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Links: Hollywood covers, Superbowl ads, Liam Neeson troubles

A big collection of provocative links for you since we haven't had a hot second to look around the web lately...

I had this cover on my wall for at least a couple of years.

This Week's Must Read
Vanity Fair an oral history of the very first "Hollywood Cover." Love love love this. Especially that you get a full spectrum of non-prudish feeling about the lingerie. Yes, yes, it was sexist and a double standard that the women were like this and the next year the men were fully clothed. On the other hand, can we stop being so sex-negative about people looking sexy or showing skin? It seems we're over correcting of late and everyone is always shaming people for enjoying the sight of human bodies. There is nothing inherently demeaning about being naked or dressing in sexy clothing... unless you don't want to be doing it ! There would be nothing wrong with having a group of men on a magazine cover like this if they were also willing. Linda Fiorentino reveals she volunteered to go topless and Sarah Jessica Parker considered the shoot empowering. Of course not everyone was as comfortable. Sandra Bullock says...

I knew I did not want to be in my underwear. I was like ‘Dear God, give me the longest thing that’s left.’ My little outfit was really tight, it was like one long Spanx. I was a rebel from the ankles down.

Haha. I had forgotten that she was the only one who was barefoot. But even she recalls the day with some fondness, adding... 

The fact that we were the first is pretty badass. It was nice to have connections with women when we were so isolated from each other. The only time we saw each other was when we were at the same audition. Now in our industry you can sense that things have gotten safer and calmer. You don’t feel so nervous stepping into a room with other women. Now you see them make beelines for each other to connect. And we were there when it all started on the cover of a magazine, that day, that time.

Vanity Fair 25 most influential movie scenes. Our friend Katey worked on this one right before her maternity leave and she's very proud of it so check it out. 
Zimbio Brie Larson shares new action footage from Captain Marvel
Playbill Rising star Corey Hawkins (who was so great in his cameo in BlacKkKlansman last year) joins the cast of the film version of In the Heights. Let's hope this means he can sing?
Awards Daily the state of the Best Picture race. Interesting piece but I think Sasha, like everyone, is very short-sighted when they assume Netflix is ONLY a force for good. As soon as you have all the power, you almost always do ill. Right now, in February 2019, people view Netflix as artist friendly, a place where directors are given carte blanche and thus a force for good in the cinema. But that cannot STAY true. It never does when money is involved. And Netflix has already proven with their business strategies and licensing and bending of the rules, that they are very anti-cinema outside of their own interests. Right now their interests happen to be the respect of working with prestigious directors and winning Oscars but this won't last forever once they've conquered that mountain, it might not even last much longer than 2019 if Roma sweeps and they have nothing else to prove and every filmmaker hoping to sign with them (who  they surely won't treat as well as Cuarón who had something new to offer them.)

Superbowl Stuff
i09 The new Avengers: Endgame commercial that aired during the Superbowl. Looks like the surviving superheroes need some therapy.
Adweek best 5 ads from Superbowl Sunday
Vulture ranks the halftime shows of the Superbowl over the past 26 years. This reads like a convincing ranking but in truth we rarely watch (I think I've seen 3 of these in full? I usually only see a few clips later) so perhaps you'll have a different reaction?

The World Is Terrible
Vanity Fair Allison Janney admits to being heartbroken that she's not being asked to present Best Supporting Actor this year, as is tradition. 
TFE... in case you missed our rant about all the terrible decisions the Oscars have been making of late.
GQ the horrific racist/homophobic actor on Jussee Smollett (Empire) in Chicago
Independent Liam Neeson is in hot water for this interview in which he reveals disturbing racist fantasy from his past while trying to get serious about the content of his new movie Cold Pursuit. Surely this was not the right place for it. A more appropriate place might have been a therapist office and not a junket... and also, while you're there maybe work through why you keep agreeing to star in all these violent fantasies. Careers of talented actors were not meant to be this one dimensional, Liam. How many violent vengeance fantasies has he made now since Taken (2008)? It seems there's at least one every year. 
Good Morning America Naturally since that interview was published, he's had to address it publicly to try and quell the outrage. I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand I think NOT addressing your inner demons is very unhealthy so the public climate around dealing with toxic thought patterns is sometimes toxic itself -- how can people ever evolve or become better people if they can't admit to flaws, even severe hateful ones? I can't speak to racism as a white person but I know that I'd much rather, for instance, see people publicly admit to their homophobia and work through it than see people not dealing with it at all. But again... maybe do it in therapy or with friends or peers or even through your art... just probably not with journalists!

Happy News
Playbill Colman Domingo (currently onscreen in If Beale Street Could Talk) will be one of the honorees this year at Vineyard Theatre's annual gala
Variety Madonna will be honored at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards for her dedication to the LGBTQ community. Great choice. She has been such an advocate for queer people, looooong before it was socially easy and cool to be that. She surely lost fans over it at the beginning. 

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Reader Comments (78)

It makes me so sad to read that piece about Allison Janney. She deserves the opportunity to present the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Netflix is teaming up with Goop. Talk about a force for evil.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I wish they'd get a little friskier with the Hollywood covers—or at least a little more visually daring. Whether they do "all black" or "all cream" or "black and gold" or "gold and pink" it's the same 6-8 Marchesa-style silhouettes. It's like "pageant drag" for actresses. And they're always in the same hotel lobby bar or on the loading dock for that hotel.

Some ideas: color blocking, crazy prints, bathing suits/kaftans, neon, faux fur, throwback (some era—70s?), full period drag, etc. Just let the Drag Race people handle it.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterH

O Liam Neeson. What is wrong with you (which includes all the garbage you have been appearing in lo these past several years).

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

:( the top link doesn't work

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCris

1. When the new Avengers preview came on I thought it was a long lost episode of The Leftovers and got very excited. Ah well.

2. Love Katey and her work but had one (likely unpopular) quibble with that Best Scenes article. I thought the way the piece handled the Star Wars clip was really tacky, particularly to Ewan McGregor. After all positive pieces, they talk about the Episode 3 scene in a very backhanded negative way...then publish McGregor's positive feelings and awareness of how it has come to be a great thing for him. To me, juxtaposing the two made him look like a bit of a sap. Did they tell him the tone of what they were going to write? Didn't feel fair in such an overall celebratory and cool piece.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

Wait so now they're not even having the past winners present the acting trophies?

Hey I know let's get rid of the acting clips again, or worse, have like a 3 second clip of each performance.

What a fucking joke this is all becoming.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

They're just idiots! Queen McDormand gave us the most iconic moment of last year's telecast but somehow she's not popular enough to present this year. Paraphrasing her Oscar winning role: "I think I'm gonna barf"

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Liam Neeson was stupid to say what he said so publicly in the world of today,he may have been speaking from a personal place but it came out bad..

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I'm not a therapist, but from my armchair I'd wager to guess that Neeson probably has a lot of unresolved anger regarding his wife's tragic death. People seem to have forgotten that, and that it happened not that long ago.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTr

It's sad to see the Oscars flailing around trying to figure out how to increase ratings. The truth is that people have so many more options to watch these days. Maybe just be OK with the TV ratings as they are? They can't be that bad.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Hmm. Would they ask a bunch of men to pose in their underwear? I think not.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

There are many issues with that VF cover, starting with body representation. Is there only one body type in the world? The damage caused in society by this kind of publications is unmeasurable.
Let´s celebrate the empowerment of women but let´s also work for inclusiveness and real representation, otherwise we are missing the whole point.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commentertom_from_argentina


They're really not that bad. Last year they took a big dip in ratings and were still the highest rated non-sports broadcast of the year. ABC is mandating all of this I imagine. Academy should say 'fuck em' and go to Netflix.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTr


Sex-negative are we? What you should be doing is rallying for men in underwear, not denigrating the sight of women in underwear. Puritanism is not freedom or equality, wokies.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTr

Re: Liam

If you can't air out thoughts that are provocative, how will society have any meaningful discourse at all. Liam's thought had a hint of racism to it, but it was pretty rational for someone who suffered their friend being raped, and even if it wasn't, it was a past thought, he doesn't go looking to beat up black people all the time.. Even if it's entirely wrong, racism is a set of preconceived notions, not an all-or-nothing state of evil, I and a growing number of people are tired of outrage culture like this

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOrrin

Also, that is annoying that Janney can't present.
I agree that the Oscars are getting bizarre this year. I have no interest in short films and want them removed from the main telecast, but why the other technical awards. The idea of cutting the songs is unforgivable. The idea of cutting the number of songs and presenters is unforgiveable. The only time it was ok was in 2008-2009 when they had five different legends presenting to each nominee. In 2009-2010 when they just had random costars talk about just the lead and not the supporting (extremely disrespectful), I was very disappointed

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOrrin

Liam Neeson: I set out to kill ANY black person I could find.

Lian Neeson: I'm not a racist.


February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Sex has nothing to do with it. It's traditional gender norms that objectify women as pieces of meat before acting. They never would think of asking a group of men to pose in their underwear, and of course if they did, the men would say no because it would be offensive to them.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

Thank you for the nice words regarding Madonna. Her courage in supporting gay rights at the time certainly cost her thousands of fans. I am so sick and tired of people treating her career as a series of publicity stunts or, worse, attributing her success to changing her looks over the years. She fought tooth and nail for all of her success at a time when it felt like everyone was trying to take it away from her.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

You've had right wingers screaming that the Oscars are out-of-touch/too political.
Diversity crusaders screaming that they're trash/racist/not political enough.
Fanboys screaming that they don't honor enough blockbuster movies.
Film critics screaming that small/low budget movies can't get a fair shake.
Corporations/advertisers screaming that the ratings are too low.
TV critics screaming that hosts flopped.

And then it's like "omg what a weird year why are the Oscars having an identity crisis?"

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteranonny

@Tr: I suspected as much. This drive to get more money-making into the telecast is really disgusting. If it keeps up, I may have to start boycotting.

re: Neeson This is definitely something that he should've thought about twice publicizing. The words and thoughts were racist and hurtful. Yes, it's important to deal with one's racism and admitting to it isn't in and of itself a bad thing, but he went too far and too deep into it. It's also very concerning that he actually was prepared to commit physical violence against a random person at any point in his life.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I still believe Madonna will only be given her dues when she leaves this world,admittedly her music has got worse over the years,I am not a blind fan,I don't mind her keeping up with whatevers current but she used to set the trend but the internet outsmarted her and she has been trying to keep up but ends up looking a tad silly,she just needs 1 music producer to bring her mojo back just not Mark Ronson.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Not only having Alison Janney not presenting the Oscars is wrong and against tradition, it just makes me not want to watch the Oscars even more so Academy, fuck you.

I didn't watch that halftime show with Moron 5. Thank goodness because I heard it was shit and ladies, you could do so much better than Adam Levine. He's as bland as potato salad. I hate potato salad. Plus, what they did to Spongebob is an insult to Stephen Hillenburg. Fuck Moron 5 and Travis Scott. I knew it was going to be shit. Besides, my loathing of Levine goes way back starting with this:

We NIN fans really hate this cover. I also heard that Levine got a writer from Rolling Stone magazine fired because of some simple questions as Jann fired the writer to protect Levine. They say don't fuck with Levine. Oh yeah.... he hasn't met me.

And yes, Madonna and her big fake fat-ass can fuck off. She's just an aging dinosaur right now.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

What a really horrible decision it is not to have Allison, Frances, Gary and Sam not present the Supporting/Lead Oscars! Who deserves to present these 4 acting awards, ‘better’ people like Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hanks, Oprah or Brad Pitt? If ABC wants higher ratings with ‘more important’ names, they’ve lost this once loyal viewer.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

Speaking of Goop, Paltrow's first words in Vanity Fair's oral history of the first Hollywood issue cover is, hilariously, a synthesis of what so many of us (now) find insufferable about her. Contrast that with Kidman, who sounds not at all conceited and grounded. A fitting cover star, then and now.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Bruno: But "concerning" is his point! He didn't exactly sound proud of it. It came out clumsily, and as Nathaniel said, it's probably better not to come out with it to a journalist - but he shouldn't be blanket villified for it. We can handle some difficult opinions, right?

DAVID: It was forty years ago. Maybe he's not racist now. People can change.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

How funny would it be if they did get bigger splashier names and those people actually call up McDormand, Oldman, Janney, etc to present the award with them.

A big middle finger to the Academy. I would totally do that! haha

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereve

Edward L-

This isn't THREE BILLBOARDS where racists suddenly redeem themselves and all is peachy.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

DAVID: I don't see why not!

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I would love to see the presenters invite Old man, Janney, Rockwell, and Mcdormand but there might be strict rules on the most televised broadcast of the year against any kind of ad libbing. Ive taken a tour of the Dolby Academy theater and if I'm not mistaken they only seat ppl who are part of the ceremony up front so if they wanted to pull a stunt on the producers it might already look suspicious to bring Janney et am backstage or seat them close

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOrrin

@Edward L: I'm all for Liam being honest and working through his racism and if it slipped out to a journalist so be it. But the fact that he was at one point in his life looking to actually physically harm an uninvolved stranger at all, let alone based on their race is concerning. And how are we to know that side of him is truly in the past or he just thinks so?

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

anonny -- all of what you say is true. But there is no pleasing everyone so the point is they should be trying to please their very large devout audiences. That is how you stay powerful. If even people who love you start feeling as frustrated and done with you as the people who never cared about you, you're in trouble!

The Academy needs a sane, intelligent, and even more important a steel spined leader right now, who understands that they'll always be screamed at (they always were, too) but you have to look at facts which no one is willing to do and keep a level head. It is the #1 awards show in the world, still. The #1 non sports television in the world, still. And all this perpetual 'sky is falling' panic is just making things worse, not better. With every passing day I admire Cheryl Boone-Isaacs more. She made some difficult decisions, some of which I didn't approve of (like the expansion of Best Picture) but she was never willing to stray from the core identity of the Oscars, no matter what was thrown at her.

February 5, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm not sure what The Academy thinks they're accomplishing by getting bigger names to present those awards. No one is going to decide to tune in just because it's Will Smith awkwardly reading from a teleprompter instead of Gary Oldman so you're just alienating people who find the tradition meaningful for nothing.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

Who the hell thinks that old Vanity Fair cover is sexy? Only hookers pose in lingerie and high heels and smile.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBarron

Barron -- ah, more shaming of people for daring to be sexual.

February 5, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

MJS -- it's so aggravating. And also that concept of "the biggest stars" means you have to actually go with people who are kind of past their prime because that's who is still THE MOST famous beccause they have years of ubiquitous fame. I mean is anyone clamoring to see Will Smith? But he's still more famous than just about any of the nominees this year save Lady Gaga? Brad Pitt is more famous than a lot of people but he's been lying low and would he really be more meaningful to the ceremony than, say, Frances McDormand? NOPE.

If the general public can have so literally hundreds of famous celebrities, so too, should the Oscars. It would be beyond dull to have all the presenters be like Tom Hanks, Oprah, Julia Roberts, and Will Smith, George Clooiney, and Angelina Jolie and that sort of people. It would basically be screaming "we're going very late 1990s this year"

February 5, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Ugh, stop Nathaniel with this. These women had no choice on how they were presented (other than to be asked to be more clothed, and less naked). Trying to make it into some kind of female empowerment moment or sexiness ignores the reality of female exploitation and abuse, photoshoots and commerce. You are wrong on this issue.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid

to me the highlight of the ENTIRE last years Oscar telecast was Eva Marie Saint's anecdote before she presented the Costume Design Oscar.

Can we get more of that please? I could've listen to 3 hours of her telling stories. THAT is what people want. Not 2 minutes of Will Smith or Hannah Montana or whatever.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJezebel

Nathaniel: You said they were provocative links and indeed they are! You've got us all at it!

I'm starting to wonder, seriously: should we write to the Academy?

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Ingrid -- perhaps you should take it up with the women themselves and their direct quotes throughout that article and none of them are saying what you're saying. There has always been exploitation of beauty in the world and there always will be. The question is whether the people who go into beauty industries (like the movies or modelling) are protected, feel safe, are well compensated, and everything is consensual. And by all accounts that was the case here.

Trying to retroactively make this some scandalous moment like it was a bunch of just off the bus young girls coerced into a skinflick is really distorting. These conversations about inequities and abuse and exploitation are valid but they lose potency and gravitas when we try to rewrite history. All of these women, contrary to the internet's rewriting of history, were well employed, at least somewhat famous already (with multiple lead roles under their belt ) and working and didn't have to do this. All agreed to do it. None of them seem ashamed about it today. And it's not like they're naked. But even if they were (as Keira Knightley and Scarlet Johansson were years later, several years into their career and directly after Keira's Oscar nomination and with plenty of autonomy) they volunteered to do it.

This is all reminding me of the shaming last year when Jennifer lawrence wore a revealing gown to the premiere of Red Sparrow. The internet got upset because her costars were in tuxes, even after Jennifer came forward to say chose the gown and loved it !

Jezebel -- hear hear. exactly. the Oscars are supposed to be about the mythology of the movies!

MJS -- it's baffling. In some ways I want to be a fly on the wall to hear the conversations but in others, I am terrified of what it might reveal about the people running our formerly favourite ship.

February 5, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I can understand Allison Janney being disappointed about not being asked to present at the Oscars yet, but heartbroken? That seems a little dramatic. She won every major televised film award last year, and over arguably stronger performances. She has plenty to be happy about, and I am sure the Academy will end up backtracking on this decision.

While I didn't love last year's quartet of Oscar-wining performances, I would rather see them than the "big stars" who may be asked to present. Seeing someone as minimally talented and classless as Jennifer Lawrence present Best Actress last year was distracting.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCarline

Adam Levine look pretty hot during the half time show- so he would make a tasty potato salad. The people in charge of the Oscars this year should all be fired- well lets just wait to see the show

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Sigh. Until you are asked to pose in lingerie on a magazine cover, I don't care about your thoughts on women. Who cares what the women said later? Their publicists wrote their comments.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid

LOL - Nathaniel thinks he’s a pimp.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Ingrid -- well, *i* wouldn't pose in lingerie on a cover but that's beside the point. If i was as beautiful as a movie star, i would in a heartbeat.

It's depressing to hear women be just as patronizing to other women as men are. I would never dismiss what these women have to say about their own bodies, and experience. To assume these successful and powerful women had no autonomy then and STILL have no voices of their own about their own bodies? Yikes!

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

A. There's obviously double standards at play.

B. I don't get how often the Oscar's misunderstand their own power. Celebrate yesterday, today and tomorrow. It's not hard.

C. Can we get Liam Neeson to present BLACKKKLANSMAN and GREEN BOOK at the show?

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Neeson didn’t want to murder the Black man who allegedly raped his white friend, he wanted to murder any Black man. Well, any n****r. He plotted and waited, roaming the streets for days. And he dealt with his bigotry ... by power walking? How comically stupid and absurd. I guess kissing Viola Davis gave him the courage to finally reveal his hateful trashy self. His hood slipped. There have always been and still are so many more just like him, even in Hollywood.

No Allison or Frances presenting? No thanks.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNewMoonSon

Arkaan -- B. Exactly this. It's not hard OR complicated. They twist themselves into all these weird shapes trying to do anything other than this easy thing. A few stars of yesterday, a bunch of stars of the now since that's what the awards are and a few stars of tomorrow. done and done and done far as presenter goes and the public would be happy with that too. They wouldn't even notice that Oprah or Tom Hanks werent there that year as long as there are other celebrities to gawk at.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Wow. Nathaniel is really going out there with his clueless mansplaining. Posing in underwear DOES NOT happen to men. There is a reason it was discontinued for women.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

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