The Waynies  reflect the highs of ’22. And a few lows.

Consider this a new wrinkle – perhaps, a twinkle, too? – of this column’s annual Waynies Awards, recognizing achievement and honor during the outgoing year. Besides entertainment, we’re including life and culture matters.

The pandemic remained a dark cloud of uncertainty over everyone and everything, and new booster and flu shots added another tier of potential safety.

So maybe this recap of 2022 Waynies winners – a format minus specific categories, like we attempted last year –might bring some relief, and applause, in no particular order:

“Hamilton: logo

1 –“Hamilton” finally is in our midst, with a national touring company, in an unprecedented eight-week  residency through Jan. 29. So make it a point to be in the room (Blaisdell Concert Hall) where it’s happening. So far, I’ve taken in three performances.

Tom Cruise

2 — “Top Gun: Maverick,” with its aerial dynamics – a blockbuster hit and a career-topper for Tom Cruise – elevated the actor’s popularity and pocketbook.  Mission not impossible, and with lofty grosses, another sequel should be done in the next two years. Would be great if Cruise earns an acting nomination in the next Oscarcast.

3–  Quarterback woes: Marcus Mariota’s pick as QB for the Atlanta Falcons was an early blessing, but he has been benched the past few weeks. Everything considered, he’s still finding his niche and still remains a super-nice guy off the field, surely a rarity and a model of a great sports hero.  His numerous TV commercials keep his name alive… And Tua Tangovailoa, Miami Dolphins QB, has had concussions concerns the past few weeks, affecting his performance and triggering NFL investigations. Not good! …

Bruno Mars

4 — Bruno Mars became the first recording artist to have five songs certified “diamond”
by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His hits “That’s What I Like” and “When I was Your Man” earned the diamond certification for selling/streaming over 10 millon copies. The tunes join his earlier diamond honors: “Just the Way You Are,” “Grenade,” and “Uptown Funk,” a collaboration with Mark Ronson.  Mars likely would have been a Grammy winner this year, but decided to pull himself out of contention, which means Adele and Harry Styles will duke it out in 2023.

5 — Simu Liu, a Canadian Chinese actor, was the first Asian headliner of a Marvel action film. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings,” which has a sequel in the works. Maui’s Destin Daniel Cretton directed  and co-wrote the popular flick.

Michelle Yeoh

6 – “Anything Everywhere All at Once” was the year’s best movie title. Now. Wow. Pow. And Yeoh. It was an explosive, unexpected, and refreshing stew of kung fu, adventure and family issues, with Michelle Yeoh providing an Asian twist in a star-making, star-blazing role. Toss in an amazingly hilarious Jamie Lee Curtis ( an Oscar-winning performance, if you ask me) and the reboot of Ke Huy Quan, the kid in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” in a welcome addition to the cast.

Miguel Cadoy III

7 — Miguel Cadoy III, a multi-tasking actor and Farrington High School teacher became a last-minute replacement for ailing actor Taj Guitierez, as Judas Iscariot, in Diamond Head Theatre’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He rescued the production, which might have shut down closing weekend playdates. But true to the show biz anthem, “the show must go on,” and it did, indeed!

8 — Pickups were not an issue for two locally-filmed faves: CBS’ “NCIS: Hawai‘I,” starring Vanessa Lachey, and Disney+’s “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” led by Peyton Elizabeth Lee , were both bestowed green lights for a second season, minus the anguish like “Magnum.” While “NCIS” should garner a third year, understand that “Doogie” will not because actress Lee intends to take on a student path to earn a college degree.

Perdita Weeks, Jay Hernandez

9 — For “Magnum P.I.,”  it’s been a challenging year. The CBS reboot ran four seasons, but was unable unable to get a fifth season, until rescuer NBC picked it up belatedly with a sixth season addition. Wonderful play-out for Jay Hernandez and Perdita Weeks (and company), even if the show won’t be on the tube till the 2023-2024  season kickoff on Feb. 19 because of that unexpected and uncanny delay. Better late than never.

10 –Sad: The termination this past summer of the Zippy’s senior card, offering 10 pct discount on menu items. Methinks the program became so popular, supported by elder patrons eligible to join with an  annual cost, that Zippy’s decided to yank the privilege.  Yes, food prices have risen like everything else. Next stop, Zippy’s? Not so often anymore.

11- Glad: The continuation of other beneficial sign-up cards, like Consolidated’s Extra membership, which builds up admission and snack bar sales, to turn purchases into free tickets or snacks. Seniors with AARP membership also can get perks, like 10 pct off meals year-round at Outback. Foodland’s Maikai card builds Hawaiian Miles points with a Hawaiian Airlines charge card, and the CVS/Longs Extra Care card means you get products at advertised sales prices akin to Safeway’s card, but is better with regular discounts issued for sundries and prescription sales.

Will Smih

12 –Bad: The slap seen ‘round the world. He might have won an Oscar, but Will Smith lost the respect of his fans (and others) when he assaulted Academy Awards host Chris Rock. Alas, Smith went from best (Best Actor, for “King Richard”) to worst with his misdeed.  Opinion: Smith  should be abolished and banned in current and future noms.

Randy Rainbow

13 — Rad: For many years now, two particular parody entities have kept me, and others (with whom I’ve shared postings), putting a whirlwind of spins on anything and everything faddish, baddish, and raddish. So mahalo and kudos, to Randy Rainbow and the Holderness Family (namely, Penn and Kim, hubby and wife), who’ve delivered ambitious and digs and pokes on folks and matters dominating real-life elements and personalities. Might include Shirley Serban and the Marsh Family in this cluster.

14–Fad: “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” the unexpected Latino hit, from Disney’s streaming “Encanto” film, rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard charts, toppling Adele’s “Easy on Me” from the perch.. The tune, composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, might have earned an Best Song Academy Awards earlier this year, but it was not nominated. Still, the Oscarcast allowed a powerful primetime performance of the tune by the original Latino cast. Over a few months, “Bruno” prompted online entertainment by theater groups, school music students, choirs from many nations, in fascinating re-enactments of the original. A true fad, and rad fun, too.c

Clarke Bright

15–The Royal Hawaiian Band’s “E Kani Mau (To Resound Forever)” one-nighter at the Hawaii Theatre, was a model of marvelous musicianship and a high water mark for bandmaster Clarke Bright, who arranged all of the music of the likes of Amy Hanaiali ‘i Karen Keawehawaii, Danny Kaleikini, Keauhou, and Nathan Aweau. Projections enhanced the performances; a keepsake program, with bios and song listings, completed the snappy package. And it was a freebie, courtesy the City and County of Honolulu.

Ken Watanabe, Ansel Elgort

16– There ought to be more cross-cultural films like the Ansel Elgort’s “Tokyo Vice,” an HBO project filmed mostly in the dark corridors of Tokyo, where the Yakuza thrive. Elgort played Jake Adelstein, an American journalist, who tumbles into the seedy undercurrents of Japan’s organized crime scene. Sharing acting honors: Ken Watanabe as Hiroto Katagiri, a veteran mentor and resource for a film with a compelling tempo and protocols. Tension and torment galore, unlike American crime capers. Elgort learned to speak Nihongo for this one!

Kevin Iwamoto

17 – Kevin Iwamoto, aka Kevin I when it comes to music, accomplished quite the impossible this year, posting 30K downloads (on such music channels as Pandora), with a popular “Slow Dancing,” which had surpassed two other love song tracks, “Fairy Tale” and “Let’s Give Love.” He said on Facebook, after releasing five tracks digitally this past July, mostly that he intended the re-release of his music “to remaster and preserve for legacy reasons.”  The remarkable thing is that his songs are vintage, recorded when he actively performed in Hawaii in the 1980s, and the current competition includes the likes of Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran. …

18 – The return of the Halekulani’s Sunday brunch, the best in Waikiki, was joyous and memorable. Natch, the popovers are still legendary but now served, and you get to peruse the sumptuous buffet offerings (sushi to prime rib, salads and dessert}. But save room for a sliver of the fabulous coconut cake. Hooray for the Halekulani!

Karen G. Wolfe

19 — Diamond Head Theatre’s “Anything Goes” was the last production in the old facility known as Ruger Theatre before DHT took residency. The closure was momentarily clouded in an off-stage drama about the departure of the 30-year veteran costume designer Karen G. Wolfe, who apparently sought retirement prior to the last show, then changed her mind after DHT began a search for her replacement. Happy resolution: she was retained through the end of the run of “Cinderella,” playing Jan. 20 through Feb. 5, at the state-of-the-art newbie. Now it’s Everything Glows …

20 –The year’s most underrated best show: Manoa Valley Theatre’s “Desperate Measures” Funny. Loaded with the charm. Best ensemble work of the year. If you saw it, you were lucky as heck. The little-known production was an early victim of push-backs due to the uncertainty of Covid, but turned out to be a joyous comeback this year two years later. …

21 –Broadway’s first $3 million-a-week sensation, “The Music Man,” proves that when  Hugh Jackman’s aboard, there’s no “Trouble” in River City. But alas, a closing date has been announced for Jan. 1 but the run has been extended to till Jan. 15.


22 – “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a blockbuster on several fronts. Its global take already is in the $1 billion level. Did director James Cameron need a three-hour spectacle?  No, but his superb underwater and on-land scenics never are boring, though often repetitive. Spoiler here: Wasn’t it a bit inhumane to depict the slaughter of those whale-like creatures that understand sign language and speech, to mostly get a tube full of brain serum? Seriously, the film kind of needed an intermission, like those back-in-the-day historical adventures that wisely allowed time to go pee and refresh the drinks and popcorn. No?

And that’s Show Biz, 2022 year-ender version. …

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