From Oscars slap to Johnny vs. Amber, this is Hollywood in 2022

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
From Oscars slap to Johnny vs. Amber, this is Hollywood in 2022
This year had its share of controversies and shocking moments, but also light-hearted news and announcements to cheer on about.
Composite art by Philstar.com / Anjilica Andaya

MANILA, Philippines — Whenever a Hollywood figure hit the headlines this year, more often than not, it would become the talk of the town for the next week — for others, even a month or more.

It only goes to show just how influential Hollywood remains to be in 2022, whether within the entertainment industry or toward the many fans who trample and scour the Internet just begging for all the insider information.

This year had its share of controversies and shocking moments, but also light-hearted news and announcements to cheer on about.

So let's just cut to it, here's a rundown of the biggest news in Hollywood in 2022:

The Oscars slap

The moment Will Smith walked up onto the Oscars stage — not to receive his award, we mean the first time he got up — historians had their pens ready and Wikipedia editors were just waiting to press a button.

For anyone who has been living under a rock (no pun intended), arguably the biggest Hollywood news of the year was when Smith walked up onstage to slap presenter and comedian Chris Rock, and moments later received the Oscar for Best Actor.

Rock had made a G.I. Jane joke about Smith's wife Jada and her alopecia, which results in hair loss, which did have Smith chuckling but later turned heel and confronted Rock.

The entire theater was stunned at what had occurred, unsure if it was scripted or not. Rock waved the moment to continue awarding Best Documentary to "Summer of Soul," and later the hosting trio of Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes followed through.

The moment soured a bit the wholesome and groundbreaking Best Picture win of "CODA," a film about a deaf family with one hearing child.

Smith has since admitted his regret and remorse, voluntarily leaving the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts, and Sciences which also banned him from any of their events for the next decade.

Rock has said he would share his side of the issue in due time. While Smith is banned from Academy events, his newest film "Emancipation" — one of his few projects that suffered delays since the slap — is in Oscars 2023 consideration.

Depp vs Heard

The biggest news next to the Oscars slap would most likely be the much-publicized trial of actors and former celebrity couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

The context behind the trial was Depp filed for defamation against Heard after she wrote in a Washington Post article that she was abused by an ex — Heard did not mention any name — and as a result Heard countersued for defamation as well.

During the trial proper, which was livestreamed and resulted in numerous TikTok videos, more revelations were shared about the pair's relationship back in 2015 to 2016.

The general public, on the other hand, began taking sides of the arguments, making viral edits about Heard's defense tactics and Depp seemingly flirting with one of his lawyers.

The final ruling saw both actors having to pay each other in damages, but Depp got the better straw as Heard had to pay $10.35 million while the actress was owed $2 million.

Heard filed for an appeal, but recently settled with Depp for $1 million (P55 million). Despite this, the actress says the fight isn't over for her.

Warner Bros. issues

As chaotic as the social media fascination for Depp vs Heard were the disruptions within and involving the film studio Warner Bros.

Depp and Heard were only just the beginning for the studio as Depp was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise while Heard's role in "Aquaman 2" was severely limited following the trial results.

Problems only grew after Depp's former co-star Ezra Miller was arrested for different incidents, for harassment and disorderly conduct, second-degree assault, and felony burglary. Miller also plays The Flash in Warner Bros.' DC Universe, and such issues ended in the release timeline being jumbled up.

The DC films timeline being mixed up was also a result of creative differences at the executive level, with planned projects like "Batgirl" being cancelled despite nearing completion, resulting in the hiring of James Gunn and Peter Safran to spearhead the embroiled division.

As such, more creative decisions had to be made. The future of the DC Universe is now up in the air as Henry Cavill will no longer be returning as Superman despite being teased so in "Black Adam" — people may not have even noticed that the only other DC projects released this year were the "Peacemaker" series and "The Batman."

But that is just the issues with DC. Warner Bros. had to do major damage control for their film "Don't Worry Darling" which saw its director Olivia Wilde having feuds with Florence Pugh, Shia LaBeouf (who was initially starring), and her ex-husband Jason Sudeikis over custody of their children.

These feuds boiled all the way to the red carpet, where at a premiere Pugh would not directly engage with Wilde and Harry Styles was thought to have spat on co-star Chris Pine (he didn't). Such problems may have influenced "Don't Worry Darling" receiving mixed reviews.

Streaming domination

Warner Bros. did find great success through its subsidiary HBO following the release of "Game of Thrones" prequel series "House of the Dragon," which broke records left and right on its way to high praise and renewal just after the first episode.

The biggest competitor for "House of the Dragon" was fellow fantasy and prequel show "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," the most expensive series ever made though was not as well-received as the "Game of Thrones" prequel.

But if we're talking about streaming, we cannot leave out the biggest streaming platform of all (for now) in Netflix, which marked is 25th anniversary this 2022.

Netflix continued the success of its high-profile shows such as the fourth season of "Stranger Things," the second season of "Bridgerton," and the fifth season of "The Crown," while also seeing highs and lows as with the Tim Burton series "Wednesday" and the Marilyn Monroe biopic "Blonde."

Closer to home, Disney+ finally made its way to Philippine shores, where Filipinos could finally get to see the hit series that came out this year under Disney and their subsidiaries like "The Book of Boba Fett," "Obi-Wan Kenobi," "Andor," and "Disenchanted" — but it also resulted in the departure of the well-loved Disney Channel from Philippine television.


Disney also had a great year at the box office this 2022, which saw the studio giant gross $4 billion (P221 billion) for an eighth consecutive year.

Helping Disney reach that mark were animated projects like "Turning Red," "Lightyear," and "Strange World," but even more so from Marvel releases like "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," "Thor: Love and Thunder," and "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Marvel also continued to supply Disney+ with favorable content that also helped bring in the bucks such as "Moon Knight," "Ms. Marvel," "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," "Werewolf by Night," and "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special."

Not to be counted out were other blockbusters of 2022 as seen in "The Batman," the Tom Cruise sequel "Top Gun: Maverick," awards darling "Everything Everywhere All At Once," and much-awaited cinematic spectacle "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Love won and love lost

What would a piece about Hollywood be without the gossip of celebrities getting together, splitting up, or even growing their family?

The high-profile splits were of "Aquaman" actor Jason Momoa calling it quits with wife Lisa Bonet, Kim Kardashian finalizing her divorce with controversial rapper Kanye West, and singer Adam Levine causing a whole mess for his relationship with model Behati Prinsloo (which is still being patched up).

On a lighter note, many celebrity weddings were held this year such as Britney Spears and Sam Asghari, Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, long-time partners Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, and much to the surprise and joy of many, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

The next couple expected to tie the knot soon are Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, who got engaged in 2022, though it wouldn't be a surprise if more couples out there decide to pop the question as well.

Also happy news were several celebrities announcing births and baby bumps, particuarly Rihanna, Blake Lively, and Keke Palmer.

In memoriam

Closing this yearender, we remember the faces of Hollywood who passed away in 2022. They may no longer be with us, but their influence and legacy lives on in their work.

Screen legends like Sidney Poitier, William Hurt, Ray Liotta, James Caan, and Louise Fletcher were among the biggest names who died this year, as did ever-present television actors Bob Saget and Estelle Harris.

Filmmakers and multi-talented artists like Ivan Reitman, Olivia Newton-JohnJean-Luc Godard, Kevin Conroy, and Stephen 'tWitch' Boss will also be remembered for their amazing work across art forms.

Lastly, we also mourn this year the passing of Hollywood icons such Anne Heche, Robbie Coltrane, Leslie Jordan, and activist Sacheen Littlefeather.

RELATED: Births, deaths, weddings, splits, canceled: 2022 Philippine showbiz in review

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