Our annual Newsmakers issue highlights the year’s highlights, lowlights, major moments and most important people. Read our Newsmakers 2016 stories here, and read on to see which people, events and moments Maclean’s named as the best and worst of 2016 in arts and culture.
The Canadian-made film Room won a Best Actress Academy Award for its star. It’s about . . . oh, what does it matter? It’s Canadian and it won!
Lemonade was her best-reviewed and most socially conscious album so far.
The McGill professor (not the Liberian dictator) won the first-ever Berggruen Prize for philosophy, with a very non-philosophical $1-million cash prize.
His book Hillbilly Elegy, about the rural people he grew up with, unexpectedly became the definitive book about the world of Trump voters.
The debut album by the Haitian-born Montreal hip-hop and electronic DJ, 99.9%, won the Polaris Music Prize.
The singer-songwriter won the Nobel Prize in Literature—and yet that was only the second-weirdest victory of the year.
The end of American Idol
The show that did more than any other to shape the entertainment world we live in today was finally cancelled. Bad for the producers, good for us.
He broke out of the ensemble cast of Community to create and star in his own successful show, Atlanta, and Star Wars snapped him up to star as young Lando in a prequel film.
His musical Hamilton cleaned up at the Tony Awards and got him a contract with Disney.
Samantha Bee and John Oliver helped Trump by telling liberals he couldn’t win, while Jimmy Fallon helped Trump by sucking up to him and mussing his hair.
There were so many failures that Screencrush described it as “the worst summer for movies in 15 years.” That was one of the nicer descriptions.
The director-star’s film The Birth of a Nation flopped at the box office and stirred up renewed attention to his acquittal in a rape trial.
Once the only reliably popular thing on television, ratings for football were way down in 2016, which could be the final blow to the collapsing U.S. networks.
The Walking Dead
This year the hate-watching was even stronger for the zombie show, after it began the season with a seemingly pointless character death.
The Canadian music star unveiled his own brand of whiskey, Virginia Black, a “decadent American whiskey.” Because stars need to encourage us to drink more.
‘American Psycho,’ the Musical
Yes, there was a Broadway musical based on the novel about a yuppie serial killer. At least it lasted longer than the musical of Carrie.
You thought this dying form couldn’t get any worse, and then 2016 unveiled more washed-up stars in tired premises, like Kevin James in the groan-inducingly titled Kevin Can Wait.
In a year of terrible movies, the latest film of the religious epic was of the biggest bombs in recent memory, hated by the religious and non-religious alike.
ARTS AND CULTURE IN 2016, BY THE NUMBERS
Number of years Sesame Street enthralled kids on PBS. Now, subscriber-only HBO is how you get there (to see first-run shows).
The number of VCRs made in 2015. In July, its chief manufacturer, Funai Electronic, announced it was stopping production.
North American box office for Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Brothers Grimsby, down 88 per cent from 2012’s The Dictator.