A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

And the top pop culture moments of 2018 are … Wait.

WAS there any pop culture this year?

Of course there was, but you could be forgiven for forgetting, because more than ever it was politics, politics, and more politics occupying the zeitgeist and sucking the proverbial air out of the room. Still, if you wanted a break from that, there was a royal wedding with something for everyone, some groundbreaking movies, the return of Mary Poppins (to the screen) and Harry Potter (to Broadway), a goodbye to some favourite celebrities, a tale of two coats that were more than just coats, and more. Join us on a highly selective chronological journey through a year in pop culture.

January

The first awards shows reflect a changed Hollywood, only a few months after the #MeToo movement engulfed the industry. At the GOLDEN GLOBES, the red carpet becomes a sea of glittering black gowns in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct, and OPRAH WINFREY gives a barn-burner of a speech , looking to a day “when nobody ever has to say ‘Me Too’ again!” At the GRAMMYS, stars don white roses, and singer Kesha dedicates a tearful performance of “Praying” to the #MeToo movement.

February

Welcome to WAKANDA: The latest Marvel hero to jump off the page into his own movie is the “BLACK PANTHER,” and RYAN COOGLER’S film is universally acclaimed. “Tell them who you are” is a catchphrase of the film, but it might as well be a pre-Oscar motto for Coogler and a starry cast including CHADWICK BOSEMAN, MICHAEL B. JORDAN, LUPITA NYONG’O and a slew of others. Ten months later the film will be nominated for a Golden Globe and generating serious Oscar buzz.

March

Speaking of OSCAR, it’s that time, and we’re still talking about #MeToo, not to mention “Time’s Up!” Appearing onstage to mark the moment is a powerful trio of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers: ASHLEY JUDD, ANNABELLA SCIORRA, and SALMA HAYEK. And when FRANCES McDORMAND says she has “some things to say,” people listen: The best actress winner asks all the women nominees in the room to stand, and instructs Hollywood to tell their stories.

April

Times are changing at the PULITZERS, too, where rapper KENDRICK LAMAR wins the music prize for “DAMN.” He’s the first rapper to win the prestigious laurel and the first winner who’s not a classical or jazz musician. In film, director JOHN KRASINSKI energizes the horror genre with the creepy, silent “A Quiet Place,” also starring wife EMILY BLUNT. On Broadway, the enduring magic of HARRY POTTER is conjured with the hit London transplant, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

May

Let’s say “Do Svidaniya” to our favourite Soviet spy couple as “THE AMERICANS” ends its six-season run on FX with an elegant, surprising and moving series finale. At the annual glittery MET GALA, the theme is “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination ,” and imaginations are running rampant — we’re talking about you, KATY PERRY and your giant angel wings! But perhaps the most memorable fashion statement comes when the very American MEGHAN MARKLE weds the very British PRINCE HARRY in a refreshingly unadorned white gown. A gospel choir sings “Stand By Me,” and an American bishop, MICHAEL CURRY, almost steals the show with a spirited improvisational sermon before saying: “We gotta get y’all married!” Also this month, “THIS IS AMERICA” by CHILDISH GAMBINO, aka multi-talented DONALD GLOVER (also having a big year with “Atlanta”) opens at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, accompanied by a viral video of nonstop dancing punctuated by shocking scenes of shootings. And goodbye, ROSEANNE: The show’s reboot is cancelled following her racist tweet.

June

What was she thinking? MELANIA TRUMP doesn’t say, but the writing on her Zara jacket has everyone talking. “I don’t really care. Do U ?” reads the garment worn by the first lady on parts of her trip to visit detained migrant children in Texas. Four months later she’ll explain it was “for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me.” In music, JAY-Z and BEYONCE continue to exert their unique influence with a surprise joint album, “Everything is Love.” On a sad note, two admired celebrities are mourned after taking their own lives: global culinary chronicler ANTHONY BOURDAIN and colorful it-bag designer KATE SPADE.

July

Last year, it was WEINSTEIN. This year, it’s LES MOONVES, one of the most powerful men in television. Reporter RONAN FARROW breaks the explosive story of sexual misconduct on the part of the CBS chief executive; in September, with accusations escalating, Moonves will step down. And at year’s end he’ll lose his $120 million severance when CBS says it has grounds to fire him for cause, concluding he violated company policy and was unco-operative with an investigation — a claim Moonves’ attorney denies.

August

Farewell to the Queen of Soul: ARETHA FRANKLIN’s death sparks worldwide mourning, and the singer is hailed not only for her talent — the greatest of a generation — but her lifelong demand for “RESPECT,” as a woman and an African-American. She is eulogized in an epic eight-hour funeral. Another longtime great, PAUL MCCARTNEY, does carpool karaoke with JAMES CORDEN, and their visit to McCartney’s hometown of Liverpool that has many fans crying sweet tears of nostalgia.

September

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” says a new NIKE ad that makes waves because of the man speaking the lines: COLIN KAEPERNICK, the former San Francisco quarterback who began a wave of protests among NFL players against police brutality and racial inequality. At the EMMYS, the awards themselves are upstaged by a surprise marriage proposal. And happy birthday, HARRY POTTER! Wow, you’re 20 years old.

October

Usually DONALD TRUMP has the spotlight in the Oval Office, but apparently not when KANYE WEST visits. The rapper, ostensibly there to discuss prison reform, delivers a 10-minute speech about the president, politics, and of course himself. “You are tasting a fine wine,” he says, referring to, er, his truly. “It has multiple notes to it.” Onscreen, the ultimate chameleon, LADY GAGA, reinvents herself yet again with a stunning turn in BRADLEY COOPER’s acclaimed “A STAR IS BORN. ” And some fine-art news: The elusive BANKSY pulls a stunt for the ages with his self-shredding painting at a Sotheby’s auction. But was that him, in the audience? Maybe.

View this post on Instagram

Going, going, gone…

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

November

Three broken ribs might sideline a football player, but RUTH BADER GINSBURG ? Nah. Days after her injury from a fall, the 85-year-old Supreme Court justice is back on the job, capping a year in which she’s emerged as a true pop culture heroine. Already in the spotlight for “RBG,” the documentary in which she’s shown doing push-ups among other things, she’s also the subject of a popular SNL rap video, and by year’s end a new feature film, “On the Basis of Sex.” Oh, and she’s back at the gym, too.

December

Wanna be the new Oscar host? They’re hiring! (Unless you’d prefer to be Trump’s chief of staff.) KEVIN HART is forced to step down — two days after being named — when past homophobic tweets are aired. And remember all the talk over the first lady’s Zara coat? Now it’s NANCY PELOSI’s MaxMara coat we’re discussing, a fiery red number that she wears — with Armani shades — emerging from a tense showdown with the president. The fashion label immediately reissues the discontinued garment. And speaking of cool overcoats: A stylish new MARY POPPINS is on the block, thanks to BLUNT, who proves a worthy successor to Julie Andrews in the Disney sequel. At the end of a tough year, it feels nice to indulge with just a spoonful of sugar.

Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Cloverdale church elder pleads guilty to sexual assault

Brian Batke, 73, entered guilty plea Feb. 14

Free pads, tampons now available in Surrey school washrooms

Menstrual products previously given out to students upon request

Suspect in Surrey forcible confinement arrested in Toronto

Constable Richard Wright, of the Surrey RCMP, said William Daniels-Sey was arrested on Feb. 16

Surrey student selected as Loran Award recipient

Award is valued at $100K over four years of undergraduate studies

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

UPDATE: TransLink gets injunction ahead of pipeline, Indigenous rights protest

The protest rally is in opposition to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipeline projects

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Most Read