The annual Vanity Fair Hollywood cover has arrived in the mail. They’ve gone back to established movie stars for the front cover: those gorgeous faces include Oscar contenders Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) and Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County”), as well as global movie stars Idris Elba (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) and George Clooney (“Gravity”), while the inside folds feature younger Oscar nominees Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave’) plus Naomie Harris (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”), Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”), Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”), Chadwick Boseman (“42”), Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Lea Seydoux (“Blue Is the Warmest Color”).
As glam as these photos are, my favorite inside spread shows how amazing actors can look without pounds of makeup and airbrushing. I applaud Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Annette Bening, Bette Midler, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Scarlett Johannson, and the guys for collaborating with Chuck Close for his giant Polaroids (behind-the-scenes video here) in all their naked fabulousness. See below.
“They can be rough,” Close says. “They have to give up a great deal of vanity to do it. It takes a great deal of generosity and faith on the part of the subject…No hair, no makeup, no wardrobe, pick something, wear it, come in and wear your own hair… It will be shocking to people.”
Also inside is a must-read feature about the Cal Arts class that spawned John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Tim Burton and a generation of brilliant animators, a profile of Oscar host Ellen De Generes, James Wolcott on Hollywood’s great year at the movies, a slice of old Hollywood from Robert Wagner’s memoir, “You Must Remember This: Life and Style from Hollywood’s Golden Age,” Nate Silver and Bruce Feirstein’s very different takes the Oscars, some wondrous classic photos from VF issues past, including current nominees Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio, and a dull as dishwater politically correct Proust questionnaire from Harvey Weinstein, who delivered many of the stars in the issue. Harvey, you can do better than that.