VF’s 2017 Hollywood Issue features ingenues & the under-40 actresses


Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue used to be iconic. The covers used to be one of the most exciting things about the awards season, and the covers used to be incredibly memorable. Without looking, I couldn’t even recall last year’s VF cover though, or the past three or four years of VF covers. In case you were wondering, last year’s cover was all-women too, and they featured Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, Jane Fonda, Lupita, Charlotte Rampling and more. This year’s Hollywood Issue is, again, all-women. But I guess they’re doing the “ingenue” or “under-40” actresses for the cover. They picked a pretty good year for it, I guess – the Best Actress race was packed and the two biggest contenders – Emma Stone and Natalie Portman – made it to the front fold of the three-fold cover. Of course, Amy Adams also made it to the front cover, and she got snubbed for an Oscar.

This year’s cover features these actresses: Emma Stone, Lupita Nyong’o, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman, Ruth Negga, Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Aja Naomi King, Dakota Johnson, Greta Gerwig and Janelle Monae. Diversity-wise, this is fine. Not great, but fine. I feel like Lupita didn’t need to be on the front fold when Ruth Negga was the breakout star in Loving. I feel like WTF does Octavia Spencer have to do to get a Vanity Fair cover? I feel like Janelle Monae should be front and center (not hidden off to the side) considering she’s got great roles in two of the best films of the year, Moonlight and Hidden Figures.

(click the image to see it full-sized)


You can see Vanity Fair’s full cover coverage here, with individual Annie Leibovitz photos for each woman. You know how I know that Natalie Portman really, really wants it? Because Our Lady of Stone-Cold RBFs deigned to pose with her uncovered pregnant belly. That’s right, Oscar voters. Your favorite actress is knocked up and willing to use her pregnancy in her campaign! Enjoy.


Photos courtesy of Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.

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86 Responses to “VF’s 2017 Hollywood Issue features ingenues & the under-40 actresses”

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  1. Nicole says:

    Meh. Last years cover was better personally

  2. Slowsnow says:

    Natalie Portman is in that cranky bit of the pregnancy isn’t she? Good lord she looks pissed off.

  3. Joni says:

    Why on earth is Dakota Johnson on there??!!

    • Kathleen says:

      Because as much as it’s a topic of ridicule, 50 Shades of Grey did make money at the box office and the sequel drops in like 2 weeks. And as bad as that movie was…she was the best thing in it.

      • Nicole says:

        Except 50 shades is not high brow and Dakota hasn’t been in anything of buzz worthy note. Even Elle and Dakota Fanning have been in better movies than her.
        Pretty sure she’s there due to nepotism. Because her resume does not warrant being in this spread

      • Ramona says:

        She really was the best thing in that mess but then she was paired with Jamie “so wooden you could ride me as a canoe” Dornan and Next Top Model show host Rita Ora, so maybe not a high bar. More importantly, all these ladies are there for either delivering a critically acclaimed performance or being in a critically acclaimed film. Shes their Waldo.

      • JKL says:

        A BIGGER SPLASH was well-recieved and the subject of some awards talk, so maybe that?

    • Talie says:

      I thought the same…Elle is the movie star now.

    • Reid2010 says:

      ^ This +1000. I find Dakota Johnson boring AF! Can we stop trying to make her happen??
      Nice thing- I think everyone looks really l lovely on the cover. Great color on Amy Adams!

  4. Lexie says:

    Help me understand the Dakota Johnson thing. In movies she just seems sleepy.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      I thought she was actually good in ‘Black Mass’. She seemed to really be acting!

      • Lily says:

        She was cute in How to be Single, Ben & Kate and as Justin Timberlake’s one-night in Social Network. Can’t believe I’m saying this but she was decent in 50 Shades. She put more effort into but I couldn’t finish the movie/I fast-forwarded through majority of it.
        Think it’s funny because people thought Dakota would be a disappointment but Jamie Dornan was so bad. Dakota at least put so effort into her interviews and promoting.
        Don’t know if they will be able to break out of the same roles.

    • third ginger says:

      She’s dreadful. 50 SHADES dropped like a rock after the first week. Could we have the erotic without the stupid?

      • Stella says:

        I know! It made a ton of money. I honestly don’t know how people sat in a movie theater and watched it together. It’s embarrassing. Some employees found several cucumbers in the seats/it smelled like tuna. I just think it’s the most unsexy movie to do that to.

      • LizLemonGotMarried says:

        I watched it with a girlfriend. It was…OK…I hated Christian though. I mean, yes, Jamie Dornan sucks, but I actually just thought that guy was a controlling, abusive, manipulative asshole.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      Actually, she’s the only good thing about 50 shades of crap.

  5. Slowsnow says:

    Am I the only one who thinks these debutante-like covers are ridiculous? Why does it have to be so grand, so couture? Why do they all look bored? Why are they colour coordinated (like posh children in a grown-up party)? Etc. etc.

  6. Tanguerita says:

    Dear God, Leibovitz, shame on you. You used to be a real photographer. Now you are just phoning it in. Are you still hurting for money? plus, I feel very uncomfortable looking at half-naked Portman – and i am far from being prudish. Why is she so thirsty?

    • Suzy says:

      @ Tanguerita “Dear God, Leibovitz, shame on you. You used to be a real photographer. ”

      THANK YOU, i thought i’m the only one, since Years it is only boring, not even mediocre, with all the assistents, lighting people, photoshop people, after coloring people, most people with a good cam could do that, and i’m an Photographer, shame on you Leibowitz.

    • teacakes says:

      “Why is she so thirsty?”

      Because Oscar bait is now her bread and butter, after the indifferent reception to her attempts to do franchise films and comedy (everyone hates the Star Wars prequels and no one gives any f-cks about her in Thor, not even when she was replaced).

      And Oscar bait isn’t much unless it results in an Oscar and Oscar-boosted box office.

  7. frisbee says:

    Well of course it features actresses under 40, relatively few actresses over 40 even survive Hollywood, the place is rampantly sexist/ageist as far as women are concerned.

    • Kathleen says:

      It’s definitely true that very few actresses continue to get to be sexy or romantic interests or worthy of being “the one” over 40. They get to be in movies but it’s usually not as this desirable woman etc. Amy Adams is 42. She’s 42 and she is going to still be playing Princess Giselle in the Enchanted sequel and she plays Lois Lane opposite Henry Cavill. To be totally honest? This is the kind of stuff that sometimes means even more to me ageism wise than the awards. Because it’s really THAT kind of stuff that we basically say women aren’t allowed to do anymore once they turn 40. I will gladly take and celebrate a 42 year old Princess over some other stuff as silly as that sounds. Because we literally never get that kind of stuff.

      • Ramona says:

        I think Amy is just benefitting from a late start in her career as well as her lack of celebrite. Had she been around longer, she would be considered “tired” regardless of how well she is aging. We see the industry shift from stunning and talented actresses even in their late 20s, precisely because they have been famous for “too long” which makes the public conscious that they are aging. And theres apparently nothing worse than an aging woman.

      • Kathleen says:

        @Ramona, I’m not sure that’s true. For starters, Adams has been working steadily since her 20′s even though she didn’t break out until 2005 with Junebug. SHe’s been famous for a solid 12 years now with very few missteps in her career. It’s really hard for women to break out over 30 and sustain that momentum into their 40′s. I’m not gonna try and steal that credit from her because she has earned it. 12 years of consistent career success is a long time for these women.

      • frisbee says:

        @ Kathleen I agree with you but Amy is still an exception rather than the rule. She’s helped by having real talent but if you look at the pool of actors over 40 Sandra Bullock is doing ok, Nichole Kidman is still doing decent work so is Cate Blanchette, Kate Winslett still gets goodish jobs but compare to their male counterparts Di Caprio, Cruise, Pitt, McConaughey, Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman, Whalberg they just don’t get anywhere near the exposure, opportunities, money. Anne Hathaway at the grand old age of 34 admitted she was losing out on roles to younger actresses, Jennifer Lawrence has been repeatedly cast in older woman’s roles (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Joy – mainly due to David O Russell casting her). It’s been this way for years, the entire system is skewed and to me that VF cover just represents that. It is heartening when Amy gets good jobs and I think you’re right, given how dire the situation is it’s probably more important that she continues to work and be visible than get awards – that alone does challenge the system (I’d still like her to get an Oscar though, I think she deserves it…) but it will be interesting to see what happens to Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence when they hit the 40 mark

      • Ramona says:

        Kathleen, I didnt mean that she hadnt been working. I meant that she didnt come to general public awareness until very recently. Amy just has no celebrite. She is not on tabloids, nobody cares what she does, she doesnt sell glamor magazines, has no prominent endorsements and is completely unremarkable on the few late night talk shows she does accept to appear on. So even though she was in a bunch of award type movies in the last ten years, people havent really been aware of her. Case in point, I just IMDBd her before posting this and had completely forgotten that she was in Julia and Julia. I remember Viola, PSH and Meryl from Doubt but not Amy. Same for Charlies Wilson War. She was already in her 30s for these roles. The beauty of not sticking in the public consciousness until very recently is that we havent been watching for her to age. Unlike her agemate Kate Winslet who everybody who is even vaguely aware of cinema is conscious that she has been around since the late nineties.

  8. Kathleen says:

    Umm….Amy Adams is 42 years old. She is not under 40. So don’t be throwing her under there with the “ingénues.” And I mean that as a compliment towards her. She looks young and reads young on screen but she’s been very clear in the past that she has refused to lie about her age and owns being over 40.

    • Margo S. says:

      True! She has incredible genes. She legit looks 30.

      • Kathleen says:

        @Margo, you know….I agree she looks young but I don’t know. I have started to feel so weird about that kind of language. What does it mean to “look young” or “not look one’s age?” It feels like we are treating those women as a” exception” to the idea that older women are beautiful and sexy. I’m guilty of this too because I just said it myself above about her “looking young” but I shouldn’t have. I’ve tried hard recently in my own life to stop with the “she looks good for her age” crap and just flat out stop the qualifiers. Maybe Amy Adams doesn’t look young. Maybe being 42 is just really that pretty. You know what I’m saying?

      • Slowsnow says:

        @Margo @Kathleen I agree with Kathleen although I understand Margo’s comment was nothing but praise. But she does look 42. Not wanting to undermine anyone’s praises and kindness towards fellow women, she looks good, period, for me. I have seen her in Arrival recently and she is your 40ish looking woman, gorgeous, serene, seemingly un-botoxed and rocking it. That’s why I find her so refreshing. It’s the kind of beauty that sneaks up on you and conquers you bit by bit. You know, the you-look-like-a-human-who-has-emotions kind of beauty.

    • Kathleen says:

      @Slowsnow, yes! That’s what I was trying to say. I actually sometimes feel like we undermine older women by insisting they “look young.” And we mean well. But we’ve been trained as women to believe that young equals beautiful in a way that men NEVER are so we always go back to that as the compliment. I know it’s a pipe dream but God I wish we could reach a place where we could look at a beautiful 40 something woman (and Adams is beautiful) and just celebrate her beauty without having to make it about youth.

      • Slowsnow says:

        @Kathleen Yes, I dream of that place too: where we don’t spend so much time talking about our appearance and giving praise that actually undermine us. And where men say about someone as gorgeous as Annette Benning or Charlotte Rampling what we say about Robert Redford or Hugh Jackman: “gorgeous”. (The latter has actually married an older woman and hears a lot of crap about her physical appearance).
        Nice to read someone dreaming along the same lines!

      • frisbee says:

        Interesting article on why it’s ok to go grey but this is the main point “We’ve been groomed – by the media, by advertisers, and now by ourselves – to understand that our gender has to try harder, to consume more, when it comes to our appearance. We’ve been taught to fear growing old.”
        Not for everybody but I’m going prematurely grey, it’s positively gleaming silver in sunlight and I rather like it but even so I’m asked two or three times a week why I don’t dye it. Most recently by a woman whose husband is the same age as me and already a silver fox. Double standards much? Men and woman are treated differently as they age it’s as though women are not allowed to so referring to someone as looking ‘young’ is perpetuating that. I will stop it immediately as well and have probably been doing it unconsciously for years too!

      • teacakes says:

        @frisbee – thanks for that article link, I’m 32 and have got the beginnings of a silver streak in my black hair (it’s genetic, I found my first white hair at 13 and my dad was fully white-haired by his 40s) and I need to stay strong against the dye!

      • Slowsnow says:

        An old friend of mine went grey prematurely and sported it really well: a bit longer than a bob, straight. One day she came back with an auburn “helmet” like it said in the article. It was a pity as I loved her grey. Apparently she thought she looked old. Lots of men dye their hair but it is a choice FOR THEM. No one would think of asking them why they do it or don’t. Your example is hilarious of the male silver friend inquiring when you’ll dye yours… Maybe he secretly wants to dye his? I think men have it tough the other way: it is still frowned upon in certain environments/generations to do some cosmetic changes.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      I was wondering what the “diversity wise it is fine but great” comment mean when there is 4 black women and 6 white on the cover which is greag imo. But if it is about not just black women it is true it should be better to be great. However the thing is that you need to be pretty prominent to get to the cover and Hollowood does not cats Asian of latina women much. Black actors do get much better roles in comparison.

  9. Mia4S says:

    Sigh….let’s try this again. Diversity is not just, “quick, find a few Black women!”. Latinx and Asians exist….among others. That’s a diverse cover in the laziest sense. 🙄

    • M.A.F. says:

      Problem too is that these VF covers keep featuring movie actors. Next year this cover should be nothing but women from TV since that is where the diversity is.

      Or just give Constance Wu the cover.

      • Kathleen says:

        Don’t they do a TV issue at some point? Or am I mistaken here? Around the Emmy’s?

      • Mia4S says:

        It’s true, TV is light years ahead.

        After I wrote my comment I tried to think who could have mixed it up a bit (given that it’s a US magazine so they’re not going to go for actresses from The Handmaiden or The Mermaid (worldwide smashes though they were)). Who among the big awards contenders or gigantic hit films? Maybe Morena Baccarin from Deadpool? She’s Brazilian. Beyond that I’m stumped. I mean short of putting Diego Luna and the Rogue One guys on the cover too (which I’d never object too!!) but that kind of defeats the actress theme.

        Still a long way to go!

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree, if they included television, they could have greater diversity.

      • teacakes says:

        tv has been light years ahead of movies in terms of content AND diversity for years now.

        I mean, they managed to have Edward James Olmos (Mexican-American) and Mary McDonnell (in her late 40s) as the leads of Battlestar Galactica, over twelve years ago. What the hell is the movies’ excuse?! (and no, it’s not “Meryl Streep”)

    • An says:

      I get really uncomfortable with this kind of language…instead of saying let’s add more Latin and Asian women actresses, it becomes ” lets remove the black actresses or remove one or two black actresses and replace them with a Latin or asian actress”.
      And it is something I have noticed a lot coming from other so called POC and it is only something that I have seen pop up in reference to black actresses specifically, somehow black actors do not get this. Male privilege?
      And the language itself is very aggressive and aimed at black actors instead of the ones with power.
      Again, let us embrace diversity but not in a way that gets us back to square one.

      By the way, all of these black actresses are diverse. Lupita spent a lot of her formative years in mexico and speaks spanish fluently and identifies as part mexican and jokingly referred to herself as mexikenyan.
      Ruth is biracial half white, she is ethiopian and Irish and was raised in Ireland and now lives in London. So to group every black actresses into one experience is…tonedeaf.
      African Americans are those descendants from slaves who built america on the backs of free labor and unlike Latinos and Asians, they do not have a country other than america they can go to see themselves represented on screen.
      Also, all of these actresses are talented and have worked hard to get where they are so to just dismiss them as some “quick find a black actress” and “laziness” ugh..

      • Jeesie says:

        No one is suggesting anyone should take the place of the black actresses. The obvious choices to leave out would be the two Dakota’s. Fanning might belong there next year if The Bell Jar is any good, but she’s done nothing to earn a place this year, and I can’t fathom why 50 Shades got Johnson a spot among these actresses.

        People aren’t saying ‘there’s too many black actresses’, they’re saying including more black actresses is a step towards diversity, but far from a total win.

        I’m an Asian-American, cultural emphasis on American. I can see people who look pretty much like me in Chinese cinema, but I don’t speak the language(s), I’ve never been there myself and I recognise only the very broadest of cultural references. Beyond basic human commonalities, I don’t personally relate or feel represented by the characters anymore than I relate and feel represented to those in Iranian cinema or Russian cinema. If anything Chinese films just remind me how far removed I am from actually being Chinese. It’s an entirely different thing for me to see Asian-Americans on-screen.

      • Mia4S says:

        I didn’t say anything about removal, adding two or so more faces is not hard. But no, I still say this cover shows lazy choices (Dakota Fanning?!?). And yes, Lazy choices with the Black actresses as well. Lupita over Octavia is a good example. Lupita is beautiful and Queen of Katwe was a lovely movie….but it was also a box office bomb that got zero awards attention. Lupita will have much stronger years and there are Black actresses who had far better success this year. Octavia and Taraja for example?

      • perplexed says:

        I don’t get why Elle Fanning is on this cover. She’s as overrated as her sister.

        Although Dakota Johnson is most likely the best thing about the 50 Shades movies, they are so often referred to as 50 Shades of Crap I have no idea how she earned a spot either.

      • teacakes says:

        @An – Lainey from Laineygossip (who is Chinese-Canadian), specifically suggested replacing the Fannings on this cover with Noemie Harris.

        When we bring up other POC, it’s not saying that they should be in place of the black actresses, and I’m sorry if it comes across that way. We want Hispanic and Asian-American actors in ADDITION to the black actresses already on the cover, is all.

  10. Margo S. says:

    Lol at natalie portman WORKING IT. She wants that second oscar sooooo bad! Has anyone seen Jackie? Is she really that good? Like black Swan good?

    • Deedee says:

      I never thought Black Swan was good, and if anyone stole that show, it was Mila. Black Swan is way better if you watch it as high camp. Ridiculous movie. There, I said it.

    • Onika says:

      She was terrible in Jackie! Awful, awful mannered performance. Made me cringe so hard.

  11. Nancy says:

    Holding the pregnant belly again I see. Annie needs some new ideas since none of these repeats come close to her first pregnant belly photo session over twenty years ago of Demi Moore.

  12. Ramona says:

    This is a big improvement from barely two years ago when that VF cover was guaranteed to be all skinny young white girls. I still remember that one year they put the only POC inside the fold. Then another year in which silly people argued that a tan white girl (was it Alicia Vikander?) added color. I like this but theres still a problem with Asian and latina representation and Hollywood needs to stop acting like only having black women means you have achieved diversity.

  13. Lucy says:

    Could have been more diverse, for sure. And agreed about the distribution of the ladies. Lovely picture, though.

  14. SusanneToo says:

    If you can get past the VF February cover photo(animal abuser Chris Pratt)the issue is a good takedown of trump and his family members.

  15. Jeesie says:

    Ingenue refers to a young girl who is unusually innocent and wholesome (think Sandy at the start of Grease). It’s come to refer to young actresses just starting their career as well, due to the (idiotic) stereotype of the sheltered country girl coming to LA on a bus to make it big as an actress.

    I wish people would stop using it to describe any young-ish actress or any role played by a young-ish actress.

    Actual ingenue roles are pretty rare in film these days, much more common in Broadway revivals. Of the actresses here, only Dakota Johnson comes close to playing anything like an ingenue role, and really her characters just a moron.

    • Lisa says:

      True, I came here to see if anyone else caught that. I know words evolve, but they’re still misusing it.

  16. QueenB says:

    i dont see Natalie Portman as a two time oscar winner but gotta give her credit for timing two pregnancies perfectly.

  17. Jeesie says:

    Another year without any Latin, Native, Arab or Asian women even being potential contenders.

    This isn’t diversity.

    • lostinthought says:

      Diversity to me isn’t just about races, it’s also relates to sexual/religious orientation, class, age, gender whether that’s non binary or not and etc. But it’s Hollywood, so of course they’re gonna feature heterosexual women that are around their early 20′s to 42 (Amy Adams Age). We’ve a long way to go to feature people of all backgrounds, ages, races, and etc.

  18. MamaBanana says:

    why is there shade about NP being preggo?

    • Jeesie says:

      Because of the way she’s used it in both her Oscar campaigns.

    • perplexed says:

      Because she said the Oscar was a false idol, but here she is campaigning for a 2nd Oscar with her pregnancy.

      She also has cultivated an image of being above this sort of thing (i.e using private life for career gain), but she does this sort of thing like everybody else.

      She’s already been pregnant and won while being so; therefore, I have to admit I don’t get how the exact same campaign is supposed to help her the second time around. A pregnant Natalie Portman as Oscar winner seems kind of boring now. I also don’t get why Oscar voters care if an actress is pregnant or not. I get why people liked The Black Swan, but the Jackie movie looks really boring even if she gave a decent performance. I don’t feel that movie says anything new about Jackie we haven’t read or heard before. These are my random thoughts about the whole thing.

  19. poppy says:

    how is janelle not front and center since she is Ultimate Ingenue?!?!?
    because it is vanity Fail.

  20. sage says:

    Naomi Harris should have been included on the cover.

  21. lucy2 says:

    I think they need a new idea, this group of actresses dressed in similarly colored gowns thing is overplayed.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      Agreed! And while I’m no photographer, I feel like the color coordinating thing is very passé. Like, a thing suburban families did in their group beach photos in the early 2000s.

  22. Locke Lamora says:

    While it’s amazing to finally see (some) racial diversity, they’re still all young, skinny and beautiful.

  23. perplexed says:

    Is this the first time they’ve ever stuck a prominently pregnant actress on one of these “ingenue” covers? I can’t recall a pregnant actress being used for this kind of cover before.

  24. sara says:

    no offense, but what lupita is doing in the cover! Ruth Negga deserved to be there, not Lupita!
    I understand Dakota J, because she was in A Bigger Splash and How to be single, but I don’t get Dakota Fanning.
    They said hailee steinfeld was great in in the edge of seventeen, she is a better aactress than Dakota F, she should be there

    • detritus says:

      Yes. Ruth over Lupita, not even sorry. Get Ruth on the cover!

      Although, they did not do her favors with that pose and makeup. She’s usually for full of life and radiant, here she is looking tired and no f*cks. Dress is beautiful though, and her hair is looking lovely.

  25. dumbledork says:

    Janelle should be front and center. I thought she was the best thing in Hidden Figures. And there was a lot to like in that movie. Wish Octavia was in there too. Natalie, no. And I can’t explain it, but wish they’d come up with something other than the fancy prom dress portfolio. Seems to dumb down the idea of these women being smart, successful ingenues.

  26. Lisa says:

    Looks dated and drab. Janelle should have made the cover.

  27. OTHER RENEE says:

    Glad to see Greta Gerwig included. Love her.

    I’d like to see a cover with just women over 50 dressed in whatever the heck they felt like wearing! Clothes that showed them feeling comfortable and hopefully stylish. Now that is a magazine cover I’d buy.

  28. Ladiabla says:

    Two Fannings??? Why?

    • Jeesie says:

      Elle’s got Neon Demon and 20th Century Women and I imagine Live By Night was expected to be a player instead of a dud when she was chosen. She’s got some interesting stuff coming up too.

      Dakota had American Pastoral, which turned out pretty mediocre, and Brimstone. I expect she’s there because someone at VF loved Brimstone, but given this is basically the Oscar’s cover she doesn’t fit at at all this year.