As 2023 comes to a close, Entertainment Weekly’s list of Entertainers of the year includes Barbenheimer, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce among others.
It’s that time of year again. As the holidays are approaching, another year is coming to a close as 2023 is about to transform into 2024. With that comes the annual rundown in various publications and media of some of the biggest events of the year and individuals who made an impact. Entertainment Weekly shared its list of Entertainers of the Year for 2023 and it proved that there were many highlights.
One highlight was the Barbenheimer phenomenon when the films Barbie and Oppenheimer were released on the same July day. Both became incredibly successful at the box office, exceeding expectations and were popular among fans for being two movies with completely different tones but able to both thrive, proving audiences are appealed by all types of films.
In December, Variety paired Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy, the respective leads of Barbie and Oppenheimer, in an Actors-on-Actors conversation, further showing the popularity and intrigue of two completely different films thriving together.
Taylor Swift had an incredible 2023. The singer-songwriter’s Eras Tour, “broke the record for the highest-grossing music tour ever.” The Eras Tour concert film allowed Swift to go beyond the studios, “going directly to movie theaters for distribution, selling out cinemas across the country and earning nearly $250 million worldwide.”
Swifties tuned into the NFL more when the news of her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce became known, uniting two totally different fandoms. This is not to mention the success of her latest re-recorded album, 1989 (Taylor’s Version), being her 13th number-one album on the Billboard 200. All that plus being selected as TIME’s Person of the Year shows Taylor was definitely a stand out in the world of entertainment for 2023.
However, Taylor isn’t the only singer who had a superstar year in 2023. Beyonce has embarked on her record-breaking Renaissance World Tour, which became the, “highest-grossing tour for not only an R&B artist but a Black artist.”
If that wasn’t enough, it became the second highest-grossing tour every by a female artist, only behind Swift’s Eras Tour. The tour was critically acclaimed and even showcased choreography from Beyonce’s daughter, 11-year old Blue Ivy.
The tour received a documentary, titled Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce, through Beyonce’s distribution agreement with AMC Theaters. The film has also received critical acclaim, further demonstrating how much of a force Beyonce is.
Country pop singer Kelsea Ballerini was also selected as an Entertainer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly. With the success of her fourth studio album, Subject to Change, which released in the fall of 2022, Ballerini continued to ride the wave of popularity with her short film and “highly personal” EP, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat in February 2023, promoting it through such avenues as Saturday Night Live. In August, she released an extended version of the EP, now titled Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (For Good).
She received a CMA Awards nomination for Album of the Year and a Grammy nomination for Best Country album. Ballerini definitely had a positive 2023.
Returning to the world of acting and film, Pedro Pascal definitely has a lot to celebrate from 2023. After receiving acclaim for his roles in Game of Thrones and Narcos, his starring part in The Mandalorian helped make Pascal a household name.
In 2023, he had a string of successful performances, including the lead role as Joel in the critically acclaimed television adaptation of the popular video game, The Last of Us and hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, both which earned him Primetime Emmy nominations. He even had a starring role in a Pedro Almodovar short film, Strange Way of Life. There was never too much of Pascal and many loved seeing him in such a variety of roles.
Actress Ayo Edebiri had her breakout moment for her performance in the first season of The Bear in 2022, and she continued her momentum into 2023. She continued to play as young chef Sydney Adamu in The Bear‘s second season, and she appeared in various hit shows such as Abbott Elementary and Black Mirror, along with providing voice work in Big Mouth and on the big screen in both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and the critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
In addition to that, she also made audiences laugh with her comedic roles in the films Theater Camp and Bottoms. Edebiri is a rising young star and by the looks of her 2023, many more great things are to come from her in the future.
Sasha Colby won the 15th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and has received praise for her activism against anti-transgender legislation and was able to speak at Vice President Kamala Harris’ annual Pride Month celebration at the White House. She is the first Drag Race winner of Native Hawaiian and Polynesian descent, continuing to make history.
Jury Duty is a new sitcom that received Primetime Emmy nominations including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for James Mardsen, and two Golden Globe nominations.
The show is unique in that Amazon Freevee took a chance in showcasing a show where, “the trial is fake and everyone is an improv actor playing a role except for the ‘hero,’ Ronald Gladden, a normal guy who has no idea this was not an official jury duty summons.” It’s not often you see a new type of series, and Jury Duty stood out by taking those risks with successful results.
Vanderpump Rules, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills spinoff that focuses on Lisa Vanderpump and the staff at her various bars and restaurants in West Hollywood, California, brought more interest in reality TV amidst a cheating scandal among some of the cast members, and lead to guilty pleasure television.
Finally, M3gan, the character from the film M3gan about an artificially intelligent doll who soon becomes hostile towards anyone who comes between her and her child companion, was a hit in 2023, with her dances going viral, along with a cover of Sia’s “Titanium”, and many social media posts absolutely loving the character.
From Barbenheimer, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift to Pedro Pascal and M3gan, 2023 brought many pop culture moments and makes audiences wonder what new sensational moments, breakout stars, and unforgettable years for familiar favorites will come from the world of television, music, and film in 2024.