The best celebrity photobombs

George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jennifer Lawrence and even the Queen have lent their talents to the photographic art form

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According to the Collins English Dictionary, “photobomb” was 2014’s Word of the Year. Officially defined as “to intrude into the background of a photograph without the subject’s knowledge”, it was one of 50,000 new additions to the dictionary along with twerk, selfie, onesie and adorkable. 

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First appearing on the scene way back in 2008, the term has gathered significant momentum these past couple of years, even earning some high profile royal endorsement from the Queen herself. Here are some of our favourites… 

George Clooney

Mr Clooney is usually the definition of cool but we all know he has a goofy side. The two-time Oscar winner has a reputation for pulling some of the most audacious pranks in Hollywood on the likes of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Amy Poehler. Some of these jokes take imagination, organisation and lengthly preparation, while others require a mere moment of wackiness, such as the time Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber decided to snap their romantic smooch. Clearly Clooney had other ideas… 

Emma Thompson

The British actress has nailed some impressive red carpet photobombs this year, including a memorable effort over the shoulder of nominee and eventual winner Lupita Nyong’o at the Screen Actors Guild Awards back in January. But this isn’t the first time Thompson has stolen the limelight – a recent appearance on Graham Norton reminded her – and sofa buddy Hugh Grant – of her, er, talent for photobombing. 

Jennifer Lawrence

No one in Hollywood knows how to pull a wacky face quite like the Hunger Games actress. Famed for her goofy interviews and adorable fangirling, the 24-year-old pulled off quite the facial contortion when sharing a red carpet with singer Taylor Swift at the Golden Globes earlier this year. The moment came as Taylor was interviewed by E!’s Ryan Seacrest with Lawrence pulling a face we didn’t even know was possible.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Arguably the best photobomb of all time? Benny C pulled a blinder at the 2014 Oscars ceremony, eyeing up U2 as they said cheese for the photographers and going in for the kill. “I spotted them all standing around and I thought, ‘Perfect!’ It wasn’t preordained or anything. I just did it,” explained the Sherlock actor last month, blaming Ellen DeGeneres for “plying [him] with vodka” on the red carpet. While we recommend the still version, this live action footage of the moment with added Jaws theme tune is even better. 

Jared Leto

Taking a lead from Cumberbatch was Oscar-winner Jared Leto, who was in a party mood as he strolled down the red carpet at the Vanity Fair after-party, golden statuette in hand. The best supporting actor soon stumbled across last year’s winner Anne Hathaway posing up a storm for the photographers and turned an average photo into an excellent one by doing this…

The Queen

The Royal Family pulled out all the stops when it came to photobombing in 2014, showing the general public just how it’s done. First up, the Queen. One was most amused when Her Majesty appeared in the back of a selfie taken by athlete Jayde Taylor at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Take note, folks – this is how it’s done.

Prince Harry

Taking a lead from his grandmama, Prince Harry also chose the Commonwealth Games to make his photobombing debut. And while the Queen opted for a graceful appearance, Harry went all out – goofy grin, thumbs up as he popped up in shot between former Olympic boxer Trevor Shailer and New Zealanders Sir Gordon Tietjens and Gary Hermansson during the 800m women’s freestyle event.

Prince William

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Not one to miss out on a party, the heir to the throne soon followed suit to become the third royal photobomber – although admittedly his technique doesn’t quite match that of his brother and the Queen. Wills chose to add a dash of royal gravitas to a snap taken by six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy as he posed for the camera during the Commonwealth Games. But with all the best intentions, the Prince has come out a little blurry – he could do with picking up a tip or two from his grandmother.