Gwyneth Paltrow is obviously a beautiful woman. She of the flaxen locks and glowing skin, of the pearly teeth and toned biceps, is a looker — no two ways about it. But is she really the best choice for the coveted title of People magazine's 'Most Beautiful'? Frankly, we don't think so.
Just over a week ago, Paltrow was named the Most Hated Celebrity in Hollywood in a poll conducted by Star magazine. And now she's back on top? Oh, the fickle tides of fame!
Meanwhile, in a move that reminds us all too much of the Bradley Cooper/Ryan Gosling "Sexiest Man Alive" debacle of 2011, America's Best Friend Jennifer Lawrence is relegated to the "other beautiful people" part of People's list. This, my friends, is a travesty. Homegirl deserves the spotlight. Just look at how much beauty she exudes:
From her blockbuster success as Katniss Everdeen to her Oscar win (and her post-Oscar press conference), Jennifer Lawrence has had a kickass year. And what has Gwyneth Paltrow done? GOOP. Oh yeah, and Iron Man 3, which coincidentally hits theaters May 3.
But in choosing their Most Beautiful, People has a tendency to stick to what is safe. To what is tried and true. To what was popular in 2004. Paltrow inherits the title from 2012's honoree Beyoncé, who is admittedly a fresher choice, but at the time of her crowning had just become a mom. And before Beyoncé, we had Jennifer Lopez (2011) and Julia Roberts (2010), both long affixed to the spotlight. This year, Most Beautiful staples such as Drew Barrymore (who snagged the top spot in 2007) and Halle Berry (2003) join Paltrow and Lawrence on the list.
Take a chance, People! Don't be afraid to honor the up-and-comers as well as the veterans. Where is Mila Kunis? Emma Stone? Quvenzhané Wallis? While Paltrow has never won People's top honor before, she has indeed been at the top of Hollywood's A-List for over a decade. She (and Barrymore, Berry, Jane Fonda, and Pink) have had their turn, let's allow some new bucks (or does, as the case may be) to join the clique.
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So it looks like anyone nominated for an Oscar this year is working together on the upcoming The Ends of the Earth — just another one of director David O. Russell's newest projects. And as with his other new project (the untitled Abscam film), America's Coolest Daughter, Jennifer Lawrence is set to star. Lawrence, as you know, is up for an Oscar for her work in Russell's most recent film, Silver Linings Playbook; a movie that has also beget Russell and the film's other star, Bradley Cooper, nominations for fancy gold statues at this Sunday's big show. But that's not the only Oscar-contendor involved in this project; The Ends of the Earth was scripted by (you sensing the theme yet?) Oscar-nominated Argo writer, Chris Terrio.
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According to Deadline, producers Todd Black and Steve Tisch are positively fangirly about Lawrence, stating that she "is one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen," calling her performance in Playbook "transcendent" and "the heart and soul of the film" and that anything asked of her she did so, "brilliantly." And as if those incredibly accolades weren't enough, the duo went on to say that she's basically THE savior of the American movie industry. "Her dedication to the craft and all those who work with her is inspiring and if she is the future of our business we are certainly in good hands." Russell made sure to get in on the game, adding that "her acting is effortless and she always makes it look easy."
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The Ends of the Earth is said to be an epic America love story based on the life of powerful oil tycoon (is there any other kind?) Ernest Marland and the life he loses after his affair is uncovered. Hollywood.com has reached out for comment, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
[Photo Credit: Hollywood.com]
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Oscar campaigning should really begin and end at Zach Galifianakis' brilliant, surreal talk show "Between Two Ferns", because it's really not going to get any better than this. In the latest, Oscar-themed edition of the Funny or Die web series Galifianakis does what he does best: make his A-list guests so very uncomfortable and testing the boundaries of normal social interaction.
Silver Lining Playbook (singular) star Jennifer Lawrence — continuing her streak of being a charming Best Actress front runner — goes toe-to-toe with Galifianakis (in the vein of former guests like Steve Carell) after he claimed his Hangover co-star and her Silver Linings Playbook (plural) leading man called her "ugly". When Galifianakis brings up The Hunger Games, Lawrence zings him right back with, "Yeah, isn't that your life story?" Of course, he gets the last laugh as he plays her off.
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Not to be outdone, Best Supporting Actor nominee Christoph Waltz (also known as Christ of Waltz or Christoph Breakdance) hilariously combats with Galifianakis and deadpans that he says "the n word" more in real life than he does Django Unchained. (Man, he's going to be awesome on Saturday Night Live this weekend). Then there's Best Supporting Actress nominee Amy Adams (The Master) who says something truly dirty in the most incredible way possible, despite Galifianakis suggesting the redhead beauty's nickname in school was...something truly dirty.
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Best Actress nominee Naomi Watts (The Impossible) also takes part in the madness (between this and Movie 43, it seems the Aussie star has a pretty sick sense of humor, not to mention a good one about herself) and Best Supporting Actress shoo-in Anne Hathaway (Les Mis) manages to kill the mood yet again by pretending to be drunk, singing again, and quoting Liz Lemon again during her appearance. (Poor gal can really do no right at this point, can she?) Watch the hilarious "Between Two Ferns" Oscar edition here:
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[Photo credit: Funny Or Die]
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Old school; satin-covered; glamorous; predictable — these are all words that typically define the annual Vanity Fair Hollywood issue. When the cover is unveiled, we all clamor to marvel at the pretty starlets assembled on a dreamlike set, floating like angels of haute-couture, and giving us exactly what we've come to expect. Every. Single. Year. But not in 2013. This year, it’s going to be different, the magazine promises. Unfortunately, it’s not — but that’s not the magazine’s fault.
Gone is the old Hollywood glamor, here to stay is a bit of a visual circus, full of ring leaders, four-legged friends, and even furries. “It’s one for this history books,” proclaims the magazine’s press release. The issue includes more than 75 different Hollywood stars, and some of them aren’t even humans! (See: the elephant on the fourth panel of the mag’s new cover.) How are your mind grapes doing after that? What do you mean they’re totally fine because this supposedly mind-blowing twist on a classic is about as shocking as a lens flare shot in a J.J. Abrams movie? Are you not amused? The cover, which was shot by Bruce Weber as a tribute to the “real” Hollywood, dares to be different, and while the visual lacks the usual proliferation of satin opera gloves, when it comes down to it, it’s the same old story again.
We’re still facing a Hollywood A-list (and A-list of the future) that lacks diversity. While the 75-plus person list includes folks like Quevenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Kerry Washington (Django Unchained), Halle Berry, and Selena Gomez, the focal point of the annual issue is, once again, a group of white actors.
As Jezebel pointed out, while the cover itself features Wallis and Washington, each actress’s image appears behind the fold alongside Olivia Wilde, Les Mis's Eddie Redmayne, and a fanciful elephant, while only Ben Affleck, Emma Stone, and Bradley Cooper grace the newsstand-facing portion of the cover. That was the problem with the 2012 cover, which had its only actresses of color, Adepero Oyude and Paula Patton, were behind the fold while Rooney Mara, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, and Mia Wasikowska graced the first panel. And in 2011, while Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway, and James Franco sat front and center, Anthony Mackie and Rashida Jones were pushed back to subsequent panels. It’s a pattern that’s rather hard to ignore, but does it really mean that Vanity Fair is the one with a diversity issue?
Sure, we can roll our eyes in a self-satisfied, finger-wagging moment right about now. Vanity Fair is stretching itself to deliver something visually different in its Hollywood issue with the addition of Weber’s aesthetic, which eschews old school glamor for free-wheeling friendship among the stars — but it’s doing so without fixing the recurring problem with its cover. The problem, however, isn’t Vanity Fair’s to fix. The problem belongs to Hollywood.
The world is changing, and with that comes the promise of diversity, but just because we’re seeing big results, like the election and re-election of President Obama, doesn’t mean that diversity has spread like a magical blanket to every corner of our world. There are still great gaps in our growth, and one gap happens to exist in a realm that we put on display all year every year: Hollywood. Vanity Fair captures the glitz and the glamour of the stars we already love and those we should turn our attention to next, and naturally, those we’re already obsessed with tend to make the first panel of the yearly multi-panel cover. Vanity Fair has to sell magazines; is it any wonder the biggest stars in the cover set make it to the first panel? The magazine has responsibility as something of a tastemaker in the industry, but they can’t sell us what we aren’t already willing to buy. Perhaps the cover isn’t an expression of the consumers’ issues or the magazine’s issues, but our collective issues as a culture.
A quick survey of this years’ award nominees shows that the lack of diversity isn’t just something that happens on a magazine cover once a year. Of the Oscar-nominated actors and actresses in 2013, two are not white (Denzel Washington for Flight and Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild). The Best Director category includes only one non-white director (Ang Lee for Life of Pi) and absolutely no women, despite the wide critical acclaim for Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow. While Hollywood is practically a poster-town for socially liberal causes, including diversity in all its forms, when it comes to crowning the cream of its crop, we’re constantly looking at a set of folks that resembles its past incarnations.
Vanity Fair may be guilty of buying into the predictability of Hollywood’s yearly popularity contest, but the magazine isn’t creating the problem. It’s a bigger problem, Vanity Fair’s Affleck-Stone-and-Cooper-play-with-the-furry-fetish cover is just a symptom.
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[Photo Credit: Bruce Weber exclusively for Vanity Fair (2)]
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The clouds have parted and a glorious light, in the form of one Jennifer Lawrence, has descended from above to unite Hollywood (and all the world) in one perfect, steadfast belief. Finally, everyone — Republicans and Democrats, cat people and dog people, glamorous movie stars and the rat-faced people of television — can agree on something: Jennifer Lawrence is amazing.
Nary a magazine interview, a late show appearance, an awards show acceptance speech goes by without lauding her myriad talents: her wit, her humility, her photogenicness (photogenecy?), or her acting ability. Lawrence is the total package, and we can't get enough.
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In the past 10 days alone, Lawrence has hosted SNL, survived pneumonia, and thanked MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen for inducting her into the Screen Actor's Guild. In the past month, she's told tales of staving off home intruders with her Hunger Games archery skills, and proudly proclaimed "I beat Meryl!" (Okay, so that one was more allusion than declaration.) And in the past year, she has defended her appearance and her weight countless times. Have we ever had a Hollywood starlet more real? More down-to-earth? More genuinely charming? Probably. But in 2013, we love us some Jennifer Lawrence.
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And the industry, it's clear, is loving Jennifer, too. For her performance in Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence has already picked up the Golden Globe, the Critics Choice Award, and the SAG Award (to name a few). Only the Big Kahuna, the Oscar, looms on her horizon. Lawrence was nominated for an Oscar once before, in 2011 for Winter's Bone.
Sadly, she was bested by Natalie Portman. But that was 2011, when Lawrence was still a year away from becoming America's Sweetheart. The Hunger Games, X-Men: First Class, and a Vanity Fair cover all laid before her. In 2011, Lawrence was just a girl in a smokin' red Calvin Klein dress. Natalie Portman, however, was having a baby.
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In the race for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the Academy loves to honor women who are having "a year." Women who are garnering praise for their personal lives as well as their performances.
Women who may have once been prime for high school crushes and rom-com leads, but were finally given some Oscar-worthy material. Think: Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow. Sure, all of the above are immensely talented women, but did Bullock really give a better performance than Helen Mirren in The Last Station or Gabourey Sidibe in Precious? Was Natalie Portman in Black Swan really better than Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine or Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right?
While these questions will surely be debated at dinner parties for years to come, it's clear these ladies made more headlines and talk show appearances in their respective winning years than their competition did.
And now, we have Lawrence. In this year's Oscar battle she is faced with worthy foes in Jessica Chastain, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Naomi Watts. Of these four, the only one to rival Lawrence in media frenzy is Chastain. But, let's be honest, Chastain's "year" — the year in which she appeared in every other film and grabbed hold of America's heartstrings — was really last year.
So, if the media (and let's be honest, the Internet) has anything to say about it, the Academy Award should be Lawrence's for the taking. Lawrence's talent is laid bare in each of her performances (award-nominated as well as not), but if you need further convincing of her charm, take a gander at her first professional acting job below. The girl is clearly exceptional.
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[Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for BFCA]
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