Taylor Swift was up. Elon Musk was in, out, in and perhaps out once more. Tom Cruise was again. BTS stepped apart, and so did Serena Williams, and Tom Brady too — oops, scratch that.

However the slap? The slap was all over the place.

Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t on the extent of a moon touchdown, or number of a pope. However henceforth all you want say is “the slap” and other people will know what you imply — that second Will Smith smacked Chris Rock on the Oscars and a world viewers stated, “Wait, did that occur?” Even within the room itself — perhaps particularly within the room itself — there was a way everybody had imagined it, which helps clarify why issues went on as regular, for a bit.

The pandemic was over, phew! Nicely, after all it wasn’t. However dwell leisure pushed ahead in 2022, with masks mandates dropping and other people speeding to purchase issues like, oh, Taylor Swift tickets!

We’ll take any segue to say Swift, who already had a giant 12 months in 2021, however simply acquired greater — heck, she broke Billboard data after which she broke Ticketmaster. (No phrase if she acquired her scarf again).

It was a 12 months of celeb #MeToo circumstances like Harvey Weinstein (once more), R. Kelly (once more), Kevin Spacey, Paul Haggis, Danny Masterson. And the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial, its each excruciating flip captured on TV.

On the large display screen, there have been huge comebacks. Mourning its dearly missed star, Chadwick Boseman, “Black Panther: Wakanda Ceaselessly” was a field workplace triumph. James Cameron’s “Avatar” made a splashy December return.

Then there was Cruise, turning 60 in ’22 identical to the Rolling Stones, swooping into Cannes together with his most profitable film and exhibiting, like these still-touring rockers, that after they inform you “The tip is inevitable,” as they do in “Prime Gun: Maverick,” you possibly can at all times reply: “Possibly so, sir, however not at this time.”

Will audiences sooner or later discover Cruise – or the Stones, for that matter – too wrinkled and previous the sell-by date? Possibly so, however not this 12 months.

Our annual, completely selective journey by a 12 months in popular culture:


It’s GOLDEN GLOBES time. However is a Globes with no telecast, boozy celebs or purple carpet a Globes in any respect? The embattled Hollywood International Press Affiliation, reeling from gorgeous failures over range, holds a personal occasion and plans a comeback subsequent 12 months. Hey, keep in mind the unique wardrobe malfunction? Nicely, JANET JACKSON says she and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE have moved on, and so ought to we. The New York Instances buys Wordle, and we’re all considering in five-letter phrases (although W-O-R-D-L-E is six, simply saying.) In the meantime, it’s a month of loss, heading off a 12 months of loss: pioneering Black actor, director and activist SIDNEY POITIER dies at 94.


What would a 12 months in popular culture be with out BRITNEY? Simply months after her liberation from her restrictive conservatorship, Spears is reported to have signed a mammoth ebook deal, however at 12 months’s finish we’re nonetheless ready for information. RIHANNA is pregnant! TOM BRADY retires! (Keep tuned, on that one.) TAYLOR watch: JAKE GYLLENHAAL speaks out, saying he actually has nothing to do with that tune.


Fast, who wins Oscars this month? Nicely, “CODA” does, a feel-good drama with a largely deaf solid, and TROY KOTSUR turns into the primary deaf actor to win an performing Oscar. Alas, all anybody can discuss is — . SMITH, who wins one of the best actor award not lengthy after slapping Rock over a joke about his spouse, Jada Pinkett Smith, gained’t actually tackle the problem till the tip of the 12 months, so maintain studying. KARDASHIAN watch: Kim Okay is asserted legally single once more in her ongoing divorce with YE, the rapper previously generally known as KANYE WEST. And BRADY, retired for 40 days, says, “By no means thoughts!”


It’s GRAMMY time, and JON BATISTE wins huge, taking 5 statuettes. The musician’s enormous 12 months will later embrace performing on the first state dinner of the Biden administration, for French President Emmanuel Macron. The subsequent day Macron will meet with MUSK (thanks for the segue, Monsieur le President) who begins his acquisition of TWITTER this month, resulting in untold — and nonetheless unfolding — modifications on the social media large.


So think about you’re sipping cocktails on the MET GALA and a musician comes sauntering by, taking part in the melodica — after all it’s BATISTE, as a result of the Met Gala’s that type of loopy get together. The largest splash of the evening, although, is KARDASHIAN, on the arm of boyfriend PETE DAVIDSON, sporting the identical sequined, pores and skin tight robe MARILYN MONROE wore to sing “Blissful Birthday” to JFK in 1962. In motion pictures, “Prime Gun: Maverick” opens, the highest-grossing home debut in CRUISE’S profession, and his first to surpass $100 million on opening weekend. HARRY STYLES followers rejoice! His album, “Harry’s Home,” is right here.


Gorgeous information for the worldwide fanbase of BTS because the Okay-pop supergroup declares it’s taking a break to deal with members’ solo initiatives. On the authorized entrance, a Virginia jury palms DEPP a victory in his very messy libel case over allegations of home abuse, discovering that former spouse HEARD defamed him in a 2018 op-ed. On a happier observe, Britney will get married….


Just one wedding ceremony, Britney? BENNIFER has two! Possibly what occurs in Vegas normally stays in Vegas, however not when you’ve gotten 227 million followers on Instagram. With a winking reference to being a “Sadie” (married woman) JENNIFER LOPEZ directs followers to her e-newsletter the place she shares pics of her quickie wedding ceremony to BEN AFFLECK. “Love is gorgeous,” she writes. “And it seems love is affected person.” Talking of persistence, followers of BEYONCÉ are rewarded for theirs with the discharge of her long-awaited “Renaissance,” her first solo album in six years.


So, we have been saying … Bennifer’s second wedding ceremony, on Affleck’s compound in Georgia, is larger and fancier. One wedding ceremony, one break up: KARDASHIAN and DAVIDSON are now not. In different summer time information, the world remembers PRINCESS DIANA, whose stunning loss of life occurred 25 years in the past, and whose life is being rehashed for a brand new era within the present season of “The Crown.” Solely days after the anniversary, that very same Netflix sequence will pause manufacturing as a mark of respect for QUEEN ELIZABETH II as Britain — and the world — mourn the beloved monarch, who dies at age 96 after greater than 70 years on the throne.


Mounting political intrigue in Europe, and by that we imply, did spit fly on the Venice premiere of “Don’t Fear Darling”? Both method the film, directed by OLIVIA WILDE and starring her boyfriend (alleged spitter STYLES), is saddled – or blessed? – with greater than its share of extracurricular drama. On the EMMYS, behold SHERYL LEE RALPH, who wins for “Abbott Elementary” and colleges the group on the facility of goals and self-belief. “That is what believing seems like,” she says. You recognize what else believing seems like? Rachel Berry from “Glee” – aka LEA MICHELE – eventually attending to play Fanny Brice in “Humorous Lady” on Broadway. In sports activities, with 4 rueful phrases that resonate with working mothers all over the place, SERENA WILLIAMS says she’s stepping apart from tennis, as a result of “one thing’s acquired to present.”


The second HARVEY WEINSTEIN trial opens in Los Angeles. ADIDAS drops YE, a part of a cascade of firms that can sever ties with the rapper over his antisemitic and different troubling feedback. The MUSK period begins at TWITTER because the world’s richest man carries a sink into the workplace, to “let that sink in.” HEIDI KLUM’s Halloween costume is a slimy, glistening rain worm. However earlier than the month worms away from us, let’s cede it to SWIFT for dropping her new album, “Midnights” (Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day), then including seven bonus tracks, then changing into the primary artist to occupy all high 10 slots on the Billboard Sizzling 100 chart. Let THAT sink in! P.S. Celeb divorce watch: BRADY and )GISELE BUNDCHEN break up.


Did we are saying LAST month was Taylor Swift month? Nicely now, tens of millions of keen followers crowd a presale for her much-awaited Eras Tour, leading to crashes and countless waits. Ticketmaster cancels the overall sale, citing inadequate inventory. A number of state attorneys normal announce investigations. Takeaway: Folks need Taylor Swift tickets. On the multiplex, in addition they need their Wakanda. “Black Panther: Wakanda Ceaselessly” meets the double problem of following up one of many largest blockbusters in historical past and shedding its largest star.


Love ’em or hate ’em, right here come HARRY and MEGHAN once more, with a Netflix documentary watched very intently by royalty throughout the pond. Over at Twitter, MUSK says he’ll step down as CEO — after polling customers — as soon as he finds somebody “silly” sufficient to exchange him. Cameron’s “AVATAR” sequel lastly seems, 13 years after the unique broke data, and sure, moviegoers flock to Pandora as soon as once more. And bringing the 12 months full circle, SMITH emerges to advertise his new movie, “EMANCIPATION,” hoping individuals will neglect about … what was it? … a minimum of sufficient to take a look at the film.

On this 12 months of comebacks, will Smith’s be the most important? Verify again with us in 2023.