1.) Leonardo DiCaprio Wins His First Academy Award
As far as the world is concerned, it was a long time coming for DiCaprio to win an Academy Award. Although the iconic actor and environmental activist has been nominated several times for some of his best roles in “The Aviator,” “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” and “Blood Diamond,” 2016 was the year he clinched it by being awarded Best Actor for his portrayal in “The Revenant.”
2.) Election Mayhem
2016 was the year of surprises. Up until the ballots closed, the world had their bets on a Clinton/Kaine victory. But, that was not meant to be. Trump startled the world by winning the electoral vote without winning the popular vote, thus propelling a campaign that no one thought could beat Clinton to victory.
3.) The 2016 Women’s Gymnastics Team Victories
From August 5 to August 21st, the 2016 Olympics in Brazil captivated the world. And, while the lies of Ryan Lochte may have taken away from some of the coverage with his fake robbery story, the real pop culture moment here involved the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. Led by Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, and Madison Kocian, the world was stunned at their grace and presence in front of the world’s audience. Competitively, they crushed it, and the moments will live on for years to come. After the Olympics, Douglas, Aly Raisman and others on the team visited the White House as national heroes, and have made their mark in pop culture.
4.) The Mannequin Challenge
Somehow, someway, the mannequin challenge became an instant pop culture phenomenon this year. What is it? It’s a viral internet video that is created where people stay frozen in poses like mannequins while a camera follows around the room and “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd is playing. So, far millions have participated, including those who won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. With participants like Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Bill & Melinda Gates, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert de Niro, Tom Hanks, Ellen Degeneres, and many others, it was one of the more popular mannequin challenges.
5.) Carpool Karaoke
By now, we’ve all seen atleast one of James Corden’s brilliantly devised Carpool Karaoke scenes. 2016 was the year that Corden’s series really took off. What is it? For those that aren’t in the know of this pop culture phenomenon, Corden gets in his car, picks up celebrities and rides around singing to their songs with that particular celebrity. The scenes are always hilarious, and some of the highlights include Carpool Karaoke with Justin Bieber, Adele, Britney Spears and Sia. But, all of them are incredibly funny.
6.) Stranger Things On Netflix Making Us Fall In Love With The 80’s Again
The 80’s were already making a resurgence, but with Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” people fell in love with the 80’s all over again. The show, which can best be described as a program featuring kids in the 80’s in love with science fiction, completely summed up the essence of the 80’s and created movements for characters in the show. The friend of one of the main characters, Barb, went missing, along with other main characters in this Sci-Fi thriller and fueled theories and helped create groups across Facebook and the web. The show no doubt made it’s impact on pop culture, and everyone is excited to see the next season.
7.) Kim Kardashian In Paris
As one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world, Kim Kardashian makes news no matter what happens. But, in the Fall of 2016, the reality star was the victim of a robbery, where she claims she was tied up and held at gunpoint while the robbers stole jewelry and other belongings. This caused Kardashian to be more tempered when it came to showing off her jewels on Instagram and social media, and avoid public appearances.
8.) Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Sonnet
This year was undoubtedly a huge year for Broadway. Led by Lin-Manuel’s Miranda’s “Hamilton” performance, the play made its mark and continues to thrive under its new lead performer to become the most successful plays in history. This year’s Tony Awards took place just a few hours after the horrific Orlando nightclub shooting, and the ceremony was dedicated to those who lost their lives. With an emotional crowd, Lin-Manuel Miranda took the stage and shared his sonnet that became an instant pop-culture moment for 2016. The sonnet included the lines “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside,” which summed up the feeling of an entire country.
9.) Ken Bone’s 15 Minutes Of Fame
After the second 2016 presidential debate, it was clear who the winner was. It was a man named Kenneth Bone. Forget the ridiculousness of his name alone. This man has effectively become a pop-culture phenomenon simply because he just seemed so lovable and huggable. Wearing a bright red knit sweater and a power ‘stache, this undecided voter asked the candidates a question and won over the hearts and minds of America forever. Since that brief question, the Internet, and the media have been on fire by creating meme’s devoted to Bone, and brands have even decided to start promoting the “Kenneth Bone Look”. The irony of the situation is that Bone never intended to even wear this sweater. He wanted to wear a great olive suit but because he had gained 30 pounds he torn his pants getting into his car. This led him to switch outfits and the rest is history. So, get a red sweeter, a fake mustache, throw on a few extra pounds and be the best Ken Bone you can be. The moment came just before Halloween as well, so needless to say many took it as a chance to dress up like Bone.
10.) Melania Trump’s “Speech”
While the Trump campaign tried to spin it, there was no doubt that Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention heavily took word for word parts of a speech made by the first lady Michelle Obama. The news went viral and people took notice of it right away, creating a pop-culture moment that will live on forever.
11.) A Breakup Of A Power Couple
After the divorce from Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt took up residence with Angelina Jolie and spent many years raising a family with her. But, 2016 ended all of that, and it became instant news across the globe that the power couple was no more. Allegations were made, and denied, but in the end, the damage was too much for the two to endure and keep going on together.
12.) High Profile Celebrity Deaths
2016 is the year we said goodbye to rock legends, movie stars, and other celebrities of all kinds. Most notably, Prince’s unexpected death shook the roots of pop-culture and captivated the world. Paisley Park is still standing, but the legend no longer occupies the famous residence. David Bowie, another iconic rocker also passed in the beginning of 2016. Other celebrities, and stars’s deaths that shook us to our core include actor Alan Thicke, Natalie Cole, Alan Rickman, and Frank Sinatra Jr.
13.) The Cubs Win The Series!
After Boston won the World Series several years ago after a drought of around 100 years, it was only natural that one of these days the Chicago Cubs would win a title. It had been over 100 years since the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series in 1908. There were many times they came close over the years, but the curse of the billy goat saga continued. Finally, this year, victory reigned and the Cubs won the title in early November.