Welcome back to your weekly recap of pop culture news! Finals season can be incredibly time consuming. Between papers, exams and projects, it can be tough to keep up with the world around you. Look no further, we’re here to catch you up to speed.
The Academy Awards
Hollywood’s biggest night returned and as expected, there were triumphs, awkward moments and shocking winners! Sunday night started off with a very cinematic entrance featuring Oscar-winning actress and director Regina King strutting through Union Station in Los Angeles, where the 93rd Academy Awards took place. King assured the world that they were treating the event like a movie set, attendees were socially distancing and while cameras were on, they’d have their masks off.
Fan and critic favorite Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya was responsible for the night’s first truly memorable moment when he mentioned his parents’ sex life, “You got to celebrate life, man! We're breathing, walking, it's incredible. It's incredible. Like, it's incredible. My mom met dad, they had sex. It's amazing.”
The night had history-making achievements as well: Yuh-Jung Youn won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Soonja in Minari, making her the first Korean actor to win an Oscar; Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to be nominated and win Best Director for Nomadland; and Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson were the first Black women to be nominated and win Best Makeup and Hairstyling for their work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Nomadland took home the most prestigious statuette of Best Picture, which was peculiarly handed out earlier than usual. Frances McDormand won her third Best Actress Oscar for her role as Fern in Nomadland. The last award of the night was Best Actor and awarded to Anthony Hopkins for his role in The Father, leaving viewers stunned because everyone was expecting the late Chadwick Boseman to win. Hopkins wasn’t attending the Oscars so the night just… ended right there, very anticlimactic.
Billie Eilish Announces New Album and More!
This past Tuesday, Billie Eilish surprised fans everywhere with the title, release date, artwork and the tracklist for her sophomore album. More than two years after her incredibly successful debut, Happier Than Ever will officially be released on July 30th. With a refreshing new look, Billie poses on the cover and finally gives us a peek into the new era of her career she's been teasing since February.
As if that wasn’t enough, the twelfth song off the album, “Your Power,” was released as a single on Thursday along with a self-directed music video! The video features Billie in the Simi Valley desert as an anaconda tightens around her body while the song reflects on unhealthy power dynamics in relationships.
The tracklist for Happier Than Ever includes:
01 “Getting Older”
02 “I Didn’t Change My Number”
03 “Billie Bossa Nova”
04 “my future”
07 “Lost Cause”
08 “Halley’s Comet”
09 “Not My Responsibility”
11 “Everybody Dies”
12 “Your Power”
14 “Therefore I Am”
15 “Happier Than Ever”
16 “Male Fantasy”
Lana Del Rey’s New Album Cover Leaves Fans in Disbelief
On Tuesday, Lana Del Rey announced that her new album, Blue Banisters will be released on July 4th. Along with her announcement came the album cover, and to say that it left fans unimpressed is an understatement. “It’s so tiring being a Lana stan these days,” a fan tweeted. “I cannot keep defending her. The PicsArt cover…”
The “PicsArt cover” refers to the sepia-filtered, previously-posted selfie that Lana chose for her album cover, supplemented by an inelegant white frame and curly blue font that resembles the same stickers and font available on PicsArt, an amateur photo-editing app. Fans are so disappointed by the haphazard-looking cover that they’ve started a petition on Change.org to ban Lana from PicsArt. As of yesterday afternoon, over 3,700 fans have signed.
Here’s to hoping Lana’s new album makes up for the cover art. Or, that she can at least use Canva for her next one.
The Hype House is Getting Its Own Netflix Show
Yes, you read that right. The members of the Hype House, one of the most popular creative collectives on TikTok with a combined follower count of 126.5 million, are getting a reality show on Netflix that will follow the lives of Hype House members Kouvr Annon, Nikita Dragun, Sienna Mae Gomez, Chase Hudson, Larri Merritt, Thomas Petrou, Alex Warren and Jack Wright. Charlie D’Amelio, Dixie D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and the Lopez Brothers are previous members of the Hype House but will not be in the cast of the reality show.
The show does not yet have a release date, but Netflix announced Thursday on Twitter that the unscripted series will “reveal a side of [the Hype House] that we rarely see,” including the relationships among members of the group. The storyline of the series is still unknown, but for those curious about how the TikTok stars will fare on a set beyond their iPhone cameras and a ring light, keep your eyes peeled this summer.
Willow Smith Goes Pop-Punk
Willow is sending us back to our angst era (and to those of you that never left it: hello, lovely to be back). She departed from her angelic R&B sound and took up a new one in the new track “Transparent Soul,” stylized as "t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l," going full pop-punk and even bringing along Blink-182’s Travis Barker for a feature on the drums.
The head-banging ballad is accompanied by a music video, featuring Willow in an all black outfit and makeup with large combat boots and a chain necklace. I could almost see it: this video playing on MTV as I got ready to go to school.
“I am so grateful for this tune because it was created in such an introspective time [during the first couple months of quarantine],” Willow said in a statement. “It was the song that proved to me that I needed to let go of the insecurities I had about making a project of this genre.”
This tune is just a peek into her forthcoming album and we can’t wait for more!