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The 20 Biggest, Craziest, and Most Inspiring Moments of 2017

Winter came to Westeros on Game of Thrones this year — finally. Meanwhile, we wished for a real-life Jon Snow to rescue us from the insanity of 2017. This year’s news cycle has been an emotional roller coaster, but along with heartbreaking headlines and difficult debates, we’ve witnessed empowering, history-making events and damn good entertainment.#TeamDianaPrince, anyone? This year POPSUGAR followed (and sparked) conversations about the inauguration, award season, the royals, and, of course, the many movies, TV shows, stars, and products that took over our social media feeds. From pop culture to politics, take a look back at some of 2017’s biggest cultural moments as the year comes to a close.
The Oscars Best Picture Mix-Up

The 2017 Oscars brought plenty of talked-about moments — we’ll never forget Nicole Kidman’s hilarious clapping — but the most jaw-dropping of all was the mix-up over the best picture award. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the award, and they announced . . . the wrong winner. Beatty had trouble reading the card and looked to Dunaway for assistance, and she announced La La Land as the winner. An Oscars producer recognized the mistake and took to the stage, and in one truly unforgettable move, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz said, “There’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture. This is not a joke. Moonlight has won best picture.” Cue some hilarious internet reactions.

The History-Making Women’s March

The day after the inauguration, millions of women across the world marched to protest against President Donald Trump. From Washington DC to LA and NYC to London, protesters convened, carrying powerful signs or wearing the so-called pink pussyhat. In the nation’s capital, the demonstration included speeches from notable activists and celebrities, including Gloria Steinem, America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Kamala Harris, and many more. The Women’s March ended up being the largest single-day protest in United States history and sent a defiant message to the incoming administration.

Wonder Woman Kicks Some Box-Office Ass

Actress Gal Gadot landed the leading role in Wonder Woman and won over fans in one of the year’s buzziest films. Not only did she bring the beloved superhero to life in the hit movie and inspire one of 2017’s most popular Halloween costumes, but she also signed on for theWonder Woman sequel and appeared in Justice League with her signature shield. Already, the movie has carved out its place in history as the highest-grossing live-action movie directed by a woman ever.

Royal Baby No. 3

Prince William and Kate Middleton are bringing another royal baby into the world! On Sept. 4, Kensington Palace released a statement announcing that Kate is pregnant with her third child, and their son or daughter will arrive in the Spring. Kate suffered from severe nausea and sickness again, so she held off on public appearances until she was feeling better, stepping out in early October for the first time since her pregnancy was announced. Since then, she’s been back in the public eye, playing tennis with kids and going glam for the Royal Variety Performance in London.

The Unicorn Frappuccino Takeover

In April, Starbucks released the vibrant and sugar-filled Unicorn Frappuccino, which instantlytook over our social media feeds and our lives. The drink was made with mango syrup and a sweet pink powder swirled with a sour blue powder, and although it was only available for a week, it made an impact on the world with store lines out the door and baristas losing their minds. The Unicorn Frappuccino was a smart way for Starbucks to get in on the unicorn craze of the year, and it inspired nail art, hair dye trends, and even pregnancy announcements. As for the taste? Well, it was definitely easier on the eyes than it was on the palate. Following its success, Starbucks released more Instagram-approved drinks, like the Mermaid Frappuccino, the Zombie Frappuccino, and the Vampire Frappuccino, but so far none have compared to the madness that was the Unicorn Frappuccino.

The (Binge-Worthy) Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book-turned-series that’s dominated the cultural conversation. The buzzy TV adaptation of the Margaret Atwood story premiered on Hulu in April, and just a few months later, it made history as the first show on a streaming platform to win an Emmy for outstanding series. Meanwhile, Elisabeth Moss added to her long list of awards when she took home outstanding lead actress in a drama for her starring role. A second season has already been confirmed to premiere in April 2018.

Hollywood Sexual Harassment Allegations and Activism

On Oct. 5, The New York Times published a monumental exposé detailing decades of sexual assault by Hollywood powerhouse producer Harvey Weinstein. Ashley Judd was one of the first actresses to come forward with her story, and the list of women who have accused Weinstein has grown to more than 60. The Weinstein allegations have had a ripple effect on the industry as more women — and men — have felt comfortable speaking out about unwanted sexual behavior from other Hollywood men, including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn. This year marked a powerful cultural shift in the fight for accountability, and with celebrities voicing their support for victims, countless women sharing#MeToo stories, and companies taking action, the conversation is moving in the right direction.

The 13 Reasons Why Obsession

Netflix’s adaptation of Jay Asher’s bestselling 2007 novel, 13 Reasons Why, premiered in March and quickly became one of the most talked-about shows of the year. Praised for itshonest depiction of teen suicide, 13 Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker, who explains what led to her suicide in a series of 13 heartbreaking cassette tapes she leaves behind. Despite its popularity, the show was also met with criticism by some who claimed the format glorifies suicide, but a writer of the show passionately claimed the message is that “suicide is not a relief at all,” and the cast weighed in on the most controversial scene. Off screen, the 13 Reasons Why cast won over fans with their fun friendships and social media snaps, and we can expect to see even more of them next year. Netflix has confirmed plans for a second season premiering in 2018, which will focus on the aftermath of Hannah’s death.

The Solar Eclipse

As if the year couldn’t get any stranger, droves of people across the nation congregated outside to stare up at the sun with special and highly coveted glasses. On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse took place in the United States. The rare solar event hadn’t happened since 1991 and will not happen again in the US until 2024. In the nation’s capital, Donald Trump and his family gathered to check out the solar eclipse — although the president did not follow instructions and was caught looking directly at the sun. Aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, Bonnie Tyler even performed her iconic song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in honor of what has been dubbed The Great American Eclipse.

Beauty and the Beast Mania

It’s a tale as old as time: Disney remaking one of its classic princess films and inciting widespread nostalgia. Surrounding the March 2017 release of a live-action Beauty and the Beast, princess Belle truly was the belle of the ball. The film gave older millennials who grew up with the cartoon a chance to share their passion with a new, younger generation of fans, and there was a flood of successful Disney merchandise to prove it. From movie-themed cosmetic releases and bridal lines to BATB-inspired housewares and rose-embroidered fitness apparel, 2017 reinvigorated fans’ love for Beauty and the Beast.

Rihanna’s Huge Fenty Beauty Release

This year, Rihanna went from mega pop star to makeup mogul seemingly overnight. After announcing Fenty Beauty in September with a diverse campaign video, Rihanna unveiled her debut line consisting of contour sticks, blinding highlighters, and an astounding range of 40 foundations. Instead of resting on the brand’s initial success, Rihanna continued to release industry-changing products, including an expansive holiday collection as well as a red lipstickin her signature fiery shade. Time even named Fenty Beauty one of the year’s best innovations, affirming what was already clear to makeup-lovers everywhere.

Taylor Swift’s Headline-Grabbing Return

After stepping out of the spotlight for a while, the “new” Taylor Swift emerged to announce the death of old Taylor and drop a record-breaking pop album, Reputation. While fanslistened to her new music on repeat, people inevitably dove into the lyrics to figure out who Taylor was singing about in each song. She skipped interviews and the typical promotion cycle for the album, instead penning a heartfelt letter about her music and her message. Meanwhile, following a handful of performances on SNL and The Tonight Show, the singer also announced the first dates for her upcoming tour. Translation: Taylor will steal plenty of headlines in 2018, too.

The Game of Thrones #Jonerys Coupling

There were plenty of reasons for Game of Thrones fans to obsess over season seven: theshocking deaths, the crazy cliffhangers, and the WHITE WALKER DRAGON. But the most exciting moments were any and all scenes involving Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. From the moment the two characters met to that supersteamy and truly unforgettable scene in the season finale, fans basically lost their minds over the ice-and-fire union. The bad news? All that excitement will have to hold us over until 2019, when Game of Thrones season eight is set to air.

Celebrity Baby Buzz (and Twins!)

This year, we welcomed a new generation of squishy-cheeked celebrity babies into the world. While stars like Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian became parents for the first time, others expanded their famous families, and fans watched in suspense while waiting for the first photos of the future superstars. No couples dominated baby headlines quite like the Clooneys and the Carters, who both welcomed twins. (Flashback to Beyoncé’s instantly iconicpregnancy announcement.) Soon after George and Amal became parents to Alexander and Ella in June, Beyoncé and JAY-Z welcomed Sir and Rumi, sending the internet into a tailspin.

Fidget Spinner Madness

Chances are if you left the house at any point during the last year, you saw someone spinning one of those crazy, propeller-like toys. Fidget spinners fell into the hands of people of all ages — so much so that they were banned from schools across the country for being disruptive in class. But the toy isn’t just a way for kids to keep their hands off an iPad or avoid a math lesson at school; fidget spinners are said to be an effective tool for combating nervousness and anxiety-driven behaviors. It seems like every street vendor in Manhattan added fidget spinners to its lineup of beverages and weekly magazines, and even celebrities caught on to the trend. Meanwhile, the fidget spinner inspired Halloween costumes, bath bombs, anddelicious pizza treats, making it hands down the most talked-about toy of 2017.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Engagement

After months of rumors and memorable moments in the spotlight, Prince Harry and Suitsactress Meghan Markle announced their engagement in late November. Due to wed in Spring 2018, the adoring couple sparked internet mayhem with the news, inciting the sort of royal-wedding enthusiasm last reserved for the nuptials of Kate Middleton and Harry’s older brother, Prince William, in 2011. The Harry and Meghan obsession will undoubtedly continue into the forseeable future as we wait to see the royal pair tie the knot!

The Stranger Things Craze

Stranger Things fans were sent into a full-on binge-watching frenzy when the highly anticipated second season of the Netflix series dropped on Oct. 27. The season certainly lives up to the hype that accrued during the show’s yearlong hiatus, delivering notable new characters like Bob the Brain, MadMax, Billy, and Billy’s glorious ’80s-style mullet, which is a character all its own. The show’s second season had an even larger cultural impact than season one; the Demogorgon-fighting kids of Hawkins inspired everything from makeup looksand dessert-decorating ideas to tattoos and home decor accents — not to mention the newfound character crushes this season inspired, like Chief Jim Hopper and Steve Harrington’s luscious hair. It’s clear that the Stranger Things obsession runs deep, and it’s certainly not calming down until season three.

HGTV Hype

On Sept. 26, you could practically hear jaws (and tears) hitting the floor when Chip and Joanna Gaines announced that Fixer Upper would come to an end after its fifth season. Fans of the HGTV home-improvement series immediately took to social media to express their genuine sadness and shock over the news, which ripped viewers’ shiplap-loving hearts to shreds. Chip and Joanna were quick to explain why the show was coming to an end, saying they bid adieu to the series to take a breather and spend more time with their four children, who have grown up in the limelight. The silver lining that helped fans cope with the shock? Chip and Joanna launched a huge lifestyle brand, Hearth & Hand With Magnolia, a massive line of home and lifestyle products available to shop at Target. If you need us, you can find us religiously watching every episode of season five of Fixer Upper while shopping away online.

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer

It would be an understatement to say that the US desperately needed some comic relief to distract from the dumpster fire that was the state of politics this year. That very necessary relief came in the form of a wig-adorned, business suit-sporting Melissa McCarthy, who posed as now-former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in a series of wildly hilariousSaturday Night Live skits as a surprise special guest. McCarthy didn’t hold back while exaggerating her impersonations of Spicer’s disgruntled, tense demeanor during press conferences, and each appearance had us cry-laughing. Months after McCarthy first gracedSNL viewers with “Spicey,” she suited up again for a hysterical treat: she literally rode through the streets of NYC on a motorized press room podium, terrorizing people in traffic along the way. Her podium-riding shtick was part of yet another LOL-worthy SNL skit with an even funnier blooper reel. Thank you, Melissa, for saving us all from our political fatigue. We are forever indebted to you.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Excitement

At the start of the year, most people might have assumed that the word “porg” was some sort of typo, but by the end of 2017, practically everybody knows and loves the latest adorable Star Wars creature. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the highly anticipated sequel to 2015’s popular Star Wars reboot, didn’t need any Jedi mind tricks to earn the enthusiasm of millions; every bit of news surrounding the film was met with detailed fan theories and widespread internet adoration. Though it won’t crash-land into theaters until the very end of the year, there’s no question that Star Wars: The Last Jedi blew up more than Alderaan in 2017.

 

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Millie Holmes

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