As award season steadily marches on with the 66th Grammy Awards, the entertainment fodder for us mere mortals watching from home only piles up. Taylor Swift makes history with most Album of the Year wins (four) (still, yawn), Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish lead with 'Flowers' and 'What Was I Made For' respectively, and Skrillex gets recognised for Best Dance/Electronic Recording (wait, dude's still around?).
Apart from those headlines, here are some key moments that the Internet's been buzzing about.
While accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z had a couple of notes to raise about the system in an overall humorous speech.
“I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won Album of the Year," he said of his wife Beyoncé, who looked on in the audience with an expression two notches down from a Chrissy Teigen meme, "So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that. The most Grammys. Never won Album of the Year. That doesn’t work.”
The rapper/producer went on to deliver some hard truths about the nominations, but also acknowledged that music is subjective. It's giving "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you", but he might just have a point. Last year, Beyoncé became the most awarded artist in Grammy history with only one win in a Big Four category and Renaissance was snubbed. Altogether, the power couple have each been nominated six times for Album of the Year but never took it home.
Never knew we needed a Grammy for audiobooks, but here we are. As host Trevor Noah points out, “They’re really hard to twerk to, but they’re still great.”
Another notable new category would be Best African Music Performance, which 22-year-old South African singer Tyla made history for winning. With the number of times we heard/saw 'Water' in 2023, this makes sense.
We don't know why but let's just roll with it.
Less of a weird thing and more of a good one, the singer-songwriter gave a rare live performance of her timeless classic alongside Luke Combs in a duet rendition (you may have heard the latter's cover). The hit first won Chapman Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1989.
Shortly after winning Best Rap Album (Michael), Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, (Scientists and Engineers featuring Andre 3000, Future and Eryn Allen Kane), Killer Mike was booked for “misdemeanor battery”. The 48-year-old rapper was escorted out in handcuffs after an alleged physical altercation backstage. Way to celebrate a win.
It's time to fire up your Oscars ballots, folks. On Tuesday morning, Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid announced the nominees for the 2024 Academy Awards.
Surprise, surprise: Oppenheimer led the field with 13 nominations. The film about theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was recognised for Best Picture, Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Actor (Cillian Murphy), Best Supporting Actress (Emily Blunt), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.), Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Original Score, Makeup & Hairstyling, Editing, Sound, and Production Design.
Meanwhile, Poor Things exceeded expectations with 11 nominations, while Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon garnered 10 nominations. In what's easily the biggest shocker of the morning, Barbie failed to break double digits at this year's Academy Awards, with just eight nominations in total. Though the film was nominated for Best Picture, director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie were both snubbed from the field. However, Ryan Gosling was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, America Ferrera was tapped for Best Supporting Actress, and Gerwig earned a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Other big winners include American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, The Holdovers, Maestro, Past Lives, Poor Things, and The Zone of Interest. They'll compete against Barbie and Oppenheimer for Best Picture. Paul Giamatti and Cillian Murphy will square off in the Best Actor race, alongside Maestro's Bradley Cooper, Rustin's Colman Domingo, and American Fiction's Jeffrey Wright.
Leonardo DiCaprio's exclusion from the Best Supporting Actor list may come as a shock, but the actor has always had a strange relationship with the Academy Awards. Remember, he had to fight a bear in 2015's The Revenant to finally win the coveted award. With Margot Robbie out of the Best Actress race, this year's awards-season mainstays—Flower Moon's Lily Gladstone and Poor Things' Emma Stone—are now joined by Maestro's Carey Mulligan, Nyad's Annette Bening, and Anatomy of a Fall's Sandra Huller.
Elsewhere in the field, Best International Feature Film nominations included Wim Wenders's Perfect Days (Japan), Society of the Snow (Spain), The Zone of Interest (UK), The Teacher's Lounge (Germany), and lo capitano (Italy). Anatomy of a Fall—which is up for Best Picture—and France's other critically acclaimed film of the year, The Taste of Things, both fell short. Many Best Documentary Feature titles came as a surprise, including nominations for Bobi Wine: The People’s President, The Eternal Memory, Four Daughters, To Kill a Tiger, and the timely 20 Days in Mariupol.
In the Best Animated Feature competition, Hayao Miyazaki's The Boy and the Heron, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Pixar's Elemental, Netflix's Nimona, and surprise international contender Robot Dreams will duke it out. As for Best Original Song, Barbie's "I'm Just Ken" and Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" will battle it out for the golden statue. They'll see competition from "Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)" from Killers of the Flower Moon, "It Never Went Away" from American Symphony, and "The Fire Inside" from the Eva Longoria-directed Flamin’ Hot.
Other snubs include the performance of May December, which received praise for Charles Melton, Natalie Portman, and Juliane Moore's turns, only to walk away with one Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The Color Purple also received just one nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Danielle Brooks). Ferrari, Asteroid City, Priscilla, Napoleon, AIR, Bottoms, Origin, and All of Us Strangers were completely excluded from the final list of nominations.
The 96th Academy Awards will air on ABC on March 10, with Jimmy Kimmel hosting for the fourth time.
Tech nerds, how are we feeling about 2024? Are y'all freaking out about all the new things and dohickeys that are getting released at CES? Sorry if that sounded like I'm talking down on CES, it wasn't meant to be. However, I'm just a lowly tech editor who is a little bit sick of everything that everyone seems to be freaking out about. We're at a point where there's so much tech that most of the things we hype up are, honestly... not that great.
We've got tech in our hands, tech over our eyes, tech in our homes, tech on our kitchen counters, and tech in our bedroom. Even our paper notebooks are tech-enabled. Hell, we're using tech to wake us up instead of the sun. So where is any one person meant to keep up with all the tech that actually matters? Right here.
I've kept an eye on the early-year releases, and I've kept tabs on what is actually moving the needle for me. Is the new tactile iPhone keyboard from Clicks moving the needle for me? Not really. Is the Apple Vision Pro moving the needle for me? Yes, absolutely. What I'm trying to say is that this isn't a list of little releases. This is where Esquire dot com is keeping track of the biggest, most groundbreaking tech of 2024—everything you should buy or keep an eye on in the future. It's still early doors, so there's a lot of preorders and speculation. But, as the year rolls on, we'll keep this list updated with all the best new tech of 2024.
We got a sneak peak at Apple's biggest innovation in a long time last year. Officially launching on 2 February, this seems to be Apple's next big bet. The focus is less on making a toy and more on making a new type of personal computer. The powers that be in Cupertino obviously see this as a desktop and laptop replacement. We'll see how well they deliver.
Ever looked at your TV and wish that you could, see through it? Me either. But once I saw LG's new entertainment play, I was... slightly more convinced. Move it around (it's wireless) and place it in direct sunlight or in front of a mirror (no glare). It's a weird bet, but I can definitely see it growing on me. LG's transparent OLED TV is scheduled to hit the market in 2024.
Per usual, there's going to be a new iPhone. Whether or not it'll be a big jump from the 15 Pro remains to be seen. The iPhone 15 Pro had a lot of initial fanfare (from myself included), but its stumbled out of the gate a little bit. The biggest innovation has been the titanium build. We'll see where Apple goes this year.
For my money, Samsung is the top Apple competitor, with a much deeper catalog than the Googles or Motorolas of the world and a great suite of foldables. No disrespect to those two, but Samsung does so much it makes for a lovely little ecosystem. As there is every year, there's going to be some fort of upgrade on Samsung's flagship smartphone. Will it be enough to leapfrog Apple? Not in America. But, it could be a big year for Samsung.
Since being the first big company to do the whole VR thing, Meta has sent out a bunch of flops. The Meta Quest 2 was just a novelty gaming device. The newer Quest 3 and Quest Pro aren't anything to write home about either. But, Meta has confirmed plans for a new, more affordable VR headset in 2024. We'll see if it actually catches on this time around.
Another big rumor in Apple world is that there might be a foldable iPad on the horizon. If it happens, it would be the company's first foray into the foldable market and surely a dress rehearsal for a foldable iPhone. Still, it's a massive if. Don't hold out for this one.
At CES 2024, Samsung gave us an update on one of its best weird little projects. Ballie, an R2-D2 type personal assistant was introduced at CES 2020. This time around, Samsung made the little guy bigger and gave him a projector.
Wait, so what is this thing?
Sorry. "Alexa on wheels," is how I would describe Ballie. He'll be able to follow you around, tell you the weather, answer phone calls, and project onto whatever flat surface you can find. Don't hold out hope though. This is more of a speculative project from Samsung. I wouldn't expect to see it on the market in 2024.
Clearly, this is not a comprehensive list. There are possibly hundreds of new hotels opening each year, but 2024 marks openings that may be first of the brand in the region, like The Singapore EDITION was for Asia Pacific in 2023. Otherwise, portfolios in cities that make so much sense that we're excited to see how the rendition turns out. Here are a couple to put on your travel radar.
The edgy hospitality brand continues its expansion in the Southeast Asian market following two openings in Thailand. Located on Orange Grove Road, The Standard, Singapore will feature 143 rooms and is one of the rare ground-up hotels constructed within prime Orchard area.
Amanjunkies can look forward to the second half of 2024, where the brand will open in the Thai capital's embassy district. The unconventional skyscraper features 52 suites and 50 residences across 36 levels, as well as an infinity pool at its peak.
The boutique accommodation finds its thoughtful concept matched with the traditional landscape of the heritage city. Set to open the first half of the year, Six Senses Kyoto arranges its 81 rooms around a courtyard. From onsite spa to meeting rooms with fireplaces, guests can certainly expect a ryokan-style welcome.
The two prominent towers take aesthetic inspiration from coral reefs surrounding Qatar seas and comprise 155 guestrooms and suites, 162 serviced apartments and 276 residences for rent. The ultra-luxe destination will have a total collection of ten lifestyle outlets, including its signature Manor Club.
Alongside the recently opened One&Only Aesthesis, Athens, the second Greek outpost occupies 65 hectares worth of beachfront on the Cycladic island of Kéa. With private pools, terrace, courtyard and fireplace for each villa, the resort also offers private homes with nearly 360-degree views of the Aegean sea.
After the original in Naples, the sibling will open in spring by the city's Piazza del Popolo. In a palazzo dating all the way back to the 17th century, the hotel is also one of the last projects from the late Zaha Hadid, whose architectural touch you may observe in the furnishings and lashings of Italian marble.
Due to open this autumn, the hybrid hospitality pioneers of extended stay is developing the acquired historic property in a 145 room aparthotel across seven floors. The 18th century mansion on the Latin Quarter will see 1000 sqm of social spaces under a restored glass atrium.
On the heels and within the vicinity of Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, the sister hotel will sit its 50 rooms and suites in Hanover Square. Besides a rooftop bar and urban spa, amongst its lifestyle offerings is the first namesake restaurant of Chef Akira Back to open in UK.