Every list of 2009 newsmakers will be topped by the Obamas. Public interest runs high -- not only about Barack Obama, who will be sworn in as the nation's 44th president Jan. 20 -- but also about wife Michelle, daughters Sasha and Malia and even their yet-to-be-adopted White House dog. You'll be sure to see them in the headlines all year as America gets to know its new First Family.
Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, an avid Obama booster, will be in the news as she fights yet another battle of the bulge. She has vowed to lose 40 pounds by spring, half of them before the inauguration. She has big plans for that day, moving her weekday show to Washington, D.C., for two weeks. Oh, and her Harpo Productions has just signed a three-year exclusive deal with HBO.
"The Queen of Soul" is among the performers given a substantial role in the Obama inauguration. Aretha Franklin will perform during the noon swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, composer John Williams and poet Elizabeth Alexander are also scheduled to take part.
Rocker Bruce Springsteen was another Obama supporter. But that's not why he will be in the news in 2009. "The Boss" and his E Street Band will be providing the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla. He may also pick up a few awards this season for his soundtrack for the movie "The Wrestler."
A new season of the hugely popular "American Idol" singing competition gets under way Jan. 13 on the Fox network and this year, it will have a new judge , songwriter Kara DioGuardi. She joins Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, all of whom have been judging the contest since it started in the summer of 2002. Expect some headlines on how she performs and fits in on the panel.
New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne has one of the best chances of bringing home a Grammy when the awards are handed out on Feb. 8. That's because he has the most nominations -- eight, including one for the prestigious Album of the Year award for his CD "Tha Carter III."
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio
There has been "Titanic" buzz around the reunion of shipwreck sweeties Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in the Sam Mendes 1950s drama "Revolutionary Road." This time, they play a suburban couple in a troubled marriage. The movie has been put on numerous Top 10 lists and the two stars already have been racking up awards, including four Golden Globe nominations, for their work in it.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" and now is sharing the screen with Nicole Kidman in the epic tale "Australia," will make news Feb. 22 when he hosts his first Oscar ceremony. He brings to the job some experience as host of several Tony Award ceremonies for Broadway theater. He won an Emmy for hosting 2004's 59th annual Tony Awards.
Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn is already picking up Best Actor honors for his turn as gay activist Harvey Milk in the run-up to the Feb. 22 Academy Awards ceremony. Expect him to be among the Oscar nominees announced in January. It would his fifth nomination; he won in 2004 for "Mystic River." He already has Golden Globe and Independent Spirit nominations for his role in Gus Van Sant's "Milk."
Considered by many to be the nation's leading actress, Meryl Streep has two Oscars and a record 14 nominations to her credit. She already snagged two Golden Globe Best Actress nominations -- one for the musical "Mamma Mia!" and another for the drama "Doubt." She also has a SAG nomination for "Doubt." Expect to see her win something this season and make an appearance on Oscar's list.
Funnyman Jerry Lewis, who spent half a century raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association , will be honored on Oscar night with the Jean Hershholt Humanitarian Award. His comedy and philanthropy have earned him numerous honors through the years, including the French Legion of Honor in 1984, a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 1977.
Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell
Two more actors will make headlines as the parents of twins, joining such celebs as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. Twins are on the way for Rebecca Romijn, 35, and Jerry O'Connell, 34. The couple is expecting the babies this winter. They will be the first children for the pair, who tied the knot in Los Angeles in July 2007.
Expect to hear more about Irish rockers U2 in March when they release their first album in almost five years. "No Line on the Horizon" is the band's 12th studio album. Their last album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," came out in 2004.
Teen idol Miley Cyrus will be in the news as fans speculate about how long she will continue with her popular TV show. Disney has just ordered new episodes for "Hannah Montana," now in its third season. But after that, no one knows for sure if Miley will continue.
All eyes will be on Jay Leno as he moves his brand of talk TV from late-night to primetime. Leno is being replaced on "The Tonight Show" by Conan O'Brien and being given his own Monday-through-Friday talk show at 10 p.m. The switch starts in May.
Tom Hanks will be back in movie theaters this summer, reprising his "DaVinci Code" character, symbologist Robert Langdon. Also based on a book by author Dan Brown, this is a prequel to the 2006 film. Ron Howard again directs.
Heartthrob Johnny Depp will be back on the big screen thus summer in "Public Enemies." Depp pairs with Christian Bale, Tatum Channing and Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard for a drama about American gangsters in the 1930s.
Political pundit Ariana Huffington of The Huffington Post will be on TV this fall, providing the voice for a talking bear in "The Cleveland Show," a "Family Guy" spin-off. The show was expected to debut this spring but was later delayed until the fall of 2009.
Oscar-winning director James Cameron is back on the big screen this fall for the first time since he launched "Titanic" in 1997. He is the writer and director of the sci-fi thriller "Avatar." The movie stars Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver.
Oscar winner Hilary Swank is taking on the role aviatrix Amelia Earhart in a movie due out in time for Oscar season next fall. It looks to be a good year for biopics with Helen Mirren playing the wife of Russian author Leo Tolstoy and American screen legend Meryl Streep portraying another legend, French chef Julia Child.