TND’s Newsmakers of the Year, No.11 to No.2


The singer has reached new heights in her already stellar career. Photo: Getty

If there were any lingering doubts about the singer’s claim to pop royalty hall of fame, they would have been thoroughly quashed after Swift’s record year.

And don’t just take our word for it: Time magazine even crowned Swift this year’s Person of the Year, a title last held by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2022.

Swift kicked off her Eras Tour in March, with the each round of ticket releases sparking a frenzy among her fans (dubbed ‘Swifties’).

The tour is estimated to have contributed more than $4 billion ($6 billion) to the US economy, and is predicted to generate a $405 million boost to Australia’s economy next year; local fans have already flooded Spotlight stores in search of materials for friendship bracelets, which are swapped among concertgoers at Swift’s shows.

Her concert film broke box office records, and her success will examined during an upcoming academic conference in Australia.

But the latter months of the year brought hard times, with the death of Brazilian fan Ana Clara Benevides Machado at Swift’s first concert in Rio de Janeiro in November, and criticism over the singer’s pattern of “cash grabs”.

The wicketkeeper found himself in hot water with England’s fans this year. Photo: AAP

Carey ended 2022 on a high after scoring his first Test century, but his penchant for a reverse sweep came under fire from fans and his wife alike this year.

But it was his controversial stumping of English player Jonny Bairstow in the Ashes series in England that thrust Carey into an unwelcome – and abusive – spotlight.

The Ashes ended with Australia and England locked at 2-2, but the ill will from England’s supporters lingered, forcing Carey to temporarily delete Instagram from his phone to escape the online torrent of vitriol aimed at him and his family.

Carey’s form slumped, likely leading to his omission from the World Cup team, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the star wicketkeeper as he is expected to keep his Test spot.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s widely mocked arrest photo became a powerful fundraising tool for his campaign. Photo: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office

The 2024 presidential hopeful has spent the year buried under a mountain of legal attacks; in fact, Trump made history as he became the first former US president to face federal criminal charges.

In May, a jury found Trump guilty of sexually abusing magazine writer E. Jean Carroll, and then defaming her by branding her a liar.

Following the verdict, Trump continued to claim he didn’t know who Carroll was and appealed against the decision, which had awarded Carroll $US5 million ($7.4 million) in damages.

He stands accused of numerous other crimes, including but not limited to, inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to dupe lenders and insurers, orchestrating a plot to try to overturn his election loss and mishandling classified documents.

The October 7 attack strengthened international support for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Photo: AP

The Israel-Palestine conflict has been ongoing for decades, but the October 7 attack by Hamas that left more than 1000 Israelis dead with hundreds taken hostage thrust the issue back into the international spotlight.

It also gave Israel, led by Netanyahu, the platform to launch unprecedented attacks on Gaza, which have killed almost 21,000 Palestinians by the last week of December.

Israel’s fight against Hamas is widely supported by the West, but Netanyahu has resisted international calls for a ceasefire beyond the four-day November truce, despite the significant loss of Palestinian civilian lives.

Netanyahu has also been criticised within Israel for failing to stop the October 7 attack, despite evidence showing the Israeli military was aware of plans for an attack before it took place, and for prioritising attacking Hamas over freeing hostages.

Before October 7, Netanyahu’s leadership appeared in danger, with Israel’s longest-serving prime minister facing nationwide protests over a planned judicial overhaul and multiple corruption charges.

The corruption trial is set to resume after taking a break due to the October 7 attack.

Barry Humphries

Barry Humphries was widely remembered for his contributions to Australian entertainment. Photo: AAP

The man behind iconic characters such as Dame Edna Everage, Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone died in April at the age of 89 after suffering complications from hip replacement surgery he’d undergone earlier in the year.

He had been due to tour Australia with his show, The Man Behind the Mask.

Humphries, who was also a painter, author, poet and art collector, died surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren; his passing prompted a flood of tributes from fans, friends and politicians.

He was posthumously awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) on the King’s Birthday Honour’s List for “eminent service to the arts as a comedian, actor, author, satirist and entertainer, to the promotion of Australian culture, and as a patron of organisations”.

A special state memorial co-hosted by the Victorian, NSW and Commonwealth governments was held at the Sydney Opera House in December.

The Australian actor has Princess Diana’s iconic head tilt down pat. Photo: Netflix

The French-born Australian actor made her first big on-screen appearance of the year in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 as the film’s antagonist, Ayesha, High Priestess of a golden-hued alien race.

The rest of Debicki’s year has been relatively quiet, but it is set to finish on a high as she takes her final bow as Princess Diana in Netflix’s The Crown.

Debicki took over the role from Emma Corrin in 2020, an opportunity she described at the time as a “true privilege and honour”.

Her portrayal of the Queen of Hearts won Debicki praise from critics and fans alike, along with an Emmy nomination.

Before the release of the second instalment of The Crown‘s final season, Debicki gathered with fellow cast members in London to bid the show a final goodbye.

Sarah Snook was among the Succession cast that accepted the show’s Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2022. Photo: AAP

She might not be a household name (yet), but Snook has quietly been the star of one of world’s biggest sleeper-hit shows for years.

Her turn as Succession‘s Shiv Roy has netted her a loyal fanbase and three Emmy nominations, and although the HBO/Binge series aired its fourth and final season this year, Snook’s career still appears to be ramping up.

Going back to her Australian roots this year, Snook earned rave reviews for her performance in Australian psychological horror film Run Rabbit Run; she also added her voice for animated sitcom Koala Man, alongside Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Next year, Snook will take Sydney Theatre Company’s one-woman show The Picture of Dorian Gray to London’s West End, in what will be her first theatre role in years.

Snook also made a big reveal about her private life this year, announcing the birth of her first child with her husband, Australian actor Dave Lawson.

Margot Robbie couldn’t seem to make a wrong move this year. Photo: Warner Bros.

One of Australia’s biggest Hollywood stars got even bigger this year thanks to the mammoth success of Barbie.

The film made more than $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) in box office ticket sales, and Robbie – who served as the film’s producer through her company LuckyChap Entertainment – is laughing all the way to the bank amid reports she is set to make $US50 million ($77 million) in salary and box office bonuses.

That’s in addition to the reported $19 million Robbie made upfront for her lead role in the film.

Barbie wasn’t just a financial success for Robbie, who emphasised the importance of showing studios that original, female-led projects can be successful.

She finished off the year with the release of a LuckyChap Entertainment production, dark comedy Saltburn, which starred fellow Aussie actor Jacob Elordi and made headlines for some of its unconventional sex scenes.

Robbie’s next starring role will reportedly see her team up with Barbie co-star Ryan Gosling for an Ocean’s Eleven prequel.

The embattled Qantas boss stepped down from his role two months earlier than planned. Photo: AAP

As the world’s airlines recover from pandemic border restrictions, the reputation of Qantas continued to take hit after hit.

The issues faced by Qantas this year included, but were not limited to, the airline’s outsourcing of 1700 jobs during the pandemic being ruled illegal by the High Court; coming under fire for successfully lobbying the government to block Qatar Airways from increasing domestic routes; and allegations of misleading ticket prices from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

At the centre of the storm was CEO Alan Joyce, who drew criticism for the job cuts, Qantas’ poor customer satisfaction, and pocketing $21.4 million as CEO over the previous financial year while Australians faced rising airfares.

Joyce stepped down as CEO in September – two months earlier than planned – with the airline’s chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson taking his place.

The shadow minister was on the receiving end of death threats at the tail-end of the No campaign. Photo: AAP

The Indigenous Voice referendum proved to be one of the year’s most divisive issues, and politicians led the way as the country debated the proposed alteration to Australia’s Constitution, and Nampijinpa Price was one of the No camp’s biggest voices.

She was promoted to the shadow cabinet after Liberal MP Julian Leeser resigned from the frontbench to campaign in favour of a Yes vote.

Nampijinpa Price’s views, and her assertion that colonialism has had no ongoing negative impacts on Indigenous people, often put her at loggerheads with many of her parliamentary colleagues and members of the Aboriginal community.

She was also bombarded with death threats and abuse after thousands of No campaign text messages were sent out in her name.

But Nampijinpa Price isn’t letting the attacks get in the way of her blossoming political career; speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, she didn’t rule out the possibility of seeking the prime ministership in the future.

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