A slap, a maverick and some ABBAtars: The showbiz stories that dominated 2022

Many of these became the subject of numerous — often repeated — cultural conversations around the world

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Photos: Reuters
Photos: Reuters

By Reuters

Published: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 2:30 PM

From a shocking Oscars slap to a virtual ABBA taking to the stage, 2022 has seen a range of entertainment stories dominate headlines.

Below are some of the biggest.

1) The Will Smith slap at the Oscars

Will Smith smacked Oscars presenter Chris Rock in the face for making a joke about his wife's hairstyle, in a shocking moment that overshadowed Hollywood's top awards ceremony. Smith still went on to win Best Actor, for his performance in King Richard (2021).

2) Adele's Vegas postponement

A tearful Adele postponed her Las Vegas residency the day before the concerts were due to start, saying half her crew had Covid-19 and the pandemic had caused delivery delays. She kicked off the shows 10 months later.

3) The Depp-Heard defamation case

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard faced off in a Virginia court after the actor sued his ex-wife arguing she defamed him, when she called herself "a public figure representing domestic abuse" in a newspaper opinion piece.

Heard counter-sued, saying Depp smeared her when his lawyer called her accusations a "hoax". Depp won more than $10 million in damages. The jury ruled for Heard on one counterclaim.


4) #MeToo continues

#MeToo cases continued, with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein — currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for sex crimes in New York — going on trial in Los Angeles on 11 charges of sexual assault and related crimes. Four have since been dismissed. He has pleaded not guilty.

Actor Kevin Spacey defeated a sexual abuse case against him in a Manhattan civil trial. He appeared in court in Britain to plead not guilty to accusations of offences dating back almost 20 years.

5) Ye faces backlash for anti-Semitic remarks

Rapper Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, courted controversy with outbursts on social media — including anti-Semitic remarks — leading to the end of some corporate ties: a move has that knocked him off the Forbes list of the world's billionaires.

6) Alec Baldwin's gun misfires on set

Alec Baldwin and the producers of the Western movie Rust reached a settlement in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, whom the actor shot dead during filming last year. A New Mexico state prosecutor is deciding whether to press criminal charges.

7) Chart toppers return

Beyonce, Rihanna and Britney Spears made comebacks with new music. Kate Bush topped charts with Running Up That Hill as the 1985 song enjoyed a resurgence thanks to Netflix show Stranger Things.

Swedish supergroup ABBA returned to the stage, albeit as digital avatars, or "ABBAtars".

8) 'Top Gun: Maverick' takes off

Tom Cruise premiered in his hotly-anticipated sequel Top Gun: Maverick, returning as the cocky pilot he first played in the 1986 action flick. It remains the biggest film of 2022, grossing $1.48 billion worldwide.

9) Famous figures who said goodbye

The world paid its respects to actors Sidney Poitier, Ray Liotta, Angela Lansbury, Olivia Newton-John and Robbie Coltrane, as well as music stars Jerry Lee Lewis, Meat Loaf, Coolio, Taylor Hawkins and Loretta Lynn, among others.

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