2020 might have been a slow year for Hollywood when it comes to film releases and box office collection. However, there was no dearth of controversies and newsmakers that made sure there was never a dull moment for movie buffs.
The year saw its ups-and-downs with a few stars falling from grace while some achieved new success. Here’s a look at all that made the headlines in Hollywood this year.
Johnny Depp lost libel case and ousted from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise
Johnny Depp’s libel case against the publication The Sun where the latter had accused the actor of being a ‘wife beater’ culminated in the star losing in court. After months of courtroom proceedings against the publication and his ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp finally lost the case. The ruling adversely affected the actor’s career as he was ousted from the popular film franchise Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In the Harry Potter prequel universe created by author JK Rowling, Depp used to play the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. His inclusion in the first film itself was viewed as controversial and several netizens had called the makers for it. However, they had said that they are giving benefit of doubt to the actor but now that he lost the case, the axe fell on his starring role in the film. Mads Mikkelsen has been roped in to play the role now with Eddie Redmayne reprising his role of Newt Scamander and Jude Law as a younger Dumbledore.
JK Rowling's Transphobic tweets
Before Depp lost the libel case, author of Harry Potter, JK Rowling was embroiled in a controversy where her tweets were deemed transphobic. The controversy arose when Rowling tweeted an article whose headline read, ‘Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.’ She wrote while tweeting the article, “People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Rowling wrote an essay on her website and shared it with the text ‘TERF wars’ where she tried to reason and clarify her tweet and her POV., “I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined. Trans people need and deserve protection. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men. So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth." However, her tweet received a lot of backlash and Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Bonnei Wright and others came forward to disagree with her and allay the Potterhead fandom.
Free Britney Campaign and conservatorship
Britney Spears made news this year not for cutting out a new album but for the ‘Free Britney’ campaign where her fans demanded she be made free of the conservatorship. The singer’s career, financial and personal life has been in the hands of legal guardians known as a conservatorship since she faced a mental health crisis 12 years ago. The terms of the arrangement have never been publicly released, but it restricts the singer's autonomy. The conservatorship is headed by her father James Spears aka Jamie Spears. Now, the singer wants the conservatorship to continue but not under her father’s charge but under a financial fiduciary. The singer’s fans want the conservatorship to end so that Britney can lead a free life and not be dictated by others’ terms and conditions. The proceedings of the case are still under process and are up for hearing in 2021.
Kanye West Twitter Rant and Presidential Bid
Kanye West stood for the US presidential election this year. However, his Twitter rant on Grammy, original records, emotional breakdown at his campaign rally and on supposed-turbulent relationship with wife Kim Kardashian West made news. He revealed that he had asked her to get an abortion before their eldest daughter North was born and also said that she and her mother Kris Jenner ‘tried to lock him up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving their daughter’s life'. However, after his Twitter rant he issued an apology to Kim for disclosing private matters in the public after she issued a statement asking people for 'compassion and empathy' in a social media post wherein she revealed the singer was suffering from bipolar disorder. In another Twitter rant, Kanye seemingly peed on his Grammy Awards to drive music ownership point home.
Ellen DeGeneres’ toxic workplace
2020 did not go very well for Ellen DeGeneres as her show’s popularity saw a nosedive when several former employees came forward to claim that The Ellen DeGeneres Show harbours a toxic workplace, racial insensitivity and bullying. Sexual misconduct between executives and lower-level employees were also alleged. They also alleged that the host’s ‘be kind’ motto was not genuine. Ellen, finally issued a clarification and said, “As you may have heard this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realise that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. A lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future, we have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.” Three of the show’s producers faced the brunt of the allegations and were terminated from the show but Ellen has just pledged more oversight and no ramifications of the controversy.
Limb Difference in Anne Hathaway’s ‘The Witches’
Anne Hathaway’s film The Witches faced backlash from Paralympians and the disabled community for showing physical deformities in a negative light. The issue came up as Anne’s character the Grand Witch appears to have Ectrodactyly, a limb abnormality that’s commonly referred to as ‘split hand’. Advocates feared that portraying villains with physical deformities will lead to stereotypes making disabilities abnormal or scary. Retired Paralympic bronze medallist Amy Marren accused The Witches’ filmmakers of representing limb differences as something to be scared of. She said she was ‘disappointed’ in Warner Bros. and questioned if there “was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would affect the limb difference community.” In an Instagram post she wrote, “Yes I am fully aware that this is a film and these are Witches. But Witches are essentially monsters. My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limb differences are to be feared.” Warner Bros. and Anne issued an apology to the disabled community for the wrong portrayal of the character.
Dwayne Johnson highest paid celebrity
It wouldn’t be wrong if Dwayne Johnson called 2020 his year. The actor became the highest paid celebrity on the Forbes 2020 list. He also started shooting for the upcoming NBC series based on his life titled Young Rock. Taking to Instagram, the actor shared a picture of himself with the series creator Nahnatchka Khan. He launched his very own tequila brand called Teremana. The brand sold more than 300,000 9-liter cases in the past nine months as more people resorted to drinking at home rather than in bars and pubs. Oh and Dwayne is all geared up to play the anti-hero Black Adam in the DCEU.
Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s Royal Exit
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle surprised everyone when they announced they would be stepping down from their role as ‘senior royals’ and would be relocating to the US leaving their Frogmore cottage in England. The Royal Exit shook everyone but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remained resolute of their decision and finally settled with relative ease with their son Archie in the US.
‘Will they, won’t they, why don’t they’ have been a recurring question for a reunion ever since the iconic FRIENDS cast bid adieu to their popular sitcom. However, in 2020 the six actors Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Matt Le Blanc and Lisa Kudrow finally agreed to come together for a reunion special. The news was met with much elation from the fans as they rooted for the stars to reprise their roles. However, the coronavirus pandemic played spoil sport and the shoot of the special has been postponed to 2021.
Beyonce’s Black Is King
When the US was grappling with demonstrations and protests following the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of Police trust the Queen Bey to drop something that will boost the morale of the Blacks. Beyonce’s Black Is King, a musical film and visual album based on the music of the singer’s 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift, a tie-in album for Disney’s 2019 remake of the The Lion King upholds, honours and celebrates Black indigenous culture before the advent of White men on their shores. The album was directed by Beyonce as well and managed to create all the right noise with its rich cinematography, earthy music and visual tribute.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Zack Snyder’s Justice League proved the power of the fans as Warner Bros. had to bring back the director’s cut. The director kept the fans excited by teasing stills and trailers from the film. Superman, seen in a black suit would appear in the film. The trailer and teaser of Justice League was first released during a comic con and finally unveiled at the Disney Investor Day announcements.
Disney Investor Day Announcements
It was a one-off year for Disney and Marvel where they did not release any films in theatres. However, they made up with Disney Investor Day Announcements that made everyone jump up with excitement. In a four-hour presentation to its investors, Disney unveiled much of its upcoming slate of projects coming down the line as well as gives a boost to its streaming service Disney+. The company unveiled several trailers, posters and first looks of the upcoming films including Loki, The Falcon and the White Soldier, WandaVision, Ms.Marvel, What If…?, Star Wars’ new series Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Star Wars Ahsoka, Star Wars: The Rangers of the New Republic, Star Wars: Andor, Star Wars: The Bad Watch and several other news.
Taylor Swift album- Folklore and Evermore
Taylor Swift dropped not one but two albums this year-Folklore and Evermore. The albums were recorded and directed by Taylor during the pandemic and made her fans’ day. They were a roaring hit too and managed to make all the right noise on the music circuit.