2014 has been a grand year in pop culture. From unexpected album drops (via Beyonce, The Queen) to an official visit from the British royals, we were able to experience it all through the Internet. Here, we round up the most talked-about entertainment stories of the year... and wish you an even grander 2015.
Alec Baldwin “Retires” From Public Life
The actor announced his decision by penning a personal essay published by New York Magazine in February. Baldwin explained: “I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience’s approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now.”
Beyonce Joins Jay-Z on Tour, Tapes an HBO Concert Special… and is the Star of an Elevator Fight
Remember the Internet craze that followed Beyonce’s surprise 14-track “visual album” drop in December of 2013? Well, that was just the beginning of her modern take on art. This year, the singer joined hubby Jay-Z on their first collaborative tour and made headlines in May when sister Solange and Jay-Z broke into a post-Met Gala fight on an elevator. Beyonce then recovered by releasing a short film, Yours and Mine, all about feminism and motherhood. What's next?
Amanda Bynes Shocks Everyone Via Social Media
Arguably one of the most bizarre entertainment stories of the year comes courtesy of Amanda Bynes. The actress voiced strong accusations against her own family (and espoused her feelings towards fame) via Twitter. She eventually retracted them… before accusing her father of sexual abuse. Her latest tweet? “I’m Britney Spears.”
Matthew McConaughey Wins the Oscar for His Role on Dallas Buyers Club
Although McConaughey’s performance should automatically grant him a spot on the list, his Best Actor acceptance speech might be even more memorable:
Lena Dunham Releases Her Very Expensive Memoir
The actress earned a $3.7 million advance for penning her first memoir. The buzz surrounding the book’s official publication should therefore come as no surprise. Not That Kind of Girl was released to generally good reviews in September of this year.
Celebrity Deaths Shock Us
This year, we lost a lot of good ones. Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Peaches Geldof, Shirley Temple, James Garner, Elaine Stritch, and Joan Rivers… Thanks for making us smile, laugh, and believe.
Lupita Nyong’o Steals Every Scene There Ever Was
Starring in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (which won the Best Movie Oscar), Nyong’o earns the Best Supporting Actress title at the Academy Awards and her level of fame catapults over night. She becomes fashion’s it-girl, with red carpet looks that will be mentioned for years to come. She gets cast in top-notch films, is named to People’s most beautiful list, and is the new face of Lancome. What did you accomplish this year?
We Learn Who the “Mother” Is
The series finale of hit show How I Met Your Mother aired back in March and we finally found out the mother's name (Tracy McConnell) and what happened to her (she died).
We Go Crazy Over the Ultimate Selfie
Courtesy of Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Get Married… and Kim Breaks the Internet
Paper magazine coined the #breakingtheinternet hashtag on its latest cover, featuring the Kardashian sister in all of her glory. As if her marriage to Kanye West in Florence back in May didn’t cause enough of a ruckus.
Jimmy Fallon Takes Over The Tonight Show
Following Jay Leno’s departure, Fallon is named the show’s newest host. He revolutionizes late-night television by proving that, yes, stars are just like us. Here is Emma Stone lip syncing:
And you need to watch Daniel Radcliffe rap (fast forward to 1:12):
Netflix (and TV in General) Excites Us More Than Usual
This year, Netflix completely changed the way we watch TV (can we even call it TV anymore?). Hit shows House of Cards and Orange is the New Black dominated conversations around the country… even inspiring their own hashtags.
Although not a Netflix product, an honorable TV-related mention goes to HBO’s True Detective, a show that surely benefited from McConaughey’s Oscar win and reminded us why we love Woody Harrelson so much.
Stars Use Their Heads to Make Statements
Pharrell’s hat, which the producer debuted at the Grammys, now has its own Twitter handle. Shia LaBeouf showed up at the Berlin Film Festival with a paper bag on his head, apparently making a statement about the concept of fame.
George Clooney Finally Settles Down
With a wedding in Italy’s Lake Como, Clooney surprises us all and gets hitched to lawyer Amal Alamuddin (whom Barbara Walters recently named most fascinating person of the year).
Celebrity Babies Get Cuter (and Take On Stranger Names)
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes named their daughter Esmeralda while Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, also proud parents to a baby girl, named the baby Wyatt Isabelle. Also, let’s not forget about the most stylish pregnant star around, Blake Lively.
Taylor Swift Gives New Meaning to the Word “Record”
No list would be complete without a Taylor Swift mention (or mentions, in this case). The singer/songwriter released her latest album, 1989, which sold 2 million copies, and became the first woman to have three albums sell more than a million copies each in a single week. Swift then pulled her music from streaming service Spotify, causing backlash and praise in equal measure, and reignited the conversation about music in the digital age. She was also named New York City's Global Welcome Ambassador by the city's official tourism site.
Royals Meet Royals... and We Go Insane
The biggest entertainment story of the year? Prince William and Duchess Kate visit the United States…and catch a Nets game in Brooklyn alongside our own American version of royalty, Jay-Z and Beyonce. Pictures of the two couples chatting made their rounds and overwhelmed the Internet.
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA HBO.COM (ON THE RUN); FLICKR.COM/IFINDKARMA (OSCAR SELFIE); JASON MERRITT/GETTY (LUPITA NYONG'O); KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY (PHARRELL); J. COUNTESS/GETTY (LIVELY AND REYNOLDS); ALO CEBALLOS/GC IMAGES (SWIFT); NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (ROYALS)