-playing, compulsively honest, relentlessly consistent songwriter. Oh, and he slays on Twitter too. Zach Baron goes to Isbell's family home near Franklin, Tennessee, and finds there's no question the four-time Grammy winner won't answer.

<cite class="credit">Coat, $32,000, by Dior Men / Shirt, $545, by Tom Ford / Pants, $2,190, by Amiri / Tie, $250, by Charvet / Shoes, $850, by Christian Louboutin / His own watch, by Patek Philippe / Ring (on right hand, price upon request) Jacob & Co. / Ring (on left hand), his own</cite>
Coat, $32,000, by Dior Men / Shirt, $545, by Tom Ford / Pants, $2,190, by Amiri / Tie, $250, by Charvet / Shoes, $850, by Christian Louboutin / His own watch, by Patek Philippe / Ring (on right hand, price upon request) Jacob & Co. / Ring (on left hand), his own

19. How Post Malone Became Pop’s King of Heartbreak

By Kelefa Sanneh

Post Malone has a cheerful, chaotic, beer-drunk image. But somehow he keeps churning out perfectly crafted pop anthems. To sort out the contradictions, Kelefa Sanneh hunkers down with the most reliable hitmaker in America.

<h1 class="title">1161203345</h1><cite class="credit">john finney photography</cite>

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john finney photography

20. The 47 Best Gifts for Men in 2020

By The Editors of GQ

Judging by the number of readers who came through, all the fathers, brothers, boyfriends, buddies and more received some solid presents this year.

<h1 class="title">969680148</h1><cite class="credit">Courtesy of Jordan / Gabe Conte</cite>

969680148

Courtesy of Jordan / Gabe Conte

21. The Definitive Air Jordan Ranking

By Yang-Yi Goh, Sam Schube

From the stone-cold classic to the low-key underrated to the…well, less-than-GOAT, we ranked the greatest basketball sneaker line in history.

<h1 class="title">eliud-kipchoge-gq-april-2020-lede.jpg</h1><cite class="credit">Shirt, $630, and shorts, $890, by Fendi Men’s / Shoes, $795, by Manolo Blahnik / Socks, $22 (for six pairs), by Nike / Sunglasses, $415, by Barton Perreira</cite>

eliud-kipchoge-gq-april-2020-lede.jpg

Shirt, $630, and shorts, $890, by Fendi Men’s / Shoes, $795, by Manolo Blahnik / Socks, $22 (for six pairs), by Nike / Sunglasses, $415, by Barton Perreira

22. How Eliud Kipchoge Broke Running's Mythic 2-Hour Barrier

By Knox Robinson

It was one of sport’s great question marks: Is it humanly possible to run 26.2 miles in under two hours? Then Eliud Kipchoge did it. What followed was international fame—and plenty of controversy. So we flew to Kipchoge’s ultra-rarefied Kenyan training ground to meet the man who pulled off the impossible.

Zack Bia, on his grind at Socialista.
Zack Bia, on his grind at Socialista.

23. Who Is Zack Bia?

By Samuel Hine

He’s a very popular Google search. A DJ, occasionally. An influencer, certainly. And, apparently, one of Drake’s best buds. Which all still begs the question: Who, exactly, is Zack Bia? And why do so many people care?

<cite class="credit"><strong>On Quavo:</strong> Shirt, $990, by Etro / Pants, $450, by Canali / His own watch (throughout), by Rolex / Jewelry (throughout), his own <strong>| On Saweetie:</strong> Gown, $925, by Ulla Johnson / Earring, $13,700 (for pair), and bracelet (on left arm), $15,500, by Tiffany & Co. / Bracelet (on right arm), $17,000, by David Yurman / Ring (on left hand), $4,650, by Fabergé / Ring (on right hand), $9,850, by Cartier</cite>
On Quavo: Shirt, $990, by Etro / Pants, $450, by Canali / His own watch (throughout), by Rolex / Jewelry (throughout), his own | On Saweetie: Gown, $925, by Ulla Johnson / Earring, $13,700 (for pair), and bracelet (on left arm), $15,500, by Tiffany & Co. / Bracelet (on right arm), $17,000, by David Yurman / Ring (on left hand), $4,650, by Fabergé / Ring (on right hand), $9,850, by Cartier

24. Quavo and Saweetie's Love Language

By Gerrick D. Kennedy

Saweetie is a breakout L.A. rapper. Quavo is a Migo. And their romance started out as modern as any: with a DM slide and a messy first date at the strip club.

Illustrations by Kagan McLeod
Illustrations by Kagan McLeod

25. Inside the Great NBA Bubble Experiment

By Taylor Rooks

Writer Taylor Rooks spent months inside the most ambitious plan in sports and saw how the players stayed sane.

Originally Appeared on GQ