Best of 2014: The year's most unforgettable moments, nos. 26-100
We’ve announced our top 25 unforgettable moments of 2014. Now let’s look at the rest of our top 100…
26. HBO Go announces HBO Go spinoff
The good news for cord-cutters: HBO is finally planning to offer an online-only streaming service in 2015! The bad news: You no longer have an excuse for mooching off your dad’s subscription.
27. Viola Davis removes her wig on How to Get Away with Murder
By taking off her metaphorical armor (i.e. her hairpiece and makeup) before confronting her husband with an immortal line (“Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?”), Davis’ Professor Annalise Keating showed true vulnerability for the very first time—transforming her from a kickass character into an actual person.
28. Ellen Degeneres takes a selfie at the Oscars
Sure, the bloom comes off the rose a bit when you realize that the most retweeted message of all time was actually a multi-million-dollar Samsung ad—but seeing some of the world’s most famous people cut the pomp and circumstance for a few minutes at Hollywood’s most self-serious night? Still pretty cool.
29. John Oliver takes down FIFA
John Oliver’s weekly, lengthy rants became a signature of Last Week Tonight, but none was harsher than his one about the corruption surrounding the organization behind the World Cup, FIFA. What made it most poignant was Oliver, a big soccer fan, dealing with the internal struggle of being disgusted by FIFA, but still really wanting to watch the World Cup.
30. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin consciously uncouple
The way other people “divorce” was just too ugly for the GOOP creator and her rocker husband. So instead, they introduced the world to a new concept in which you can separate from your spouse but still go on Caribbean vacations together.
31. Emma Stone beats Jimmy Fallon in a lip-syncing battle
The Tonight Show‘s “Lip Sync Battle” is a straightforward duel: A celebrity guest and Jimmy Fallon compete over faux hooks, impassioned impressions, and whoever bows to laughter first. In the case of Emma Stone last April—who performed “Hook” (Blues Traveler) and “All I Do Is Win” (DJ Khaled) flawlessly—Fallon was left in a puddle of giggles, while Stone got bragging rights for starring in the most-watched Tonight Show clip of 2014 (38 million views and counting).
32. A bust goes wrong on True Detective
In a six-minute, adrenaline-pumping sequence that followed an undercover Rust Cohle through a heist in the ’hood gone wrong, director Cary Fukunaga proved that True Detective wasn’t just about its movie stars (and won an Emmy for his efforts).
33. Jimmy Fallon makes his Tonight Show debut
Jimmy Fallon set a new tone with a chorus line of famous celebrities, “old friends” who each paid up on a $100 bet that he’d never host The Tonight Show. Fallon gets special kudos for welcoming back Joan Rivers, who hadn’t been on the show since Johnny Carson banned her in the ’80s.
34. Batfleck is revealed
When Zack Snyder tweeted the first look at Ben Affleck’s Batman, he probably didn’t realize how the Internet would receive the saddest Batman yet—by inserting him into a series of even more depressing-yet-hilarious photos.
35. Emma Watson gives her “He for She” speech at the UN
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson made a powerful statement when she launched the HeForShe campaign, declaring her feminism and sparking debate.
36. Lupita Nyong’o speaks about “black beauty”
Lupita Nyong’o became a burgeoning style icon when she hit the awards circuit for her Oscar-winning role in 12 Years a Slave, but a speech she gave at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon—about her insecurity with her own skin color—spoke to how limited our conceptions of beauty can be, and how much Nyong’o is doing to change that.
37. Weird Al’s late-career surge
Weird Al’s perfectly bite-sized, infinitely sharable nuggets of entertainment were made for the Internet, even if he started making them before the Internet was a thing. He proved as much when his week of daily video premieres back in July pwned the Internet harder than any hacker collective could dream.
38. Jax kills his mother on Sons of Anarchy
Even in her final moment, Gemma (Katey Sagal) manipulated her outlaw son (Charlie Hunnam): “I love you, Jackson, from the deepest purest part of my heart. You have to do this. It’s who we are, sweetheart…It’s okay. My baby boy. It’s time. I’m ready.”
39. Marvel shakes up its comics roster
The publisher’s heroes got a bit more diverse as a woman took up Thor’s hammer and Sam Wilson, one of Marvel’s most prominent black heroes, became the new Captain America. Oh, and Iron Man is now a villainous Silicon Valley tycoon.
40. Zoe Barnes dies on House of Cards
In the show’s season 2 premiere, Frank Underwood shocked audiences when he pushed nosy reporter—and sometimes lover—in front of a speeding subway.
41. Matt Damon shows up in Interstellar
Interstellar’s biggest surprise came via Matt Damon’s mid-movie cameo, a role that remained impressively hidden from most viewers until he appeared to wreak havoc on the crew of the Endurance.
42. Paul Feig announces he’ll be directing an all-female Ghostbusters
After years and years of false starts with a potential second Ghostbusters sequel, some measure of certainty finally arrived when Paul Feig was announced as the director for an all-female reboot of the franchise. (But maybe Channing Tatum will get his own movie too?)
43. J.K. Rowling titillates fans with a Twitter riddle
Between Rowling’s slew of additional Pottermore material and the reveal that Warner Bros. plans to release not one but three Fantastic Beasts movies, it was a good year to be a Potterhead. But no moment was quite as exciting for fans as when Rowling tweeted a cryptic message—”Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense”—that turned out to be an anagram for the first sentence of a synopsis of the first Fantastic Beasts movie: “Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours…”
44. A fight rages in the dark in Snowpiercer
Snowpiercer is filled with incredible action sequences, but the midmovie fight scene shrouded in almost complete darkness is a masterful, layered blend of comedy, violence, and ingenious direction in one of the year’s most ambitious films.
45. Andrew performs an epic solo in Whiplash
The film’s title takes on a whole new meaning during the climactic concert, as Miles Teller’s naïve protégé finally has the right answer for his cruel musical mentor, played by J.K. Simmons.
46. Ginsberg gives Peggy his nipple on Mad Men
In perhaps the oddest moment in Mad Men history, Ginsberg cut off his nipple and gave it to Peggy. He was always an odd duck (he believes he’s from Mars) and has had a hard time fitting in (because, Mars), but as the agency became more reliant on computers, Ginsberg finally lost it.
47. Cap and Brock duke it out in an elevator in The Winter Soldier
Captain America took out Brock Rumlow and an elevator full of others in a scene that made us sad that all fights aren’t confined to small spaces.
48. Hiro and Baymax attempt a fist bump in Big Hero 6
The first time puffy robot Baymax singsongs “Bah-dl-ah-dl-ah” after pounding fists with teenage whiz kid Hiro, he’s trying and failing to simulate the explosion noise often associated with the fist bump. But he succeeds at something else: cementing what may just be the most disarmingly silly mouth-noise ever into animation history.
49. Boyhood debuts at Sundance
Richard Linklater’s story of growing up, which he began filming before he even made School of Rock, bows to cheers and tears, beginning a year-long love affair with the 12-year project.
50. Olivia calls Cyrus a “bitch baby” on Scandal
When Cyrus Beene tried to resign from the White House and run from his problems, Olivia Pope did the one thing she knew could keep him from leaving: She gave him the sort of pep talk he’d give himself. And after her “bitch baby” line, every epic speech from here on out is going to have to step up its game.
51. Ellen Page comes out
Inception star Ellen Page announced she’s gay at a Human Rights Campaign event, where she gave an emotional eight-minute speech about her personal struggles with identity and how important it is to appreciate our differences.
52. Quicksilver goes for a run in X-Men: Days of Future Past
The latest mutant mash combined the first X-Men with the First Class X-Men, but the biggest scene-stealer was franchise newbie Evan Peters as Quicksilver, who had the slowest (and coolest) action scene of the summer.
53. Katniss rallies the districts with her Mockingjay speech
In a pivotal moment for book-lovers, Katniss stood in front of a destroyed District 8 and told President Snow, “If we burn, you burn with us!” It was her first major act as the Mockingjay, but only the beginning of her battle with Snow.
54. Desi dies in Gone Girl
Desi’s death scene in Gone Girl was a glorious blood bath, and even though those who read the book knew it was coming, it was still shocking to see Neil Patrick Harris sprawled out with his front stuff hanging out after his last orgasm. Worst. Sex. Ever.
55. Kim Kardashian doesn’t break the Internet
Kim Kardashian’s spread (ahem) for the cover of Paper magazine may not have broken the Internet—its overtly declared intention—but bend, pull, and shape it, it surely did. ESPN anchor Mike Golic recreated the pose for a bet, it got the Simpsons treatment, it inspired Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s holiday card, and eventually it started a discussion about its controversial subtext. (It was inspired by photographer Jean-Paul Goude’s 1976 portrait “Carolina Beaumont,” which appeared in Goude’s 1982 book Jungle Fever.)
56. The Star Wars cast photo is released
One of the most scrutinized single frames this side of the Zapruder film. Daisy Ridley is sitting next to Carrie Fisher—she has to be Leia’s daughter, right?
57. The True Blood finale fizzles
Seven seasons of sexy, sudsy insanity ended with… Sookie staking Bill so she could fulfill his dream that she live a “normal” life married to a faceless man who could impregnate her?
58. Apple instructs customers on how to delete the U2 album from their iTunes
Apple and U2’s hubristic farce of a rollout for Songs of Innocence reached its nadir (or its pinnacle, depending on your perspective) when the extent of the public outrage over their invasive distribution method forced Apple to issue instructions for how to get rid of it.
59. Ryan Murphy reveals all seasons of American Horror Story are connected
Ryan Murphy finally confirmed what we’ve all been thinking: that the American Horror Story universe is connected, and that he’s been leaving clues intertwining these various worlds all along. Now if only he can confirm that Pixar theory…
60. “Tainted meat” on The Walking Dead
We had a week to process Gareth cooking up Bob’s leg for dinner, but the moment to savor was the next episode, when Bob, laughing, informed the cannibals that he’d been bitten before they ate his leg.
61. Kacy Catanzaro completes American Ninja Warrior semi-finals
Catanzaro was the first woman to complete American Ninja Warrior’s Dallas finals course with an incredible display of athleticism that made her a social-media hit.
62. Orphan Black clones take a dance break
What’s better than two Tatiana Maslanys dancing together? Four Tatiana Maslanys dancing together. That’s just what fans got when clones Alison, Cosima, Sarah, and Helena got their groove on at Felix’s apartment.
63. Vee dies on Orange is the New Black
Lorraine Toussaint’s Vee was the villain of season 2, so it was satisfying to see her get hit by a van driven by a fleeing Rosa. Seeing her (presumably) dead on the side of the road was shocking, and further proof that Orange is the New Black isn’t afraid to get dark.
64. Isaiah Washington returns to Grey’s Anatomy
Isaiah Washington, whom Grey’s fans know as Burke, left the show in 2007 amid controversy. He returned for one episode in the series’ 10th season to give Cristina Yang a reason to leave Seattle—and, more importantly, to deliver an intense speech about how much he loved Yang (before he ditched her at their wedding, that is).
65. Woo picks Tony, costs himself $1 million on Survivor: Cagayan
In a season full of crazy moments, none was crazier than when Woo pulled a Colby Donaldson and picked Tony instead of Kass to go to the end with him on Survivor: Cagayan, effectively tearing up his own already-written check for a million dollars. Poor guy… literally.
66. Bert Cooper dances into the afterlife on Mad Men
After seven seasons, the argyle-socked Sterling Cooper founder died watching the Apollo 11 moon walk at home. The episode moves on, but returns to Cooper by way of Don’s fantasy at the end: He weeps as he watches Cooper sing his way out of the office, surrounded by secretaries as chorus girls, to the tune of “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”
67. 22 Jump Street’s end credits offer a look into future installments
22 Jump Street spent much of its time making meta-gags at being a sequel, then capped it off with end credits tackling franchise filmmaking—audiences watched scenes from fake sequels like 23 Jump Street: Medical School, 24 Jump Street: Foreign Exchange Students, 25 Jump Street: A Semester At Sea, and more.
68. Facebook buys Oculus and WhatsApp
Early this year, the social-media giant made two huge acquisitions: messaging service WhatsApp and virtual reality headset-maker Oculus. The purchases expand the company’s reach in two very different directions: the former is immensely popular among international users, and the latter might be the future of entertainment.
69. Norma and Norman kiss on Bates Motel
After two seasons of building uncomfortable-yet-undeniable tension between mother and son, the season 2 finale of Bates Motel finally saw their lips touch. Sure, Norma did it to stop Norman from committing suicide, but the kiss had more significance than that.
70. Beyoncé debuts the low-fi video for “7/11”
After wrapping up what may be the year’s most technically sophisticated tours, Beyoncé made this charmingly low-budget video full of slumber-party dance moves and a gleefully adolescent surfeit of butts that did nothing to lessen our desire to be best friends with her.
71. “Michael Jackson” performs at the Billboard Music Awards
The ghoulish trend of reanimating dead pop stars via “hologram”—in reality, a 150-year-old magic trick called Pepper’s Ghost—hit a new level when the awards show featured a posthumous performance by the biggest pop star in history singing a song from an already questionable album of unearthed rarities.
72. Selina Meyer loses the election—then becomes president
Selina Meyer’s Veep season 2 run for president was amusing to watch, but it was an uphill battle in the primary, one viewers knew she would never win. And then in a last-minute twist, the Commander-in-Chief stepped down to take care of this wife, thereby paving the road for Selina to be “the f–king president.”
73. Watson and Holmes get drunk, Sherlock
Playing the Rizla game while drinking with one another dude might not sound like the best Stag Night, but John Watson—and Sherlock fans—can attest otherwise. Sherlock ends up magnifying glass in hand, face-first on the floor… and then in jail.
74. Blue Ivy tells Beyoncé ”Good job, mommy!”
Not like we needed any convincing of her cuteness, but when Jay Z carried daughter Blue Ivy Carter to the VMAs stage to congratulate Beyoncé on her Video Vanguard medley performance, she stole our hearts…again.
75. Peeta attacks Katniss in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1
While Mockingjay the novel really only explores the aftermath of Peeta attacking Katniss, Part 1 brings to life Peeta’s entire brutal attempt to choke and kill Katniss in frightening detail.
76. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler zing George Clooney
The most jaw-dropping moment of the Golden Globes? This: “Gravity is nominated for best film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
77. Barbara Walters leaves The View
When the longtime broadcast reporter and View co-creator announced she would leave her role as a co-host of the all-female, panel-format talk show after its 17th season ended in May, an era came to a close: Walters was the only remaining co-host of the four that appeared on its 1997 debut season.
78. The Simpsons meets Family Guy
Watch in awe and terror as whole epochs of pop-culture history collapse into a crossover between Fox’s two most iconic animated comedies.
79. Jaden and Willow Smith get bizarre in a T Magazine interview
Are Jaden and Willow Smith geniuses, prophets, or just a little, well, out there? Their brilliantly zany interview with T Magazine, in which they discussed their concepts of time and breathing, clears up none of those questions.
80. Everyone gets married
George & Amal! Kim & Kanye! Brad & Angelina! From the canals of Venice to the highest white rose on Kimye’s PhotoShopped-for-four-days flower wall to the hem of Angelina’s child-designed veil, this year was huge for A-list marital milestones.
81. Silicon Valley gets scientific about handjobs
The trouble with trading in both the high-brow (a show about a tech start-up) and the low-brow (it’s a Mike Judge show) is that it’s tough to raise the stakes without compromising one aspect or the other. Judge & Co. found the ideal balance by having the season 1 finale’s key epiphany occur during a highly technical conversation about the physics of simultaneously jerking off multiple guys.
82. Things hit too close to home for the Jennings family
The Americans is a show about a spy couple, but season 2 kicked off by reminding viewers it’s really about a family. The chilling deaths of another KGB family, their innocent kids included, make clear to Phillip and Elizabeth the price of their actions.
83. Benedict Cumberbatch does the Ice Bucket Challenge
Just about everyone participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge—including all of your annoying friends on Facebook—but the series of splashes of ice-cold water to Benedict Cumberbatch’s face may have been the most entertaining video to come from the fundraising campaign.
84. Nicki Minaj gives Drake a lap dance in the “Anaconda” video
While it’s tough to pick the most outrageous moment in a video that was nothing but outrageous moments, there’s something special about when the manic surrealism cuts to the Nicki Minaj giving a lap dance to her Young Money labelmate Drake. Judging by the look on his face, Drake was pretty stunned by it too.
85. Nathan for You‘s Dumb Starbucks goes viral
A snapshot of the postmodern era: A cult Comedy Central sketch show opens a parody coffee franchise that winds up becoming a trending topic and a mainstream media sensation.
86. Tween Maddie Ziegler subs in for Sia in the “Chandelier” video
The notoriously camera-shy Sia isn’t one to perform an intricately choreographed dance number in her videos, so she let 11-year-old Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler do that instead. Jimmy Kimmel, Lena Dunham, and more have tried to nail her “Call Your Girlfriend”-like dance moves, and most have failed miserably.
87. Milo and Maggie lip sync to “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”
The Skeleton Twins had some heavy moments, but one notable scene in particular broke the tension: when Bill Hader’s Milo and Kristen Wiig’s Maggie broke into a stellar lip sync of Jefferson Starship’s ’80s anthem “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”
88. Prince shows up on New Girl
New Girl nabbed the cameo of the year for an episode that finds the gang going to a party at Prince’s, where The Artist helps out Nick and Jess with some relationship problems—and even treats them to some mid-party pancakes.
89. Paula flops
For everyone who felt suffocated by the sleazy omnipresence of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” news that his desperate follow-up album, Paula, was a flop on an unprecedented scale—selling just 158 copies in Australia its first week out—offered a deeply satisfying serving of schadenfreude.
90. “Too Many Cooks” debuts in the middle of the night
The unforgettable 11-minute short, which starts out spoofing classic television credits sequences before devolving into… something, first aired on Adult Swim at 4 a.m. That tells you everything you need to know about it.
91. The Society of Crossed Keys assembles, The Grand Budapest Hotel
With its stylized interstitial cards, distinct settings, visual flourishes, parallel structure, throwaway gags, and mentor/apprentice dynamics, this sequence was more than just a fun series of calls among six concierges who belong to the Society of the Crossed Keys; it’s also a perfect encapsulation of Wes Anderson’s filmmaking style. Naturally, Bill Murray was involved.
92. Seth Rogen and Zac Efron do Batman voices in Neighbors
A paranoid comedy about the clash of generations disguised as a frat-house romp, the Rogen-Efron comedy reached a high point when the two stars did their best Batman voice—Rogen doing Keaton, Efron doing Bale. Generation X, meet the Millennials.
93. Iggy Azalea dresses up as a White Chick for Halloween
After Snoop Dogg slammed Iggy Azalea by comparing her appearance to Marlon Wayans’ character in White Chicks, Iggy got all “hold my poodle” right back by dressing up as said Marlon Wayans character for Halloween.
94. Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke sound like jackasses in “Blurred Lines” depositions
Pharrell Williams on Marvin Gaye, whose family claims Williams copied: “He’s an Aries. I respect him.” Robin Thicke says he was too doped up on “Vicodin and alcohol” even to give that much of an answer. Stay classy, dudes.
95. King Henry humps a woman out a window on Reign
In Reign’s first season, France’s biggest problem was a mad king, and Henry’s reign of terror began with an unforgettable moment: that one time he humped a woman out of a window to her death.
96. Amazon buys Twitch
Back in the day, “video games build hand-eye coordination!” was the go-to argument for kids trying to persuade their parents into permitting more controller time. Now “The site I stream my gaming sessions on sold for $970 million” should do the trick.
97. Morgan Freeman sucks helium
The Oscar winner turned an “undignified” party trick into a clip that was viewed more than 12 million times on YouTube, all in the name of Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole.
98. Nick Viall kicks the Fantasy Suite door down
The Bachelor/Bachelorette Fantasy Suite has been a heavily guarded “secret” that we all play along with. (Psst, ABC: we know what’s really happening in there.) But the knowledge went wide when booted Bachelorette contestant Nick Viall said to Andi Dorfman on live TV, “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure why you made love to me.”
99. Maura performs “Somebody That I Used to Know” on Transparent
Transparent expertly used Gotye’s overplayed song for a beautiful moment in which Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) performs for her children at a talent show.
100. Black-ish looks at spanking
Fall’s best sitcom success story really came into its own in “Crime and Punishment,” a sober but funny look at an issue every parent faces eventually: to hit or not to hit? The series’ fifth episode established Kenya Barris’ series as an exciting new comedic voice—one featuring the best young ensemble currently found on television.