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263 posts
SZA
SZA (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

In 2017, we needed entertainment more than ever — as both a way to make sense of the chaos going on in the world, and a salve and means of escape. Some of the highlights: Jordan Peele's indie darling "Get Out," which did blockbuster numbers at the box office ($175 million, to be exact) and ushered in a robust year for indie films ("Lady Bird"! "Three Billboards"! "The Big Sick"!). We saw “around the way girls” Tiffany Haddish and Cardi B defy the odds and conquer 2017 armed with big dreams and a killer sense of humor. And women in both titular and in supporting roles stole the show in the year's biggest blockbusters (we're looking at you, Gal Gadot and Kelly Marie Tran). Here are our picks for the biggest breakouts of the year.

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Kent Damon, left, and his son Matt attend the premiere of "The Town" at Fenway Park in Boston on Sept 14, 2010.
Kent Damon, left, and his son Matt attend the premiere of "The Town" at Fenway Park in Boston on Sept 14, 2010. (Bryce Vickmark / Getty Images)

News came over the holiday weekend that Kent Damon, the father of Oscar winner Matt Damon, has died after a years-long battle with cancer. He was 74.

Kent Damon died on Dec. 14 after complications from multiple myeloma, a rare blood disease that affects the bone marrow, the actor’s rep Jennifer Allen confirmed to the Associated Press on Saturday.

Damon’s father was diagnosed with disease in 2010 and the condition worsened over the last few months. The actor, who has diligently worked to raise money and awareness for cancer research and treatment since the diagnosis, shared his father’s prognosis while promoting Alexander Payne’s eco-conscious satire “Downsizing” earlier this month.

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  • Birthdays
(David Kawashima / For The Los Angeles Times)

Listen, buddy after 20 years in the business, I don't have to prove anything to anybody —  I'm here to add, not to subtract. There are a lot of people that hate Ricky Martin. I am not going to think about that. I'm going to think about the people who really appreciate what I've done for music.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Livin’ the serious life

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey (Kirk Mckoy / Los Angeles Times)

“It’s a fraud! It’s a fraud! IT’S A FRAUD!” says Oprah Winfrey.

The TV mogul has warned her millions of followers that deceptive social media accounts are trying to bamboozle her fans.

Multiple fraudulent accounts appropriating Winfrey’s name, avatar and her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) have popped up promising monetary Christmas rewards to followers and then asking for money.

  • Celebrity
Bill Hader and Maggie Carey in 2014.
Bill Hader and Maggie Carey in 2014. (Adrian Sanchez-Gonzales / AFP/Getty Images)

“Saturday Night Live” alum Bill Hader and his wife, Maggie Carey, have called it quits after 11 years of marriage.

Hader filed his divorce petition on Thursday, according to documents obtained by the Blast.

Reps for actor-producer Hader, 39, and Carey, a screenwriter and director, did not immediately respond to The Times’ requests for comment. 

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  • Birthdays
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

True artistic experience is when you walk out [of the theater] different. Something's happened to your soul, to your mind, your information lines, anything. Entertainment, which is fine, doesn't do that. The artistic experience should change you. I want to be part of that a little more, in the third act of my life.

  • TV
  • Music
  • Celebrity
Britney Spears.
Britney Spears. (Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press)

Britney Spears will usher in 2018 on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest,” the show announced Thursday. 

Spears will perform “Toxic” and “Work B**ch” from Las Vegas, where she’s wrapping her four-year “Britney: Piece of Me” residency on Dec. 31. 

While Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy anchor the ABC show from Times Square in New York, Lucy Hale will host in New Orleans and Ciara will hold down the fort in Hollywood. 

  • TV
  • Politics
  • Late-night

House and Senate Republicans have passed their sweeping tax plan, and boy, did Seth Meyers have words about that. The “Late Night” host tore into Republicans, the president and the GOP tax bill itself on Wednesday night. 

Republicans passed a sweeping overhaul of the tax code that will overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthy, amounting to nothing less than a brazen heist of the country,” said Meyers.

He pointed out that “despite all evidence to the contrary,” Donald Trump refused to admit that the tax plan actually only really benefits the richest Americans. 

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  • Movies
Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgård star in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

The internet was filled with the dulcet tones of ABBA Thursday morning after Universal Pictures released the first trailer for “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” 

The highly anticipated look at the sequel to 2008’s “Mamma Mia!” opens with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) surrounded by friends of her mother (Christine Baranski and Julie Taylor) who have arrived to help her with impending motherhood.

But where, precisely, is Sophie’s titular mother Donna, played by Meryl Streep?

  • Celebrity
(Alexi Lubomirski / Associated Press)

As if Prince Harry and fiancée Meghan Markle weren’t picturesque enough, the couple had to go and release their stunning engagement portraits to further show off how picture-perfect they are.

The British prince and “Suits” actress initially shared two official portraits on Thursday to mark their engagement, Kensington Palace said. Then, to show gratitude for all the positive feedback they received, the pair shared with their well-wishers an additional candid portrait via Twitter.

“The couple are so grateful for the warm and generous messages they have received during such a happy time in their lives. As a way to say thank you, they have decided to share this candid photograph from the day of their portrait sittings directly with all of you,” the palace said on Twitter.