From Friends reunion to #FreeBritney: What happened in 2021



LOS ANGELES:

From the return of cinema’s favorite spy to Friends reuniting, an array of stories dominated entertainment news headlines this year. Below are some of the biggest stories.

The new normal:

After several delays, the release of James Bond movie No Time To Die gave pandemic-hit cinemas a much-needed boost. Studios shuffled schedules and in some cases, films were released simultaneously in cinemas and on streaming platforms. In other news, New York’s Broadway and London’s West End re-opened, albeit with Covid safety measures in place. Live music also returned.

The accolades:

Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish took the top prizes at the Grammy Awards while Beyonce became the most awarded female artist in Grammy history, with a total 28 wins. The Oscars saw “Nomadland” scoop best picture and best director for Chinese-born Chloe Zhao, making her the first Asian woman and only the second woman ever to win the prize.

US television network NBC dropped its broadcast of the 2022 Golden Globes after a backlash over the ethics of the HFPA group which hands out the annual film and television awards and its lack of diversity. The group has said it has made sweeping changes and will hold its ceremony in January.

On their own terms:

Now living in California, Prince Harry and wife Meghan sent shock waves when, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan accused Britain´s royal family of raising concerns about how dark the skin of the couple’s first child would be. She said the stress of life as a royal newlywed had pushed her to the brink of suicide. 

On the other hand, pop star Britney Spears regained control of her personal life and money when a judge ended a 13-year conservatorship after a long legal battle. The singer regained control of her personal life and her money when a judge ended a 13-year conservatorship that became a cause celebre for fans and critics of an arrangement typically meant to protect the elderly.

“Effective today, the conservatorship of the person and the estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny said after a 30-minute hearing in which no one opposed ending the court-sanctioned arrangement. The 39-year-old Piece of Me singer had begged the court for months to terminate the conservatorship that has governed her personal life and $60 million estate since 2008.

Tragedies:

In a heartbreaking incident, Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed when a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin fired off a live bullet on the set of Western Rust. Baldwin said the revolver went off when he was cocking the gun. The incident is being investigated. said he did not pull the trigger of the gun that fired a live bullet and killed a cinematographer on the set of the film Rust, according to an excerpt of an upcoming television interview.

Baldwin, who was holding a gun he was told was safe when it went off, spoke in his first full interview about the October 21 shooting in New Mexico. “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” the actor told ABC television journalist George Stephanopoulos, according to the excerpt of the interview. “So you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos asked. “No, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never,” Baldwin replied.

In another tragic event, ten people died in a stampede at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston. Lawsuits were filed against the rapper and promoters. Given the collective damage and poor management, Scott, Apple, Drake, Live Nation and other artists will now attend to a massive $2 billion lawsuit against them by more than 125 fans, including the family of an individual who died at the festival.

The much-awaited reunions:

On television, the cast of Friends reunited for a tearful TV special. In music, ABBA released their first album in 40 years. Adele stormed the charts with comeback record 30. Swift released re-recorded albums to take back control of her early catalogue.

The romance:

Billionaire Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, now known as Ye, announced their divorce, while on the other hand, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck rekindled their romance after nearly 20 years.

Few wins:

Criminal cases during the #MeToo era saw former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein extradited from New York to Los Angeles to face trial on rape and sexual assault charges. Singer R Kelly was convicted by a federal jury of sex trafficking.

Gone too soon:

* The world said goodbye to Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, actors Christopher Plummer, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Cicely Tyson, Helen McCrory and Olympia Dukakis, comedian Jackie Mason, rapper DMX, The Supremes co-founder Mary Wilson, TV interviewer Larry King, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, fashion designers Alber Elbaz and Virgil Abloh and composers Stephen Sondheim and Mikis Theodorakis. Record producer Phil Spector died in prison.

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