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The cast of The Avengers are many things: talented, good-looking, charming and some of the biggest stars on the planet. It seems like everywhere you look lately there’s always at least one member of the team in the news, on movie screens or on the cover of a magazine at any given moment. The buzz surrounding them hasn’t diminished since Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson wrapped up the Captain America: The Winter Soldier press tour, either. If anything, it’s only gotten stronger as we reach the peak of blockbuster season and head into Oscar territory.
And with good reason: the cast of The Avengers is having a pretty great year. But which one of them is having the best 2014 of them all? Is Johansson’s second blockbuster of the year – this Friday’s Lucy – enough to balance out Mark Ruffalo’s awards buzz? Can Chris Hemsworth come out on top due to good looks alone? We've broken down the Year in Avengers:
7. Robert Downey Jr. What He’s Done: Played a supporting role in Jon Favreau’s sleeper hit Chef; starring opposite Robert Duvall in The Judge, which will be released in October; named the highest-paid movie star in the world for the second year in a row How He’s Doing: Pretty good. Not like, Tony Stark pre-arc-reactor-good, but pretty darn good.
6. Jeremy Renner What He’s Done: A guest stint on the epic two-part episode of Louie (the two-part episode “In The Woods”); receiving awards buzz for his starring role in Kill the Messenger, which hits theaters in October How He’s Doing: You know, sometimes you just have to take some time an build up your critical acclaim.
5. Chris Hemsworth What He’s Done: Helped his wife, Elsa Pataky, raise their twin sons, who were born in March, as well as their 2 year-old daughter How He’s Doing: Have you seen him? He’s doing great.
4. Mark Ruffalo What He’s Done: Earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in A Normal Heart; starred in the charming but not-great Begin Again with Kiera Knightley; starred in the highly-anticipated Foxcatcher, which will finally open in November How He’s Doing: Aw, look at him riding a unicycle on a talk show! Isn’t he charming? No, don’t think about Begin Again, just focus on the charm.
3. Tom Hiddleston What He’s Done: Earned an Olivier Award (the UK equivalent of the Tonys) for playing the title role in Coriolanus; starred opposite the mystical Tilda Swinton in Only Lovers Left Alive; had a cameo in Muppets Most Wanted; starred in a Jaguar commercial that was banned in the UK How He’s Doing: If the Loki fans say he’s doing well, then we do too. (We’ll say whatever they want, honestly, we’re a little scared of them.)
2. Chris Evans What He’s Done: Starred in the post-apocalyptic indie hit Snowpiercer; his directorial debut Before We Go is premiering at TIFF in September; filmed A Many Splintered Thing which is slated for release later this year How He’s Doing: He just spent four months hanging out with Anthony Mackie – he’s having a great year.
1. Scarlett Johansson What She’s Done: Dated Jon Favreau in Chef; kicked serious butt as a super-powered party girl in Lucy; terrified men everywhere in Under the Skin; got engaged to a handsome Frenchman; got pregnant; will reportedly get married in August How She’s Doing: 2014 is pretty much Johansson’s year. The rest of the Avengers are just living in it.
Ariana Grande's U.S. TV series Sam & Cat has been cancelled after one season. The teen sitcom, starring the Problem hitmaker and actress Jennette McCurdy, was put on permanent hiatus in April (14) and now executives at the show's network Nickelodeon have announced the programme will not be returning for another season.
A statement issued on Sunday (13Jul14) reads, "Nickelodeon will not be producing more episodes of Sam & Cat. We are very proud of the show and its very talented cast and we wish them all the best."
McCurdy hit headlines in March (14) after boycotting the network's Kids' Choice Awards and subsequently claiming her absence was in protest of TV executives who had put her in an "uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation".
She did not elaborate on the behind-the-scenes feud, but bosses at Nickelodeon refuted the actress' allegations and insisted they had nothing but "the utmost respect" for McCurdy.
Actor Vincent Pastore has gone public with his prostate cancer fight after secretly battling the disease for the past year. The Sopranos star reveals he was diagnosed with the illness in March, 2013, shortly after landing a role as a mobster in Woody Allen's stage adaptation of Bullets Over Broadway and he was so worried cancer would rob him of his chance to shine on Broadway, he kept the news of his health crisis to himself.
He underwent surgery last July (13) and received radiation treatment at White Plains Hospital in New York between November (13) and January (14), all while attending "physically exhausting" rehearsals for the musical in Manhattan.
Pastore finally decided to come clean about his cancer battle to play director Susan Stroman and he was relieved when she didn't fire him from the cast.
He tells the New York Daily News, "I told her that if she had to get rid of me, to just get rid of me. Instead she started to cry. She hugged me and said, 'I will never get rid of you.' It was an amazing moment that gave me the strength to work even harder."
Pastore has also heaped praise on filmmaker Allen for his support throughout the ordeal and he cannot believe he has since made it to his 100th performance of Bullets Over Broadway, which opened in April (14).
He says, "I kept setting goals for myself during this illness. First, make it through rehearsals. Then to previews. I did that. Then to opening night. I did that. Then to 100 performances, a big deal on Broadway. Now I wanna make it to my 68th birthday, July 14th. Now producers are talking to me about maybe taking Bullets Over Broadway to London...
"Now I can officially say, 'OK, I'm a proud prostate cancer survivor.' I feel great..."
The actor is now making it his mission to raise awareness about the disease and he reveals his efforts helped one famous pal spot his cancer early.
He adds, "I warned a lot of my friends to go get checked out. One well-known actor did and he caught his prostate cancer in time."
Getty Images/Jason Merritt
Sir Elton John has urged religious leaders around the world to throw their support behind gay marriage because "times have changed".
The music superstar entered into a civil partnership with film producer David Furnish in his native Britain in 2005, and the couple is planning to marry next year (15) after gay marriage was officially legalised in the U.K. in March (14). Elton John has now declared religious institutions need to accept same-sex unions in order to cement equal rights for gay couples.
He tells Sky News, "The church hierarchy, the traditionalists, might be up in arms about it but times have changed. If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen. He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that is what the church should be about."
The Rocket Man star also lavished praise on Catholic leader Pope Francis, calling him "wonderful" and hailing him as a forward-thinking Pontiff, adding, "He's excited me so much by his humanity... He's taken everything down to the humility of faith. He's stripped it down to the bare bones and said it's all basically about love and inclusiveness. That has to be encouraged by the Church of England as well."
Emma Thompson is returning to the London stage for the first time in 25 years for a string of performances in a concert version of Sweeney Todd. The British actress made her New York stage debut in the role of villainous pie-maker Mrs. Lovett in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street in March (14), and now she's taking the show to the U.K. capital.
She will re-team with Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel, who performed the title role in the Big Apple concerts, and the show will make up part of the English National Opera's first ever season of musical theatre next March and April (15).
Thompson last graced the stage in London in 1989, when she appeared alongside ex-husband Sir Kenneth Branagh in Look Back In Anger, directed Dame Judi Dench.
Country singer Jason Aldean made his red carpet debut with former mistress Brittany Kerr at the 2014 CMT Music Awards on Wednesday night (04Jun14).
The Big Green Tractor hitmaker proudly showed off his new girlfriend, a former American Idol contestant, with the pair holding hands and posing for photos at the Nashville, Tennessee prizegiving. The public appearance comes two years after they were embroiled in a 2012 kissing scandal, which led to the end of Aldean's marriage.
He hit headlines after he was photographed locking lips with Kerr at a bar in Los Angeles, and after attempting to repair his marriage to high school sweetheart Jessica Ussery, the singer eventually filed for divorce to end their 12-year union last year (Apr13). Aldean and Kerr officially began dating in March (14), according to Us Weekly.
Terminally-ill rocker Wilko Johnson has been discharged from hospital and is making "excellent progress" in his recovery after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour from his pancreas. The former Dr. Feelgood star, who has been suffering from inoperable pancreatic cancer since January, 2013, was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England on 30 April (14) to undergo a nine-hour operation.
The surgery was a success, but Johnson was kept under doctors' care for several weeks to ensure he didn't experience any complications. He has since been allowed to go home and now a representative for the musician has shared an update with fans on his Facebook.com page.
Thanking fans for their ongoing support, the rep writes, "We're sure you will be as delighted as we are that after making excellent progress at Addenbrooke's over the last few weeks, Wilko is now convalescing back at his home.
"Naturally after such an extensive procedure, Wilko is extremely tired, and it will take him some time to recuperate, so he asks that you respect his privacy, but we had to share this incredibly positive news.
"On behalf of Wilko and his family, another huge thank you for your magnificent support over recent months - it really means a great deal to Wilko - and please join us in thanking the staff at Addenbrooke's for everything they have achieved in some extremely difficult circumstances."
Johnson's pal Roger Daltrey previously revealed the ailing rocker had started to use his downtime to write songs for a new joint album with The Who star following the March (14) release of their collaborative project, Going Back Home.
Australian pop star Kylie Minogue has reportedly left her longtime record label Parlophone following disappointing sales of her latest album, Kiss Me Once. The Can't Get You Out Of My Head hitmaker released her 12th studio album in March (14), but it has only sold 60,000 copies to date.
Now Minogue has decided to leave the label after 15 years, according to The Sun. A source says, "The deal with Parlophone has come to a natural end. She has the option to re-sign with them, but has decided against it because of what happened with Kiss Me Once.
"Kylie is one of the world's leading pop stars, so she was bitterly disappointed about the performance of her album. Kylie did everything she could, even agreeing to be a judge on The Voice (U.K.) for a year, which is something she would've liked to avoid."
Minogue became on a judge on the British version of the reality TV show for the first time this year (14), but confirmed in April (14) she had quit the show after just one season.
A judge has ruled the teenage daughter of tragic actor Paul Walker should live with her mother and a nanny. In March (14), the star's mum Cheryl Walker filed papers for temporary and permanent guardianship of 15 year old Meadow in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming she was at risk because her mother, Rebecca Soteros, had been struggling with alcoholism.
Both parties subsequently reached an out-of-court agreement, and Walker decided to drop the case in April (14), but Commissioner David Cowan refused to dismiss it, saying, "It is up to the court to decide whether (a) guardianship case should be granted or denied."
After appointing an attorney for Meadow and ordering an investigation, the case returned to court on Wednesday (28May14) for a final ruling.
Meadow's attorney Amy Nieman told the judge that Soteros has been spending time with her daughter while receiving treatment for alcoholism and is currently sober.
In addition, executors for the estate of the late actor have purchased a home where both Meadow and Soteros can live, along with a nanny who has been taking care of the teen for the past two years.
Nieman noted that there are "a lot of layers of support for Meadow".
In the actor's will, the Fast & Furious star, who died in a car crash in November (13), stated he wanted his mother to become Meadow's guardian in the event of his premature death.
Actor Columbus Short has been barred from approaching his estranged wife until the end of July (14) after he was accused of violating her restraining order six times in the past month. Tanee McCall-Short obtained the protection order against the former Scandal star in April (14), amid allegations he had threatened to kill her during a heated domestic dispute.
He lost an appeal against the ruling and was ordered to move his belongings out of their marital home, but he was subsequently accused of breaking into the California property at the end of last month (Apr14).
McCall-Short's lawyer appeared before a judge on Wednesday (21May14) and revealed that the actor had allegedly broken the terms of the ban on a total of six separate occasions.
He requested to have the restraining order made permanent, but the judge delayed making a formal decision on the motion and instead extended the temporary ban until 30 July (14), according to TMZ.com.
McCall-Short initially filed for divorce from the star in September, 2013 after eight years of marriage. They are parents to a young daughter named Ayala.
It's not the only legal issue Short is facing - last week (ends16May14), he pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated battery relating to a bloody bar brawl in Los Angeles in March (14).