Vanity Fair’s 2020 Hollywood Issue is a mess & the editorial is very, very bad

Selena Gomez WOWS in vintage-inspired look in NYC

Oof, this is a tough one. Vanity Fair released the cover & cover shoot for their annual Hollywood Issue, which is the February issue this year (it used to be the March issue). VF usually chooses three or four celebrities – who arguably had the biggest year – for the main cover, and then the pull-out cover features six to nine additional hot actors or actresses. This year’s VF main cover subjects are: Jennifer Lopez, who just got snubbed from even receiving a NOMINATION from the Academy; Eddie Murphy, who was also snubbed (but it’s less surprising) and Renee Zellweger, who has been winning a lot of stuff for Judy and sounding drunk as hell the entire time.

Beyond the weird choice of cover subjects, there’s the fact that… this is just a bad cover photo! Jennifer looks like “WTF,” Eddie looks like “if you say so?” and Renee halfway on top of Eddie while smirking… well, that’s just an odd choice. You can see Vanity Fair’s full Hollywood Issue cover package here. The shoot is just BAD. The other people featured: Awkwafina (who also got snubbed for a nomination), Antonio Banderas, Taika Waititi, Laura Dern, Beanie Feldstein and more. It’s just… awful. I never thought I would say this, but damn, I miss Graydon Carter.

Cover and photos courtesy of Vanity Fair.

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54 Responses to “Vanity Fair’s 2020 Hollywood Issue is a mess & the editorial is very, very bad”

  1. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    This is supposed to be funny right?

    • Raina says:

      I find it funny lol. Renee looks like she jumped on Murphy at the last second like a cape and Lopez looks like the motorcycle accidentally just started and ready to take off so…

    • I miss Tina Brown as editor of Vanity Fair. Also, I am a huge fan of Rene Zellweger, but her Golden Globes acceptance speech was cringe worthy. Whatever the reason, alcohol, drugs, shyness — she could barely get her mouth to move, slurred her words, and was so unfocused. I was embarrassed for her.

  2. Lara says:

    It’s a fake one surely??? To surprise people with the real one.

  3. Jane says:

    I was starting to contemplate minor plastic surgery as I enter my 50th year, but every recent photo of Renee Z sends me running from the thought. She looks unrecognizable, and no younger. I mean what was the bloody point??

    • something something says:

      I didn’t even recognize her! I had to read the title to figure out it was Renee….and I’m still not sure it’s her.Yikes! Definitely a cautionary tale not to mess with your face.

    • Betsy says:

      As someone who had to have a lid lifted because it was sagging in front of the pupil, I don’t think she “messed with her face,” I think she made the decision that seeing was important to her. Unfortunately, her deep set hooded eyes were how we knew her.

      • Gatorlover says:

        Didn’t she deny she had that surgery?

      • lucy2 says:

        She did deny it, which I don’t understand. Who would blame her for having a medical procedure to help her vision???

        I just looked at before and after photos of her, and I do think that may be the only thing she did, but it really changed her appearance.

    • A says:

      She doesn’t actually look different? She looks the same to me, but I’m really bad at the whole recognizing plastic surgery thing, so I don’t know.

  4. Valiantly Varnished says:

    That entire cover is TERRIBLE. I used to collect the VF Hollywood covers because they were so fantastic but I havent purchased or read one in years. And this one is the worst one Ive seen. Also – WTH is Lily-Rose Depp in this?! Besides Mom and Dad pulling a few strings of course.

  5. janey says:

    so Laura Dern crashes car, calls in J.Lo for help who unfortunately has to take her sidekick Eddie along. Eddie meanwhile is in the process of trying to get rid of last night’s shenanigans (Renee) who is clinging on for dear life and smirking because she’s still drunk?

  6. Sarah says:

    Woooooooooow. This is exceptionally terrible. What is even happening?!?

  7. Livethelifeaquatic says:

    William DaFoe manically laughing makes it all worthwhile

  8. Mara says:

    I like the choice of Renee, Eddie and Jennifer for the front cover, they are three megastars who have all given great performances in 2019 so it fits. I’d rather Vanity Fair give their cover spots to those that have given great performances than those who will be/have been nominated for an Oscar.
    That said, the photo shoot concept, layout and styling is truly awful.

    • lucy2 says:

      I’m on board with those 3 – all have been in the business a long time, and are still doing new, different, and relevant work. Plus at least it’s not just 3 20 year old white women with Hollywood families.

      But the whole concept and the photos are just…weird.

  9. Earthbound says:

    I actually kinda like it….kinda looks like a sleek Lynch short? Which I’d rather see in stills than movie form anyway.

    • Carol says:

      I can’t make up my mind Whether I like it or don’t. It’s a definite change than what they usually put out. And yes, there is a David Lynch vibe to it. It’s growing on me.

      I do miss Grayden Carter for the articles though

    • tealily says:

      Ooo, good call! Laura Dern’s presence helps. Okay, I like it a little better now. Still super weird though.

  10. L4frimaire says:

    I’ve given up on Vanity a Fair. It was so much better under Carter and has seriously gone downhill in terms of content and writing. The royal coverage is trash and it’s lost the zeitgeist. Even their Oscar party has lost its caché and isn’t that great anymore.

  11. DiegoInSF says:

    I kinda like it because it’s different. I can’t believe Laura is only two years older than JLo lol! And that’s all I say…

    • janey says:

      As a white woman I can only hope I age like Laura

    • Kebbie says:

      It’s not fair to compare how women of color age to how white women age. WOC will always come out on top. I think it’s a balancing of the universe kind of thing. We don’t have to deal with racism all our lives so we age like milk to balance the scales.

      Watching Hustlers, the whole time I was thinking “She’s 50. There’s no way. It’s impossible. Oh my God, she’s 50.” She looks so, so good.

  12. Lena says:

    It used to be my favorite magazine subscription. Now I just look up online to find out what movie JLo wishes she had done and then ignore the rest.

  13. Allergy says:

    Eek that cover is so bad.

  14. Cindy says:

    It’s awful but I love it. Even if they fail, I prefer seeing magazine do this kind of kooky ideas than seeing Hollywood actors in tuxedos and dresses looking glamorous like we always see them.

  15. Minal says:

    Can we give credit where credit is due? Under Radhika Jones, the choice of cover stars for this issue is SO MUCH MORE DIVERSE than it ever was under Graydon Carter. Also, she often commissions pieces from writers of colour, giving them opportunities to develop their body of work. I’m not mad at all. Note the stylist on this cover, for example: it’s Samira Nasr, who is half-Trini, half-Lebanese.

    • holly hobby says:

      Ok is that why the cover is dark red and everyone looks like they are living in Mars? The cover is hideous.

      • Minal says:

        If we truly believe in cultural equity as a worthwhile goal, we may need to start acknowledging that there is a plurality of tastes out there. For e.g., when Beyoncé referenced Oshun, a whole lotta Eurocentric people found her performance over the top, gaudy etc. because they didn’t understand the reference. I don’t know what the specific inspirations were for this cover, but maybe try to educate yourself instead of implying that the cover is hideous because of Samira’s cultural heritage.

      • Kebbie says:

        @Holly I’d still take it over Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Margot Robbie, Charlize, Nicole Kidman, and Renee in satin gowns lying on chaise lounges, which is probably what it would have been if not for Radhika.

    • Candikat says:

      @ Minal and Kebbie: Agree 100%!

  16. Mich says:

    Laura Dern looks like she is phoning emergency services from the middle of the Australian fires. And are those alien spaceships?

  17. StormsMama says:

    At least the cover isn’t a fawning “young Hollywood” issue. These 3 are stars. JLO and Eddie should’ve gotten noms in my opinion. So this feels age appropriate and accolade appropriate. Who shot this I wonder? I love Annie L but I am SOOOOO over her shooting every VF celeb shoot.

    Also forgot to mention:
    Their faces remind me of Joey Tribiani “smell the fart” acting. They look like they are smelling a fart!

  18. Candikat says:

    Maybe unpopular opinion, but I love that it’s different. The H issue under Graydon was so BORING! Interchangeable Annie Leibowitz photoshopped group images with mostly white men in formalwear and mostly white women in lingerie. I used to skip it every year. Radhika is still finding her feet, I think, and she veered too far from the model in her early issues, but now she’s understanding her readership better, but still refusing to go all rich white “we worship the Kennedys and Princess Diana.” That schtick was grating and growing ever more irrelevant under Graydon, IMO.

    • Natalie says:

      I find this fun, albeit a bit dorky on the cover but overall fun to scroll through, and I agree that Radhika is a welcome change. There are still callbacks to the Carter days but I find the issues to be more relevant and current now, and a little more fun. Still has solid long-from articles and reporting. I probably would have not renewed my membership if was still status quo.

      • A says:

        @Natalie, the longform pieces have been quite good as a whole, I thought. I always check Vanity Fair when I’m on a long-ish bus ride and need something to sink my teeth into to pass the time. The only issue I have ever had is with the royal coverage.

  19. Powermoonchrystal says:

    The shoot is not my cup of tea, but the 3 stars are all deserving, and it is good timing to show the diversity the Oscars ignore (that are deserving). I am all for a less lilly white VF, but they are having issues delivering their message lately.

  20. A says:

    I burst out laughing when I saw that cover, such an odd trio. It’s so nice of them to add Lily Rose Depp in there to represent Hollywood nepotism.

  21. Kimberly says:

    the person who okayed the concept and talen( Lopez’s movie compared to the other 2 projects?) should be terminated. This is tragic at best….and Jenny didn’t do good enough for a nom, sooooo why are we saying she got a snub? won’t apologize for having standards….

    • DiegoInSF says:

      Because she got nominated for everything else: SAG, GG, she won a lot of critics associations awards such as NYC, LA, SF. Standards, yeah white standards that keep POC out.

  22. Emma33 says:

    I’m Australian and this staging is eerily similar to some of the photos from last week of people feeling from fires with blood orange skies behind them. Glad this isn’t an Australian publication!

  23. JANE says:

    Lili Reinhart ♥️

  24. SM says:

    Looks like Taika was just passing by, wearing one of his weird outfits and decided to prank them by participating in thus crazy shoot and no one noticed because it is crazy.

  25. A says:

    The cover shoot is bad, yes, but what’s wrong with featuring actors and actresses who have been snubbed? I feel like it’s a damn good thing that people like J.Lo and Awkwafina and Eddie Murphy are on the cover. Vanity Fair is more hip to the fact that the image of Hollywood as a whole is shifting, shifting away from the staid, idiotic idea of Hollywood that the Academy voters have in their heads. I feel like I’m missing something here with respect to the issues. Is it just that the cover shoot is bad? Is it the fact that they included Eddie Murphy and J.Lo without realizing they would be snubbed? Would it have been better to put Joaquin Phoenix on the cover along with Brad Pitt and Leo and whoever else? I don’t get it.

    Also, an unrelated pet peeve–people have GOT to stop saying that the Oscars don’t matter. The problem with the Oscars isn’t the viewership. It’s the fact that, even now, winning an Oscar can change the entire trajectory of an actor’s career. You get more opportunities, more roles in blockbusters, more money, more a lot of things, all off of the recognition that being nominated or winning an Oscar can bring. Until we figure out a way to fix that system, the fact that people don’t watch the Oscars is going to be meaningless. It’ll take years for the blowback from that lack of viewership to translate into a larger cultural apathy. Until then, we’re going to keep seeing instances where people like Brie Larson, who arguably deserved the win, will be able to use their Oscar momentum to get bigger roles like Captain Marvel. Winning an Oscar has extraordinary monetary benefits. That is the reason why actors of colour are so insistent on being included–shutting them out of the Oscars shuts them out of career opportunities that they cannot retrieve or make up for in comparison to their white counterparts.

  26. msd says:

    I’m surprised by all the love for Graydon Carter, the man who enabled bullying of Michelle Williams, shot down a journalist who wanted to write about Epstein abuse, constantly promoted mediocre white guys, and then saw the writing on the wall, leaving a poisoned chalice for his successor.

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