Who’s having a good week? Who’s having a bad one?
Every week we track the highs, lows and everything in between. We give you … What’s Up? What’s Down?
DOWN: KRISTEN STEWART
Critics and social media users thought the Twilight alum was a lock for the Best Actress Academy Award after her Princess Diana biopic premiered in Venice to much acclaim.
But Kristen Stewart was snubbed this week by the Screen Actors Guild, which didn’t even nominate her performance in Spencer. The SAG award committee includes many of the Academy members who get to pick Oscar winners — meaning she may not even be nominated for the coveted prize this year.
It’s a bit of a shock, given that Spencer seemed written and produced with award season in mind. And it’s sure to sting even more, considering Kristen Stewart put all her eggs in the princess Diana basket (the role was her only big screen appearance in all of 2021.)
She’s set to star in Crimes of the Future, an upcoming David Cronenberg passion project that promises a return to the famed director’s horror-inspired roots. But Cronenberg films are not exactly Oscar bait, and Stewart appears to play more of a supporting role from what we know of the film thus far — which would put her out of contention for a Best Actress nomination next time around.
She’s young, and there’s no doubt she’ll have another shot at the Academy Awards stage before her career slows down. But a snub is a snub. So right now Kristen Stewart is trending down.
UP: LADY GAGA
The Grammy-winning artist has leaned hard into her Hollywood turn since 2018, when she starred in a (yet another) remake of A Star Is Born. Her performance alongside Bradley Cooper earned her an Academy Award nomination, made all the more impressive when you consider it was her third-ever performance in a feature film.
But critics were largely unimpressed with Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, which saw Gaga take on the role of “Black Widow” Patrizia Reggiani. With lukewarm reviews and a ho-hum box office performance on opening weekend, the biographical crime drama seemed dead on arrival at the start of the 2021 awards season.
That is, until the Screen Actors Guild nominated Lady Gaga for Best Lead Actress this week. Costar Jared Leto was also nominated, and the Gucci cast as an ensemble is in contention as well — surprising observers and elevating Ridley Scott’s latest offering as a dark horse candidate as the Oscars approach.
When you’ve dominated pop music for a decade straight, you don’t really need to prove anything. But Gaga is working hard to make sure her acting career stands on its own merits, and it keeps paying off.
As they say, it’s an honor just to be considered. Lady Gaga is trending up.
DOWN: PRINCE ANDREW
The Queen’s second-youngest son has been a consistent headache for Buckingham Palace over his ties to convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Andrew’s close friendship with the rapist financier has been a matter of public record for more than a decade but didn’t start turning heads until Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell shortly after his arrest in 2019.
Most recently, the prince has made headlines for being sued by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers. Giuffre has alleged that Prince Andrew raped her on several occasions in multiple countries when she was a minor being trafficked for sex by Epstein.
While his lawyers have repeatedly sought to get the case thrown out, New York courts have consistently ruled in Giuffre’s favor, allowing the suit to proceed. And the criminal conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former lover and long-time accomplice, doesn’t bode well for the embattled royal.
As if to preempt whatever damaging information may come out in court, the Queen stripped her son of all his military titles and patronages this week. He had previously resigned from his public roles in 2020, but the latest news implies that Her Majesty is not happy.
Not only will Prince Andrew have to keep fighting a humiliating and scandalous legal battle for months to come he’ll now have to do it without the public and political protection he’s enjoyed his entire life, as Buckingham Palace seems committed to shutting him out.
It’s been a steep and precipitous fall for the Duke of York, and it’s a long way from being over. Formally relieved from his royal duties and increasingly isolated, Prince Andrew is trending down.
UP: AMY SCHNEIDER
The Jeopardy! contestant has been on a hot streak for months, and while it hasn’t all been smooth sailing — she’s opened up about transphobic trolls and more recently was robbed in her hometown of Oakland — she made TV history this week by becoming the first woman to earn $1 million on the beloved game show.
What’s more, Schneider’s reign is one of the most impressive by any contestant of any gender. Since her first appearance in November, the champ has become the 4th highest earner in the show’s long history, and she’s tied for third in most games won. Out of the 32 (and counting) Final Jeopardy rounds she’s appeared in, she’s only answered incorrectly six times.
Jeopardy! has often struggled to find its identity since the passing of iconic host Alex Trebek in 2020. But Amy Schneider’s historic run is a reminder of what made the show great to begin with — the satisfaction of watching ordinary folks with a thirst for knowledge winning big.
This week, and for the seven weeks before that, Amy Schneider has been trending up.
DOWN: NOVAK DJOKOVIC
The Serbian tennis star has been the subject of controversy all week, beginning with the revelation that he was given a medical exemption from the Australian Open vaccine requirement. Critics questioned why the world-class athlete was healthy enough to play but apparently not well enough to get the provably safe and effective jab.
So fierce was the outrage that Australian border officials reversed course and detained him when he tried to enter the country, saying that he did not meet the requirements for entry of an unvaxxed traveler, and revoking his visa.
Things came to a head last Sunday, when reports emerged that Djokovic was exempted from the vaccine because he already had the virus last month. The tennis player didn’t isolate while he was positive, either — he attended a press interview and a photo shoot that week, potentially exposing dozens to the novel coronavirus.
Still, Djokovic and his handlers argued that border officials violated protocol and reneged on an agreement when they revoked his visa, and an Australian court ruled in his favor on Monday. While government officials said Friday they’re still seeking to have him deported on public health grounds, he’s still in the country, and is still arguing that he should have a chance to compete.
Djokovic’s prospects have been up and down and everywhere in between this month, but the trend is clear: things are headed south for the embattled athlete.
UP: BABY SHARK
It’s already stuck in your head, isn’t it?
Well, you’re not alone — as frustrated moms across the globe could have already told you, the song became the first in history to get 10 billion views on YouTube this week, setting an all-time record for the ubiquitous video sharing platform.
Uploaded in 2016 by South Korean children’s entertainment brand Pinkfong, the video was an instant hit in Asia, but didn’t gain viral status in the west until 2019. Since then, its mere mention is enough to get people of any age humming along (though, often angrily).
Once the bane of exhausted babysitters, Baby Shark now joins the elite few YouTube videos to garner billions of hits, including Psy’s Gangnam Style and Luis Fonsi’s Despacito.
To the delight of children worldwide — and to the possible detriment of their parents’ mental health — Baby Shark is trending up.
DOWN: THIS MARYLAND COUPLE
Ben Rockey-Harris and Danielle Witt couldn’t believe their luck when they snagged a suburban Maryland home for $50,000 less than market value — but their mood soured slightly when they learned why.
It turns out their new home was the site of the 1949 “demonic possession” of a 14-year-old child that later served as the inspiration for The Exorcist, both the novel and later the film. According to the priests who were called to help cast out the “demon,” furniture “flipped over” without explanation as the “possessed” boy shouted incantations in Latin, a language which he reportedly never studied.
Luckily Danielle isn’t too worried about living in a “haunted” house — not because she isn’t superstitious, but because she said she believes that ghosts haunt people, not properties. As for Ben, his only worry is that the house’s history might hurt its resale value down the line.
While they’re making the best of it, they may wish they did their homework before signing the papers. This Maryland couple is definitely trending down.
UP: THIS DOOR DASH DRIVER
Detroit DoorDash driver Robert Jackson III had to make an extra stop this week.
The reason? To return an unattended baby back over to his family.
Jackson was driving along the famous 8 Mile Road on Sunday when he noticed a young child walking alone in the frigid Michigan cold. The boy was already shivering, and his lips were turning blue when Jackson pulled over to help him get back home.
The toddler was too young to even tell Jackson where he lived. So the driver called 911 and kept him company until help arrived. Police believe the boy simply wandered outside without anyone noticing, but he’s back home now and is no worse for the wear.
Delivery drivers work hard and often without thanks, but Jackson went above and beyond this week. So he’s way up.
DOWN: MELANIA TRUMP
The former first lady is no stranger to controversy. But even Melania’s close friends are scratching their heads this week, after the one-time FLOTUS announced she would sign and auction one of her hats.
The bidding starts at $250,000, and the whole venture appears to be profit-seeking — her team hasn’t mentioned donating the proceeds to charity or anything like that.
Critics are calling the move crass and undignified for a former first lady, a ceremonial office whose occupants have traditionally shied away from cash grabs and merchandising. What’s more, the auction seems to underline a perennial criticism of the entire Trump dynasty: that the family is mostly interested in its business portfolio.
Melania hasn’t publicly commented on the backlash yet. But it’s a bad look. She’s trending down this week.
UP: RUSS THE DOG
When Ricardo Rodriguez lost his dog Russ while on vacation in California’s Lake Tahoe in August, he and some friends searched high and low for any sign of the pet.
But by the time the Caldor Fire devastated the region the next month, Ricardo lost all hope, coming to terms with the sad fact that he’d never see Russ again.
But Russ survived the inferno and was roughing it in the mountains for months, when he was spotted by a skier in December. The good Samaritan couldn’t get too close without spooking the dog, so he called up a local animal rescue, who were able to coax Russ from his snow fort and — with warm blankets and a lot of treats — led him down the mountain.
It took some time to track down his rightful owner and to have him medically cleared by a vet. But as of this week, Russ is safe, healthy and back home with Ricardo (thanks entirely to the kindness of strangers.)
For the first time since he ran away back in the summertime, Russ is trending up.
See you next week for What’s Up? What’s Down?