2020 was really year like no other. There have been some huge celebrity news stories during the last 12 months, but because of the spread of a certain disease, many just didn’t get the limelight they would in a normal year. So, what were the highs and lows for our poor neglected celebrities last year?
Let’s start on the 8th January, when The Sun printed the headline Megxit. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – which is still their respective titles, somehow – had announced their decision to step back as senior Royals. They said they would be moving to North America to be ‘financially independent’, which we now know means hosting their own podcast on Spotify. Megxit led to an urgent meeting of the Royal family just days later that became known as the unprecedented Sandringham Summit. Collins English Dictionary even made Megxit one of their top-ten words of 2020. On December 29th, Meghan and Harry released the first episode of their podcast, Archewell Audio, looking back on the eventful year they’d had together with the help of special guests such as James Corden, Sir Elton John and Stacey Abrams. Although Harry and Meghan have faced quite a lot of backlash this year for their choice to try something new, at least they can use that money and not ours next time they want to renovate their house for £2.4million. All the best to them!
Moving on to 9th February when celebrities got all dressed up in Los Angeles for what is arguably the most important awards night of the year: The Oscars. The award for Best Picture was given to South Korean thriller film, Parasite. The film centres around a poor family who tricks their way into the employ of a wealthy family, and is the first non-English-language piece to take the top prize in Hollywood. This marked a huge step forward for the Oscars, as in recent years they have gained a reputation for not being entirely inclusive or representative of the industry as a whole. Joaquin Phoenix, star of Joker and winner of the Best Actor award, chose to talk about the same subject in his acceptance speech, setting the internet on fire. He spoke about offering others support rather than trying to cancel people for past mistakes, saying we should instead help each other to grow, learn and “use love and compassion as our guiding principles.”
Finally, one of the biggest companies that helped loads of us get through this year was Netflix. As we were all stuck inside, many people turned to their old favourites for comfort, but there were also new shows to watch – some good and some not-so-good. Whoever was pitching shows to Netflix seemed to become obsessed with reality TV this year, as we saw many viral releases such as Love Is Blind, The Circle and Selling Sunset. In The Circle, contestants were isolated within their own apartments, only able to communicate with other contestants via ‘The Circle’, an online social networking program which changes contestants speech into written messages that can be shared with the group. Since they never see each other, contestants are able to present completely different identities to their own. The goal is to hopefully win over other participants so they don’t ‘block’ you and eliminate you from the show.
Although this might sound like just another trashy reality show, The Circle holds a powerful message about how our sanity can deteriorate when social media is our only connection to the outside world – something that has become only too real this year. The contestants on The Circle are only stuck in their apartments for 15 days, but some of us have been stuck inside for months on end. Looking back at 2020, we should realise how consuming information and interacting with each other in such a detached way has affected how we see the world. Although social media can help us connect with others, it can also make us feel even more distant. Never underestimate the power of a call or FaceTime compared to a text, because it might just be the thing that helps somebody get through their day.