Margot Robbie is one of Australia's top acting exports.
Margot Robbie is one of Australia's top acting exports. BEN RUSHTON

The Aussies who made headlines in 2018

IT WAS a year when Aussies were nominated for Oscars, Queensland hosted the Commonwealth Games, a PM was toppled and an unexpected one installed. It may not have had it all, but it came pretty close. Across sport, entertainment and politics, here are 10 people who made a splash in 2018.

 

Scott Morrison became Australia's 30th Prime Minister in August.
Scott Morrison became Australia's 30th Prime Minister in August. LUKAS COCH

LEADERSHIP CHAOS GIVES US SCOMO

ANOTHER year, another prime minister.

When Peter Dutton started making moves on Malcom Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party, and with it the nation, few predicted neither of them would win.

Instead, treasurer Scott Morrison swooped in and took the leadership. His leadership was not without problems though, including an embarrassing gaffe when his office posted video of parliament to an explicit song by rapper Fatman Scoop.

The video was in breach of rules that restrict "digitally manipulating" of parliament.

The online woes didn't stop there, with a troll taking over Mr Morrison's personal website when its subscription expired.

But the leadership change did not improve the government's standing in opinion polls ahead of an election year.

Mr Morrison also faced challenges inside his own party with, now private citizen, Mr Turnbull critical of the government's direction and Liberal MP Julia Banks quitting the party to become an independent.

Mr Morrison's date with destiny, or at least Australian voters, is expected early next year.

 

Sam Kerr's was named the best player in multiple soccer leagues and nominated for the first ever women's Ballon d'Or.
Sam Kerr's was named the best player in multiple soccer leagues and nominated for the first ever women's Ballon d'Or. Gregory Bull

AUSSIE SOCCER STAR TAKES ON THE WORLD

SAM Kerr might not just be the Matildas' best player. She could be the best footballer Australia has ever produced.

Despite being named the best player in the Australian and American leagues and leading the Matlidas to victory at the Tournament of Nations, she was controversially snubbed in the player of the year awards last year.

But after another amazing year on the field, Kerr won the American National Women's Soccer League golden boot, the Professional Footballers Association Women's Footballer of the Year and ESPY Award for Best International Women's Football Player.

She was a finalist in the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or award for the best player in the world.

She ended up in fifth place with Norwegian Ada Hederberg being named the world's best women's player.

Kerr turned down lucrative offers to play in Europe to become the face of the W League, playing for Perth Glory - her hometown club.

MARGO'S OSCAR NOD A SIGN OF FUTURE GLORY

MARGOT Robbie's 2018 finished in much the same way it started, in the midst of an Oscar campaign.

The Queensland product received her first Oscar nomination for her portrayal of controversial American ice skating icon Tanya Harding to start the year.

Her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the recently released Mary Queen of Scots has earned similar awards buzz.

She also made headlines for her role as Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie about the Manson Family's murders - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

With that movie to be released in 2019, it is likely Ms Robbie will have another year to remember.

She also announced she will reprise her popular Suicide Squad character Harley Quinn in the upcoming, and lengthily titled, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).

 

Johnathan Thurston launching his autobiography at Suncorp Stadium.
Johnathan Thurston launching his autobiography at Suncorp Stadium. Adam Head

JT SAYS GOODBYE TO FOOTY, HELLO TO FAMILY

EVEN by Johnathan Thurston's lofty standards, 2018 was a big year.

He quit his job, wrote a book, started a new job on television and writing newspaper columns, and announced he and wife Samantha are expecting their fourth child.

JT left the NRL as one of the greatest players to ever lace up a footy boot.

He started the year with high hopes after the Cowboys reached the grand final in 2017.

But a fairytale goodbye was not to be with the team finishing in 13th place and failing to make the finals.

Despite the club's finish, Thurston still showed he was a world-class player at 35.

After a serious shoulder injury last year, JT lead the NRL this year in try assists and line-break assists and was the sixth highest point scorer in the competition.

Thurston was farewelled at stadiums across Australia and in New Zealand.

There was an outpouring of tributes from fans, some of whom got to see him in person on a speaking tour across the country.

 

Queensland singer Amy Shark became one of the nations biggest musicians.
Queensland singer Amy Shark became one of the nations biggest musicians. Brett Costello

AMY MAKES A SPLASH WITH 3 ARIA GONGS

IN THE space of two years, Gold Coast musician Amy Shark has gone from releasing songs on YouTube to performing live at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony and America's biggest late-night TV shows.

In 2018, she became one of Australia's biggest music exports.

Her recent success came after almost a decade making music to little attention before breaking through with her 2016 single Adore.

At the time she probably thought that was a big year for her. But in 2018 she released her critically acclaimed and best selling album Love Monster and toured Australia, Europe and America on the back of it.

She capped off a breakout year with nine ARIA Awards nominations - more than any other musician.

She took home gongs for best album, best female artist and best pop release.

Her success was not just among critics. End-of-year figures from Spotify showed she was one of the most listened to Australian artists.

 

Nick Cummins traded the footy field for The Bachelor mansion.
Nick Cummins traded the footy field for The Bachelor mansion.

HEARTBREAK FOR ALL AS BADGER HITS BACHELOR

WHEN Nick "The Honey Badger" Cummins retired from rugby union, he probably thought the peak of his fame had passed him.

How wrong he was. His stint as The Bachelor helped the Channel 10 show break audience records, just like he broke the heart of every girl on the show, in the end picking none of them as the winner.

The public outcry over his decision even resulted in Cummins admitting his mental health had hit rock bottom after the show.

But his starring role on the show introduced the non-rugby-watching public to a wealth of "Honey Badger-isms", like saying he was "busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad with an itch" or as "nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs".

His stint on the show took it's toll though. Cummins told radio channel Hit105 his experience as The Bachelor was "soul destroying".

 

Broadcaster Alan Jones (centre) was ordered to pay the Wagner family $3.4 million after losing a defamation case.
Broadcaster Alan Jones (centre) was ordered to pay the Wagner family $3.4 million after losing a defamation case. GLENN HUNT

JONES ENDURES TUMULTUOUS 2018

NO ONE courted controversy in 2018 like Alan Jones.

The Sydney shock jock was sued, he was accused of bullying and of undermining a prime minister.

Mr Jones was ordered to pay out $3.4 million when he was found guilty of defaming Toowoomba's Wagner family.

When Malcolm Turnbull was deposed as Prime Minister, he pointed the finger at media commentators, especially Mr Jones, who he claimed wanted Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as PM.

Not long after, Mr Jones found himself in the midst of a firestorm over advertising on the Sydney Opera House.

Mr Jones told the head of the Sydney Opera House the NSW Government should fire her for not wanting ads for The Everest horse race projected on the Opera House at night.

He later apologised for the comments.

The future of Mr Jones' radio show is also under a cloud, with online activists Sleeping Giants urging advertisers to pull their money.

 

Chris Hemsworth starred in a spoof Crocodile Dundee film trailer for Tourism Australia.
Chris Hemsworth starred in a spoof Crocodile Dundee film trailer for Tourism Australia.

FROM DUNDEE TO AVENGER TO RICH LIST

2018 marked the year Chris Hemsworth truly became one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

The annual Forbes rich list marked him as the fifth highest paid actor in the world, raking in about $88million, close to double his income from 2017.

His role as a Tourism Australia ambassador saw him feature in a fake trailer for a rebooted Crocodile Dundee movie.

The much-hyped ad was shown in full during the Super Bowl in America and drew attention across the world.

Tourism Australia said the campaign would add $860million to the national economy in the next two years.

Hemsworth starred in four movies in 2018, including arguably the biggest movie of the year - Avengers: Infinity War - and he finished filming a reboot of Men In Black.

 

John Millman had a breakout year on the tennis court, beating the great Roger Federer.
John Millman had a breakout year on the tennis court, beating the great Roger Federer. Alex Pantling

GIANT-KILLER JOHN'S OPEN TO REMEMBER

IF YOU didn't know who John Millman was at the start of the year, chances are you do now.

Australia's second-ranked tennis player started the year with a wildcard entry to the Brisbane International.

There he won his first round and had two match points against world number three Grigor Dimitrov before losing in three sets.

At the US Open in September, after a decade playing tennis professionally, the Queenslander did what many greats haven't been able to - beat Roger Federer.

In four sets, Millman took down the greatest player of all time to make it to the quarter-finals and rocket up to 34 in the world rankings.

A miracle tournament win was not to be though, with Millman losing to Novak Djokovic, injuring his hip in the process.

Despite the massive upset it was not enough for Millman to be named the top Australian tennis player, losing the Newcombe Medal to up-and-comers Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur.

Millman is hoping to return to tennis at his hometown event at Brisbane with dreams of continuing his rise in the ranks to be seeded at the Australian Open.

LEE LIN LEAVES OUR SCREENS LESSER

AFTER more than three decades presenting the news on SBS, Lee Lin Chin bid farewell to our screens.

Chin started working on Singaporean TV and radio in 1968 before migrating to Australia in 1980.

She started her position as SBS World News host in 1987, a job she held until this year.

Along with her television talents, she became known for her fashion choices on and off the screen.

Chin also developed a cult social media following.

On Twitter, she said her resignation was due to a need for more time to "devote to the pub and re-reading the complete works of Shakespeare".

After Malcolm Turnbull resigned from politics, Chin made a (tongue-in-cheek) offer to run for Labor or the Greens in the seat of Wentworth, demanding the two parties bid for her services.

She capped of her year being named number 74 on Maxim magazine's Hot 100 list.



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