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 in That 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 of The 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 nominee Dallas Buyers Club winning 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 interview that he has no plans to act again any time soon. Our loss.
Lupita Nyong'o, a nascent fashion icon and the Supporting Actress frontrunner is 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 film 12 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-Stop with Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore which we 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's justabout to happen. Will she this time? She won great reviews for Mandela but the movie didn't excite people, she was exciting in Skyfall but 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 on The United States of Tara playing an overly confident teenager becoming an adult but she had her best year yet in the movies providing smart and funny key support in two minor hits The Spectacular Now and Don Jon as 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 year and 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 post Short Term 12. She'll next be seen in a Bollywood musical (yes really) Basmati Blues and in the remake of The Gambler (2015)
Chad Boseman, broke for by headlining 42: The Jackie Robinson Story which 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 Day a sports drama from Ivan Reitman sarring Kevin Costner, plus his headline biopic already with Get 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 spectacle Gods of Egypt with Gerard Butler.
Margot Robbie, this Australian beauty was definitely the most exciting thing to look at in The 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 drama Suite Française and the sci-fi drama Z 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 in Midnight in Paris, Inglourious Basterds, and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. But with this year's erotic French sensation Blue is the Warmest Color Hollywood 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's Grand Budapest Hotel, and another French version of Beauty 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?