Let’s talk about this.
Let’s talk about the powerful image of diversity (racially, culturally, gender, EVERYTHING) that Vanity Fair has decided to showcase for this year’s Hollywood cover. Let’s talk about after several years of being criticized for featuring non-White actors but only on the inside of the cover and not the front cover. Let’s talk about this year, VF took those critiques in stride and produced a cover of not only two dynamic, respected actors who are personal favorites of mine, Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and George Clooney (Gravity) [Ocean’s 14 anyone?], but they included two Black male actors of Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave). Coincidentally both had amazing performances, are outstanding actors, and oh, beautifully British. But it doesn’t stop there.
Not only do you focus first at the front cover, but can open it to a full layout of standout performers. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer’s Club), whose name is basically inscribed already on the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Australian beauty Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street), Lupita N’yongo (12 Years A Slave) who has easily become this year’s awards sweetheart [sorry J.Law] , and another favorite of mine [who I may have promised my first born to if he will agree] Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station). But the diversity goes even further with the type of performances. They also positioned what you can say were underrated yet still praise worthy performances from Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Chadwick Boseman (42), and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color). Of the four, I am only really familiar with the performance of Chadwick, but I can easily and comfortably conclude that if the rest made this cover, than there is a clear justification that they deserved to.
So why have I declared VF winning this award season with their Hollywood cover? Well let me explain! By the simple look of this cover, not only has it been long over due but it conveys the opinion that this awards season has seen the most diversity in a number of years. So commonly have awards shows been so able to easily fall into a complacency of, I’ll say it, White-out. [This term is synonymous with a lack of diversity, it just gets to the point easier] Now, I am taking into consideration that as well as there are a lack of outstanding, “award worthy” diverse films been produced, there has also been a lack of recognition for the few that have been able to surface. But with a year that included Dallas Buyer’s Club, The Butler, Fruitvale Station, 12 Years a Slave and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, it would be so difficult to understand a total disregard of the films’ characters and the powerful performances they portrayed. Were there still “snubs of nominations” this year? Yes. Is the cover missing other stellar performances? Yes. But the case on which I stand to give Vanity Fair an ovation this February is because although it is so difficult to try and reduce a year of outstanding films to a layout of photographed actors, from this layout, it is clear that this year of films was anything but a bland spectrum of buff.
Bravo, Vanity Fair, Bravo.