|December 20 in recent years|
The 2004 United States presidential election, the 55th quadrennial presidential election, was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Incumbent Republican President George W. Bush defeated Democratic nominee John Kerry, a United States Senator from Massachusetts.
Bush and incumbent Vice President Dick Cheney were renominated by their party with no difficulty. Former Governor Howard Dean emerged as the early front-runner in the 2004 Democratic primaries, but Kerry won the first set of primaries in January 2004 and clinched his party's nomination in March after a series of primary victories. Kerry chose Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who had himself sought the party's 2004 presidential nomination, to be his running mate.
Bush's popularity had soared early in his first term after the September 11 attacks, but his popularity declined between 2001 and 2004. Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Bush presented himself as a decisive leader and attacked Kerry as a "flip-flopper", while Kerry criticized Bush's conduct of the Iraq War. Domestic issues were debated as well, including the economy and jobs, health care, abortion, same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research.
Bush won by a slim margin, taking 53% or 286 electoral votes. He swept the South and the Mountain States and took the crucial swing states of Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico. Some aspects of the election process were subject to controversy, but not to the degree seen in the 2000 presidential election. Bush was the first candidate since George H. W. Bush in the 1988 election to also win a majority of the popular vote, as well as the last Republican candidate to have won the popular vote. Bush's victory also marked the first time that the Republican nominee won a presidential election without carrying any state in the Northeastern United States. Bush would serve until 2009 and be succeeded by Barack Obama, whereas Kerry would continue to serve in the Senate and later go on to become the 68th Secretary of State of the United States during Barack Obama's second term.Avatar (2009 film)
Avatar (marketed as James Cameron's Avatar) is a 2009 American epic science fiction fantasy film directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron, and stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are colonizing Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system, in order to mine the mineral unobtanium, a room-temperature superconductor. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi – a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to a genetically engineered Na'vi body operated from the brain of a remotely located human that is used to interact with the natives of Pandora.Development of Avatar began in 1994, when Cameron wrote an 80-page treatment for the film. Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Cameron's 1997 film Titanic, for a planned release in 1999, but, according to Cameron, the necessary technology was not yet available to achieve his vision of the film. Work on the language of the film's extraterrestrial beings began in 2005, and Cameron began developing the screenplay and fictional universe in early 2006. Avatar was officially budgeted at $237 million. Other estimates put the cost between $280 million and $310 million for production and at $150 million for promotion. The film made extensive use of new motion capture filming techniques, and was released for traditional viewing, 3D viewing (using the RealD 3D, Dolby 3D, XpanD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats), and for "4D" experiences in select South Korean theaters. The stereoscopic filmmaking was touted as a breakthrough in cinematic technology.Avatar premiered in London on December 10, 2009, and was internationally released on December 16 and in the United States and Canada on December 18, to positive critical reviews, with critics highly praising its groundbreaking visual effects. During its theatrical run, the film broke several box office records and became the highest-grossing film of all time, as well as in the United States and Canada, surpassing Cameron's Titanic, which had held those records for twelve years. It also became the first film to gross more than $2 billion and the best-selling film of 2010 in the United States. Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won three, for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.
Following the film's success, Cameron signed with 20th Century Fox to produce four sequels: Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 are currently filming, and will be released on December 18, 2020, and December 17, 2021, respectively; subsequent sequels will start shooting as soon as they wrap filming, and will be released in 2024 and 2025. Several cast members are expected to return, including Worthington, Saldana, Lang, and Weaver.Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is an American neo-western crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on AMC for five seasons, from January 20, 2008 to September 29, 2013. Set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the series tells the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a struggling and depressed high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with lung cancer. Together with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), White turns to a life of crime by producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine to secure his family's financial future before he dies, while navigating the dangers of the criminal world. The title comes from the Southern colloquialism "breaking bad", meaning to "raise hell" or turn to a life of crime.Walter's family consists of his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn), son Walter, Jr. (RJ Mitte), and daughter Holly (Elanor Anne Wenrich). The show also features Skyler's sister Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) and her husband Hank (Dean Norris), a DEA agent. Walter hires lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), who connects him with private investigator and fixer Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) and in turn Mike's employer, drug kingpin Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). The final season introduces the characters Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) and Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser).
Breaking Bad is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time.
By the time the series finale aired, it was among the most-watched cable shows on American television. The show received numerous awards, including 16 Primetime Emmy Awards, eight Satellite Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Peabody Awards, two Critics' Choice Awards and four Television Critics Association Awards. For his leading performance, Cranston won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series four times, while Aaron Paul won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series three times; Anna Gunn won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series twice. In 2013, Breaking Bad entered the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed show of all time.
A spin-off prequel series, Better Call Saul, starring Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, debuted on February 8, 2015, on AMC. In November 2018, a film spin-off was announced to be in development.Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy-Monjack (born Brittany Anne Bertolotti; November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009), was an American actress and singer. A native of Atlanta, Murphy moved to Los Angeles as a teenager and pursued a career in acting. Her breakthrough role was as Tai Frasier in Clueless (1995), followed by supporting roles in independent films such as Freeway (1996) and Bongwater (1998). She made her stage debut in a Broadway production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge in 1997, before appearing as Daisy Randone in Girl, Interrupted (1999) and as Lisa Swenson in Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).
In the 2000s Murphy appeared in Don't Say a Word (2001) alongside Michael Douglas, and alongside Eminem in 8 Mile (2002), for which she gained critical recognition. Her later roles included Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), Spun (2002), Uptown Girls (2003), Sin City (2005), and Happy Feet (2006). Murphy also voiced Luanne Platter on the animated television series King of the Hill (1997–2009). Her final film, Something Wicked, was released in April 2014.
In December 2009, Murphy died of pneumonia at the age of 32.Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square as the tenth entry in the Final Fantasy series. Originally released in 2001 for Sony's PlayStation 2, the game was re-released as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in 2013, for PlayStation 4 in 2015, Microsoft Windows in 2016, and will be released for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One in 2019. The game marks the Final Fantasy series transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas, and is also the first in the series to feature voice acting. Final Fantasy X replaces the Active Time Battle (ATB) system with the "Conditional Turn-Based Battle" (CTB) system, and uses a new leveling system called the "Sphere Grid".
Set in the fantasy world of Spira, a setting influenced by the South Pacific, Thailand and Japan, the game's story revolves around a group of adventurers and their quest to defeat a rampaging monster known as Sin. The player character is Tidus, a star athlete in the fictional sport of blitzball, who finds himself in the world Spira after his home city of Zanarkand is destroyed by Sin. Shortly after arriving to Spira, Tidus joins the summoner Yuna on her pilgrimage to destroy Sin.
Development of Final Fantasy X began in 1999, with a budget of more than US$32.3 million (US$48.6 million in 2018 dollars) and a team of more than 100 people. The game was the first in the main series not entirely scored by Nobuo Uematsu; Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano were signed as Uematsu's fellow composers. Final Fantasy X was both a critical and commercial success, selling over 8 million units worldwide on PlayStation 2. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. On March 3, 2003, it was followed by Final Fantasy X-2, making it the first Final Fantasy game to have a direct game sequel.Gigi Hadid
Jelena Noura "Gigi" Hadid (born April 23, 1995) is an American fashion model.
She was signed to IMG Models in 2013. In November 2014, Hadid made her debut in the Top 50 Models ranking at Models.com. In 2016, she was named International Model of the Year by the British Fashion Council.Hailey Baldwin
Hailey Rhode Bieber (née Baldwin, born November 22, 1996) is an American model and television personality.Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill Feldstein (born December 20, 1983) is an American actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and comedian. Hill is known for his comedic roles in films including Accepted (2006), Grandma's Boy (2006), Superbad (2007), Knocked Up (2007), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Get Him to the Greek (2010), 21 Jump Street (2012), This Is the End (2013), 22 Jump Street (2014), and War Dogs (2016), as well as his performances in Moneyball (2011) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), for which he received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
Hill ranked 28th on Forbes magazine's ranking of world's highest-paid actors from June 2014 to June 2015, bringing in $16 million. As a screenwriter, he contributed to the stories of 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, Sausage Party and Why Him?. In 2018, Hill starred in the Netflix dark comedy miniseries Maniac and made his directorial debut with the film Mid90s, from his own screenplay. In 2019, Hill will play Lewis in The Beach Bum.Marla Maples
Marla Ann Maples (born October 27, 1963) is an American actress and television personality. Maples was the second wife of Donald Trump, later the 45th president of the United States. They married in 1993 and divorced in 1999.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou ( (listen); born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was an actress, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she was named the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" (1993) at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.
With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture. Her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide, although attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries. Angelou's most celebrated works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics consider them to be autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family and travel.Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge (codename "Spartan") is a web browser developed by Microsoft. It was first released for Windows 10 and Xbox One in 2015, then for Android and iOS in 2017.Edge includes integration with Cortana and has extensions hosted on the Microsoft Store. Unlike Internet Explorer, Edge does not support the legacy ActiveX and BHO technologies.
Originally built with Microsoft's own EdgeHTML and Chakra engines, Edge is currently being rebuilt as a Chromium-based browser, using the Blink and V8 engines. As part of this big change, Microsoft intends to add support for Windows 7, 8.1, and macOS.NetherRealm Studios
NetherRealm Studios is an American video game developer based in Chicago, Illinois, founded in May 2010 to replace Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's WB Games Chicago subsidiary. Led by video game industry veteran and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon, the studio is in charge of developing the Mortal Kombat and Injustice series of fighting games.Paul Rudd
Paul Stephen Rudd (born April 6, 1969) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and film producer. Rudd studied theatre at the University of Kansas and the American Drama Academy, before making his acting debut in 1992 with NBC's drama series Sisters. He is known for his starring roles in the films Clueless (1995), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Role Models (2008), I Love You, Man (2009), This Is 40 (2012), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), The Fundamentals of Caring (2016), Mute (2018), and Ideal Home (2018). Beginning in 2015, Rudd has played Scott Lang/Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Ant-Man (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), and the upcoming Avengers: Endgame (2019).
In addition to his film career, Rudd has appeared in numerous television shows, including the NBC sitcom Friends as Mike Hannigan, along with guest roles on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Parks and Recreation (as businessman Bobby Newport) and hosting Saturday Night Live. Rudd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 1, 2015.Penny Marshall
Carole Penny Marshall (October 15, 1943 – December 17, 2018) was an American actress, director and producer. She came to notice in the 1970s for her role as Laverne DeFazio on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley (1976–1983), receiving three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for her portrayal.
Marshall made her directorial debut with Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986) before directing Big (1988), which became the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million at the U.S. box office. Her subsequent directing credits included Awakenings (1990), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, A League of Their Own (1992), Renaissance Man (1994), The Preacher's Wife (1996) and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). She also produced Cinderella Man (2005) and Bewitched (2005), and directed episodes of the TV series According to Jim and United States of Tara.Post Malone
Austin Richard Post (born July 4, 1995), known professionally as Post Malone, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Syracuse, New York and raised in Grapevine, Texas, Malone began his hip hop career following the release of his debut single "White Iverson" in 2015. It peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was later certified quadruple platinum in the United States; its success resulted in his recording contract with Republic Records later that year.Malone has since earned the number-four album Stoney (2016) and number-one album Beerbongs & Bentleys (2018) on the US Billboard 200. Beerbongs & Bentleys broke several streaming records upon release, while Stoney broke Michael Jackson's 34-year-old record for most weeks on Billboard's Top R&B and Hip-Hop Albums chart after reaching its 77th week compared to the 76 weeks that Thriller spent on the chart. Further, Malone has attained six top-ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "Congratulations", "Better Now", “Wow” and the chart-topping songs "Rockstar", "Psycho", and "Sunflower" with Swae Lee.
Post Malone has gained recognition for blending various musical genres, for his introspective songwriting, and his laconic vocal style.Stanford University
Leland Stanford Junior University (often referred to as Stanford University or simply Stanford) is an American private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.The university was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford was a U.S. Senator and former Governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution.
Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, Provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates' entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley. The university is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.The university is organized around three traditional schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate and graduate level and four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in Law, Medicine, Education and Business. Stanford's undergraduate program is the most selective in the United States by acceptance rate. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 118 NCAA team championships, the most for a university. Stanford athletes have won 512 (the most) individual championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors' Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.As of October 2018, 83 Nobel laureates, 27 Turing Award laureates, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty or staff. In addition, Stanford University is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded a large number of companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue and have created 5.4 million jobs as of 2011, roughly equivalent to the 10th largest economy in the world (as of 2011). Stanford is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and 17 astronauts, and is also one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.The Greatest Showman
The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American musical film directed by Michael Gracey in his directorial debut, written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya. The film is inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum's creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and the lives of its star attractions.
Principal photography began in New York City in November 2016. The film premiered on December 8, 2017, aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2. It was released in the United States on December 20, 2017, by 20th Century Fox and grossed over $434 million worldwide, making it the fifth-highest grossing live-action musical of all time. The film was released seven months after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus's dissolution.
The Greatest Showman received mixed reviews from critics but was popular with viewers, with praise for the performances, music, and production values, but criticism for its artistic license, with some reviewers calling it "faux-inspiring and shallow". At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the film received nominations for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Musical or Comedy for Jackman. For the song "This Is Me", the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for Best Original Song at the 90th Academy Awards and won the Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.