Best of 2023: presenting the most unforgettable moments in culture and sports
From Taylor Swift to Max Verstappen, we compile our selection of the best sports and culture moments of 2023 to look back on an eventful year
2023 has been an eventful year with notable moments in culture and sports dominating our conversations this year. From Taylor Swift and ‘Barbenheimer’ to Carlos Alcaraz and Max Verstappen, below is our selection of the most unforgettable moments in culture and sports in 2023.
Barbenheimer21 July 2023 saw an unexpected cinematic phenomenon, when fans responded joyfully to the simultaneous release of two diametrically opposing films: Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.
‘Barbenheimer’, as it was immediately coined by fans in the run up to the release, was punctuated by full-day cinema trips complete with elaborate costumes, and a range of collaborations between the stars — particularly Margot Robbie (Barbie) and Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer). The fan reaction saw the films dominate box offices — Barbie made over a billion dollars — becoming the first film solely directed by a woman to hit that milestone — while Oppenheimer following close behind at 953.8 million dollars.
And the Barbenheimer craze is set to continue, as both films are hotly tipped for upcoming awards. So we couldn’t possibly make a 2023 roundup without including the biggest box office event of the year. And what’s more, our summer cover star was none other than Ryan Gosling. You can check out our summer issue right here.
Taylor Swift – Person of the Year2023 was the year of Taylor Swift. The singer-songwriter was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2023 — an accolade formerly held by Volodymyr Zelenski, Elon Musk and Joe Biden & Kamala Harris. The magazine noted that she is the first woman to be recognized more than once and the first woman to appear twice on a Person of the Year cover. Her first appearance being in 2017’s Silence Breakers issue, where she stood with other victims of sexual assault at the height of the Me Too movement.
Taylor, whose net worth is said to be over a billion dollars, marked the year with a record-breaking US tour (coming to the UK in 2024) and two new rerecordings of previous albums — an ongoing work to reclaim the masters of her original songs. And while this may come as a little bit of a surprise for many, it’s not hard to understand why. Whether it was her music, her groundbreaking tour (and the impact it had on the US economy) or her relationships — she never goes out of style.
The Royal Family2023 saw quite a lot of royal activity. King Charles III was crowned with a huge coronation ceremony full of pomp and circumstance to befit the first crowning of a new monarch in 70 years. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, released a memoir, and, in the world of entertainment, the final season of The Crown — the historical drama about the royal family — just dropped on Netflix.
While the media spotlight has always focused on the royal family, the world’s intrigue and interest has reached new heights this year, as all eyes are fixed on how the King — along with the Prince and Princess of Wales — is set to modernise the monarchy.
Year of the memoirsThis year saw a series of notable personalities and celebrities release their memoirs with some bombshell revelations. The Duke of Sussex released his controversial autobiography, Spare, pop sensation Britney Spears opened up about her life and struggles to break free from a longstanding conservatorship in The Woman in Me, and Friends star Matthew Perry’s 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, returned to book charts in the wake of his sudden death in October.
These memoirs gave the public fascinating insights into the lives of these personalities, with some even helping the readers reckon with their own personal struggles. There were bombshell revelations, scandalous details and heart wrenching truths peppered in the pages of these books, which kept readers talking long after these memoirs had hit the bestselling lists over and over.
Spotlight in theatre – Backstairs BillyIn October, Backstairs Billy pulled back the curtain at the Duke of York Theatre in London to resounding applause. The play stars Emily Barber, Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans and follows the story of the relationship between the Queen Mother and her page, Billy — her loyal servant for 50 years. It is a fictional comic telling of what it would have been like inside Clarence House.
Speaking with Tempus, Emily revealed exactly why she wanted to star in the play. “Director Michael Grandage is someone I’ve dreamed of working with since I was at drama school,” she said. “Being in the room with him, he is just a joy to work with and really cares. It’s a fun experience and the play is incredibly naughty, hilarious and joyous to be in.”
You can read her full interview right here.
Australia dominates cricket
Australia reigned supreme in the world of cricket this year, with both the men’s and the women’s teams bagging world titles in 2023 — both beating the host teams to clinch their respective titles.
The Australia Women team won this year’s ICC T20 World Cup by defeating South Africa in their home turf. Meanwhile, the Australia men’s team won the ICC Cricket World Cup by defeating hosts and favourites Team India. The latter came as a huge shock as Australia ended India’s unbeaten streak in this year’s tournament to nab the title.
Spain beat the Lionesses in Women’s Football World CupWomen’s football has taken the centre stage in recent years as more and more people tune in to watch the action unfold. And the Women’s Football World Cup final was no different as England took on Spain in an action-packed final.
Spain emerged victorious in the end, but the impact women’s football has started to make on not just women but the sports enthusiasts in England and across the globe has been undeniable. Earlier this year, Tempus took a closer look at women’s football — its history, and how it has always been the sport to look out for. You can read all about it right here.
Carlos Alcaraz wins WimbledonThis year we saw a new champion emerge in the world of tennis as 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz beat Novak Djokovic to earn his second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. Alcaraz became the first player to beat Djokovic on Centre Court in a full decade — since Andy Murray in the 2013 final.
At 20, he became the third youngest player to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title, behind only Boris Becker and Björn Borg. This also meant that he halted Djokovic’s chances of equalling Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles — at least for the time being.
Max Verstappen defends Formula 1 championship titleMax Verstappen had yet another stellar year in 2023 as he defended his Formula 1 championship title for the third year in a row, putting himself in a stellar league of champions that includes names like Niki Lauda and Jackie Stewart.
He also broke the record for most wins in one season (19), most consecutive wins in a season (10), most consecutive points scored (1004) and most championship points in a season (575).
Sir Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, extended his record for the most total career points (4639.5) as well as the record for the most points-scoring races (290) and most laps (5455).
Europe wins the Ryder CupIn the world of golf, Europe finally won the Ryder Cup after five years, continuing their domination of the game on home soil as they defeated the USA to clinch the title in Italy. Tommy Fleetwood was the man to secure the vital point at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club. And while Europe entered the competition with a sizeable lead, the US was very close to making a big comeback.
Speaking about the victory, European captain Luke Donald was visibly moved. “I’m so emotional. It’s been a long process, an amazing journey — I enjoyed this one,” he said. “It was stressful, the U.S. put up a fight but I’m so proud of my 12 guys. We formed a strong bond from day one and they gave me everything. They trusted me and they delivered for me.”