By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
LONDON (Reuters) – From a shocking Oscars slap to a virtual ABBA taking to the stage, this year has seen a range of entertainment stories dominate headlines.
Below are some of the biggest.
* 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 went on to win best actor.
* 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 the shows off 10 months later.
* 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 countersued, 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.
* #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 rape and sexual assault. 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 sex offences dating back almost 20 years.
* 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.
* Alec Baldwin and producers of Western movie “Rust” reached a settlement in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who the actor shot dead during filming last year. A New Mexico state prosecutor is deciding whether to press criminal charges.
* 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”.
* Tom Cruise premiered his hotly anticipated sequel “Top Gun: Maverick”, returning as the cocky pilot he first played in the 1986 action flick. “Maverick” remains the biggest film of 2022, grossing $1.48 billion worldwide.
* The world said goodbye 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.
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alison Williams)