The Pop Culture Moments Of 2016 That Changed EVERYTHING

Leo's Oscar, Brangelina, Pokemon Go and an explosive recipe for homemade Lemonade.

Beyonce was an absolute badass in the pop culture moment that broke the internet: Lemonade
GIF

From Leo finally getting the Oscar to Drake finally getting the girl, from chasing Pokémon to standing mannequin still, from Taylor and Tom getting it on to Brangelina breaking it off. 2016 was a lot.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

1 Leo Finally Gets His Oscar

At the end of Feb, festivities sprang up across the globe as we all celebrated Leonardo DiCaprio finally getting his mitts on an Academy Award. After six nominations and a general acceptance that he's one of our greatest living actors, Leo won Best Actor for his part in the gruelling The Revenant. When he accepted the award, he used his speech to highlight climate change, causing a 261% spike in searches for the term 😍.

2 Beyonce Made Lemonade And We Couldn't Believe It

Beyonce was an absolute badass in the pop culture moment that broke the internet: Lemonade
GIF

Beyonce released the most explosive album of 2016, Lemonade. The internet was already excited at the prospect of new Bey, but when the visual album launched and we realised it was a scathing attack on cheating husbands, the internet exploded. No only was Beyonce's album a a warrior cry for all women who've suffered quietly in a fractured relationship, it also highlighted the Black Lives Matter movement, seamlessly blending politics, art and pop into a catchy package. Queen Bey, we salute you.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

3 Kanye West Made Himself Even More Famous

Kanye West seemed to be in the papers more than he was out of them, with the releas of the successful Life of Pablo, a rather disorganised fashion week collection and rumours of a recent breakdown. But it was his music video for Famous that really divided opinion this year. Inspired by artist Vincent Desiderio, the video features replicas of a number of celebrities lying naked in bed. Crucially, the majority of these celebrities seem not to have given their consent to the video, and many saw it as a massive violation.

4 The Pokémonaissance Happened

Everyones fave electric sidekick made a comeback when Pokémon Go mania swept the globe. There were good reports (it got people out of the house, walking became a thing, people were making friends) and bad (robberies, corpses, people getting run over and people falling off cliffs). In the end, it all became largely immaterial as the craze died down and everyone put their Pokéballs away.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

5 Frank Ocean Actually Released New Music

Frank Ocean's four year hiatus was much maligned. He went from hero, after the release of critically acclaimed Channel Orange, to zero when it seemed he would never release music again. Things peaked when #frankoceanisaliar began trending on Twitter, but in 2016 he finally came through with the quirky and conceptual Blonde. It was challenging and demanded something more than background listening from its audience. In an age of instant gratification and quick flicking, Frank Ocean managed to catch our attention and to hold it.

6 The Brangelina Split Made Us Lose Faith In Love

When Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt after twelve years together, people felt the split keenly. A lot of internet reactions centred around imagining Jennifer Aniston's smug response, but many other people were genuinely surprised by the news, fearing that it meant all love was doomed. It seemed Brangelina was the celeb couple we believed in, which is actually silly because we all know that should be Ant and Dec. Ant and Dec will never let us down, right?

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

7 Solange Secured Her Seat At The Table

Solange was the second Knowles sister to have a major pop culture moment in 2016. Her album, A Seat At The Table, was released to less fanfare than Bey's, but it soon became certain it was as much of a big hitter. It's a complex exploration of identity politics and what it means to be black in America. The album was her first to reach number one in the Billboard charts, proving that you can mix politics with pop.

8 JK Rowling Kept On Winning

2016 was blessed with not one, but two new stories from the Potter-verse. Trying to get tickets for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child double bill was trickier than Glasto. The production, which opened in July, received praise from critics and fans alike. Later in the year, Potter fans were also treated to a prequel film, following magical zoologist Newt Scamander's exploits in 1920s New York. It had the biggest UK debut opening of any film in the year, and received positive reviews.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

9 Hiddleswift Was On. Then Immediately Off Again.

In the wake of the Calvin Harris/Taylor Swift split (presumably because they never had a moniker we could refer to them with), Taylor seemed to find a new man. Hiddleswift, the mighty union of Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston, seemed destined for success. They both loved singing! And dancing! And working out! And going to the beach! Sadly, despite the flood of PDAs, they split after just three months together. Hiddleswift, it was brief but sweet.

10 People Stood Super Still And It Was Surprisingly Engrossing

The mannequin challenge, in which people stand very still and are filmed, exploded on to the social media scene in late 2016. Usually to the accompaniment of Rae Sremmurd's Black Beatles, it's had such glorified participants asTaylor Swift, Victoria Beckham, AdeleBlac Chyna, Cara Delevingne and Ellen Degeneres.

More from ELLE UK: