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Feb 04 2014

Vanity Fair 2014 "The Hollywood Issue"(Part 2)

Part 1ICYMI,the cover with Chiwetel,Julia,Idris and George

The Vanity Fair "Hollywood Issue"tradition with its glorious and glam pull out cover is our favorite among annuals.In this 3 or 4 part series we'll investigate the full issue,generally just as enticing as the cover,starting with the cover itself (parts 1 and 2).Before we get to each star individually we must praise VF for fashioning Lupita just like a living erect golden Oscar -- get that statue,girl!-- instead of just dropping her,subserviently,on the floor like The Hollywood Reporter did![more]

From Left to Right...

Michael B Jordan,who turns 27 this weekend,gets a nice little birthday gift,being on the foldout cover of Vanity Fair.That's hard to beat.The only thing better would've been the actual cover but he's young still in Hollywood leading men turns so he'll have to wait his turn.Hot off of Fruitvale Station and currently co-starring inThat Awkward Moment(which unfortunately doesn't do him any favors),the sky could be the limit with a combo of youth,great looks,and real talent.And hasn't it been an awfully long time since Denzel happened and no African American leading-man has yet approached his success level across multiple mainstream genres.
Stats: Films.Almod 27 Years Old.No Oscar Nom Yet but he's up for a Spirit Award in March
Previous Essentials:Friday Night Lights(TV Series),Parenthood(TV Series)
Next Up: Taking over The Human Torch from Chris Evans (who has his hands full with another superhero right now,in the reboot ofThe Fantasic Four(2015)

Jared Leto,Actor cum Rock star,returned to the big screen as a memorable trans woman named Rayon with AIDS in Best Picture nomineeDallas Buyers Clubwinning raves and dozens of statues and other honors for his weight-loss trouble.It's no surprise that he's here despite his reluctant film stardom.
Stats: 21 Films.4 Albums.42 years old.1 Oscar Nomination He's Expected to Win
Previous Essentials:My So Called Life(TV Series),Prefontaine,Requiem for a Dream
Next Up: He told me in our interviewthat he has no plans to act again any time soon.Our loss.

Lupita Nyong'o,anascent fashion iconand theSupporting Actress frontrunneris truly cosmopolitan.She was born in Mexico,raised in Kenya and classically trained in the US.After stunning both audiences and the film industry with her debut film12 Years a Slave.If Hollywood gets out of its own way and starts casting talented black actresses in major roles (they have much less opportunity than their male counterparts) her future could be thrilling.
Stats: 2 Films.30 Years Old.1 Oscar nomination.
Previous Essentials: None.
Next Up:Non-Stopwith Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore whichwe were just spazzing over on the podcast.

Naomie Harris,a British beauty who we've been familiar with onscreen for some time,always seems like she'sjustaboutto happen.Will she this time?She won great reviews forMandelabut the movie didn't excite people,she was exciting inSkyfallbut then so was everything else about that movie so she didn't "pop".Will she ever find the one role that does it for her?
Stats: 20 Films and some British TV.37 Years old.No Oscar Nominations
Previous Essentials:28 Days Later,Miami Vice,Skyfall
Next Up: Nothing on the docket before the next Bond (2015)...surely some strong filmmaker should rush right up to usurp her schedule.

Brie Larson,broke out onThe United States of Taraplaying an overly confident teenager becoming an adultbut she had her best year yet in the movies providing smart and funny key support in two minor hitsThe Spectacular NowandDon Jonas well as carrying the year's most beloved tiny indie that could (Short Term 12) all the way to top ten lists and a million dollar gross.That's pocket change to Hollywood but a major gross for an indie by a director no one has heard of with no stars and no marketing hooks.We talked to her twice this yearand she's fabulous.
Stats: 18 Films.Lots of TV.24 Years old.No Oscar attention but you have to believe she was in the running for Best Actress given the surprise success along the way (Detroit Film Critics,Gotham Award,BFCA nod)
Previous Essentials:The United States of Tara(TV Series),Scott Pilgrim vs.The World,21 Jump Street
Next Up: She didn't quite nab the Sarah Connor role in the Terminator reboot (ugh I hate even typing those two words together.It's about time travel.You don't need to start over.Duh!) but interest is presumably high postShort Term 12.She'll next be seen in a Bollywood musical (yes really)Basmati Bluesand in the remake ofThe Gambler(2015)

Chad Boseman, broke for by headlining42: The Jackie Robinson Storywhich turned into a surprise hit earlier in the year.If this were one of those up-and-coming covers he'd be a no brainer but he's a bit more a surprise in this cover which mixes mega stars,with established rising talents,and people who had a really good year.
Stats: 3 Films and a lot of TV.31 Years Old.No Mainstream Awards Attention yet.
Previous Essentials:Lincoln Heights(TV Series)
Next Up:Draft Daya sports drama from Ivan Reitman sarring Kevin Costner,plus his headline biopic already withGet On Up(The James Brown story).My guess is that particular role is make or break it time.But however that goes he's also lined up for the manly CGI spectacleGods of Egyptwith Gerard Butler.

Margot Robbie,this Australian beauty was definitelythe most exciting thing tolookatinThe Wolf of Wall Street.
Stats: 4 Films after two breakthrough TV gigs.23 years old.No Awards yet.
Previous Essentials:Pan Am(TV Series)
Next Up: a few movies on the immediate way (and many more to come) including the all star period dramaSuite Françaiseand the sci-fi dramaZ for Zachariah

Léa Seydoux,already a major respected French star with four César nominations (including this year),made three key entrances into mainstream Hollywood film a few years back with small roles inMidnight in Paris,Inglourious Basterds,andMission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.But with this year's erotic French sensationBlue is the Warmest ColorHollywood will undoubtedly try to steal her away from the Croisette (again) where she won the Palme D'Or this past summer.
Stats: 24 Films.28 years old.No Oscar attention yet.
Previous Essentials:La Belle Personne,Farewell My Queen,Sister
Next Up:  Yorgos Lanthimos'The Lobster,Wes Anderson'sGrand Budapest Hotel,and another French version ofBeauty and the Beast(with Vincent Cassel the Beast to her Beauty)

Which of these 8 stars do you think we'll still be talking about in 2020?And if you had directed this cover which current hot star would you have wanted on the cover?

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Reader Comments (38)

Honestly,I could handle if this whole cover were just Lupita and Léa superimposed into everyone else's positions.I'd even let Léa put on real clothes.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Hold da phone?!?!?!

Z for Zachariah is going to be a REAL movie?!!?!?Not in my 7th grade dreams?!!?!?

Anyway,I'm actually really impressed over the inclusion of Boseman and Larson.Lea's built enough goodwill with filmmakers over the years and Robbie and Lupita are the new faces in town but I'm really impressed.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

That you don't consider The Wire essential is rather crushing.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I cant believe Leto is 42.What the frack is going on there?Did he sell his soul to the devil?Does he drink baby blood?Does he offer virgins in sacrifice in exchange for eternal youth?Is he a vampire?Is he Dorian Gray?Is he a genetic experiment?A mutant?This person doesnt age!!!!!!

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

In 1998 Cate Blanchett was also on the 2nd fold of Vanity Fair's Hollywood cover like Lupita this year.In fact they have the same pose.Let's hope the career follows the pose.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

Lupita justownsthat middle shot.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

"I cant believe Leto is 42.What the frack is going on there?Did he sell his soul to the devil?"

He's going to win an Oscar,so I say yes.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

We'll be seeing more of Chiwetel Ejiofor (obviously).It's odd,isn't it,that so many of us look at the supporting players and say,wow,who is that guy?Like Ejiofor in Serenity,American Gangster,etc.But for a lot of people it seems to take a high profile leading role before they notice an actor or actress.

Retroactively,they now "see"them."Talk to Me"with Ejiofor and Don Cheadle is now being described as undervalued at the time,maybe because NOW he's familiar to them.

And I don't want to jinx Ejiofor,but he has an OBE (already!) and is a great Shakespearean actor,so what we've seen from him so far is just the tip of the iceberg.In England,he's considered one of the greatest actors of his generation.He will take our breath away over and over again.

Naomie Harris and Lea Seydoux,participating in the British and French film industries,will keep working and doing interesting parts.They're not totally dependent on the vagaries of American casting.

Brie Larson is going to be so interesting to watch.I'm optimistic about her working a lot,because she's able to do a number of genres,including comedy.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Jared Leto is vegan so blood sucking isn't in his wheelhouse.

I'd like to think that one month later and Luputa would be front and center.Vanity Fair couldn't have predicted shed be THE fashion leader this entire season.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterJtagliere

Lupita's best option is chasing after global auteurs to book her in their movies -- particularly British ones like Mike Leigh.Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos has already transitioned into making English language titles.Because Nyong'o looks like a super model and is prime to win an Oscar -- that will be the cache she can utilize with the foreign financiers and filmmakers.Hollywood is dead to progress.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I don't see any of these people fading.The women and the established men will have it easier (bar some disaster) only the younger men will have a harder time of it

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Michael B.Jordan was also part of The Wire one of the best TV shows ever.Leto is gorgeous,but still haven't seen DBC.

Lupita.sigh.she can almost forget it in Hollywood.I mean Naomie is still looking to break out.Margot Robbie did nothing spectacular in Wolf,but she's getting roles left and right.It would feel better if it was the lovely Brie Larson.Lea will be Lea,I think Adele should've gotten a spot too.

February 4,2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

My hope is that by 2020 we find out that Lupita can be funny and can sing and has won her second Oscar for playing Nabulungi in the Book of Mormon movie.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterJonn

Whoa,Margot Robbie is the youngest one there???

February 5,2014 | Unregistered Commentermatt

Do you wonder,after all this year best movie cast,mmandelais the only one with both its lead on this cover?i smell some harvey business here.But elba and harris are superb btw
Love it that Robbie got included,true hotness

February 5,2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

Is no one wondering where Adele is?Lol.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

There is this recent interview with Chiwetel and Lupita where they were asked what's next for them in their careers.My heart sank when Lupita replied she has nothing on her plate so far ( with the exception of Non-Stop) which had already filmed.Hopefully she is just having a hard time deciding what's next because directors are throwing opportunities her way.I'm going to be very pissed if she does not announce another movie AND a deal with a cosmetic or fashion giant.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered Commenteryshark

Jordan Catalano is 42.Now I feel old.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterRami

3rtful,Mike Leigh?All his films have working class Northern Brits in them,but yes to the international auteurs idea in general

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterRami

Was Brie Larson even there?The Photoshop looks botched...

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterNoecitos

I agree with everyone...Stunned by Leto's age!

Even if Lupita wins,I'm not confident about her career going anywhere special.Although,I'm sure theater is in her future.

Lea will always work in France or with interesting auteurs.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Lupita deserves to be the front cover,especially over George and Julia.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

With regards to Lupita,the only other recent actress of colour who had a similar trajectory that I can think of is Gabourey Sidibe (new young actress,nominated for first film role,etc) and although Sidibe hasn't had as good of a role as Precious since her nomination she has done fairly well since as a working actor.And I think Lupita will be more successful,because let's face it,fairly or not,Sidibe's weight is more of an issue in Hollywood (this is not my view of her but how the industry works sadly).

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterRami

It's so depressing to think that Margot Robbie is getting roles left and right and Lupita has nothing.If only I were a Hollywood producer....

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

@Rami I agree with you,Sidibe has been doing decent so far.Lupita may have to turn to TV.I mean look at Kerry Washington.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I think the most unfortunate thing Lupita's probably facing is the bubble minority nominees find themselves in believing they're a phone call away from their next gig.Instead of having to audition and beg for their next gig for anything let alone something substantial.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

arkaan -- i listed the wire under idris "essentials"but in truth i haven't seen it.I tried watching a few episodes early on some years ago (as with breaking bad) but both shows i had the same problem with.They seemed brilliantly acted but the amount of depression and nihilism i was feeling watching them suggested to me that i shouldn't spend (literal) weeks of my life with them.I can handle nihilistic movies but taht's only 2 hours of my psyche,not hundreds of hours.

February 5,2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Naomie Harris was sensational in 'Mandela,' a film that got mediocre reviews despite being no worse than,say,'The King's Speech.' Critics can be so fickle...if it were released in a different year,perhaps she would have been a major contender.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

Actually,I'd be willing to wager that a plus-size black woman like Sidibe would be more likely to get steady employment in Hollywood than a more "conventional"beauty like Nyong'o,my friends.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul -- that may be true since they never cast black actresses as love interests or leads outside of like Tyler Perry's world.(sigh) but there's plenty of room for them in character bits including the best friend or sassy acquaintance (who need not be thin and gorgeous)

February 5,2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Please give "The Wire"another chance.Start from the beginning of the first episode.I had watched scattered episodes and always hated it,but after I bought the first season and watched a few episodes in a row I began to understand what it was getting at.(And after I eased into the rhythms of the language and the characters,I became hooked to the point that I bought all five seasons and bingewatched more obsessively than I have any TV series before or since.) "The Wire"gives the most vivid picture of the African-American underclass that I have ever seen.What may seem like depression and nihilism is often,in context,extraordinary vitality.I feel that it made me understand,in a way that books and articles and even chats with African-American friends have never done,why a certain part of our world is the way it is.And the structure of the series is like a great nineteenth-century novel,in which all aspects of the world from top to bottom are explored.Please find the time to understand why (like me) so many people think it's the best TV show of all time.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterOwen Walter

'but there's plenty of room for them in character bits including the best friend or sassy acquaintance' --- this is sadly so true and so so depressing.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterRami

I would add under Essentials for Michael B.Jordan--All My Children.He was terrific as Susan Lucci's fiance's adopted son.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I know that there is more diversity for this annual issue but I don't see this as a progress.It's an easy get for VF because this year,we have 3 movies contending with African American actors as leads with 1 of them as co-front runner (12 year Years a Slave).Additionally,all of these AA actors are at the very least beautiful as in the most traditional sense.I am sorry for being cynical but unless VF does this regularly with their annual issue and will feature acclaimed minority performers even from smaller movies,I just see this is as a one time deal.Hope to be proven wrong though.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Drew,I don't find this too worrisome.Most actors of any race are going to be beautiful,that is just the nature of casting in the movies.Goodlooking people generally get more and better parts than less goodlooking people.That said,I choose to be optimistic that this landmark year in African-American cinema will only lead to more growth and diversity in Hollywood.I really hope I'm not just being a dreamer.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I think Gabourey was smart in that she seemed to do a little bit of everything to keep herself visible.Plus,she is versatile and can do comedy as easy as drama.

AHS:Coven may have been a bit of let down,but the ratings were great and it kept her out in the public eye.

February 5,2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Naomie is great!Hope to see her before Skyfall 2

February 10,2014 | Unregistered CommenterLoll

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July 29,2019 | Unregistered Commenterducklife

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