Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue cover looks like Oprah Winfrey’s royal court

Milan photocall for 'The Post'

Oooh, I’ve been waiting for this. Arguably, the best Vanity Fair issue of the year is their Hollywood Issue. VF always goes all out, and in many years, there has been a #HollywoodIssueSoWhite problem. But not this year! Vanity Fair mixed up their cover with legends and up-and-coming talents. The tableau looks like Oprah Winfrey’s royal court, and I’m totally fine with it. Included on the cover: Oprah, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Claire Foy, Zendaya, Michael B. Jordan (YAS), Tom Hanks, Jessica Chastain, Michael Shannon (YAS), Harrison Ford, Gal Gadot, Robert De Niro and outgoing editor-in-chief Graydon Carter. You can see VF’s Hollywood Issue Portfolio here. Here’s the expanded cover, click to see it enlarged.

Milan photocall for 'The Post'

Random thoughts:

Could Annie Leibovitz really not wait until Oprah opened her eyes? Why use this image where Oprah looks like she’s half-asleep?

Nicole Kidman is doing her best work as Naomi Watts on this cover.

Claire Foy is doing her best work as Sarah Paulson on the cover.

Why did only Chastain and Gadot get a wind machine?

If I ever saw Michael Shannon in real life wearing that tuxedo, I would faint.

Michael B. Jordan is everything.

What is Harrison Ford leaning on? Dead air? He looks like he was Photoshopped into this.

You can see Graydon’s final letter from the editor here. I can’t wait to see if VF did a bigger portfolio of some of the year’s best actors/performances and most notable Hollywood peeps. They do that most years and it’s the best!

Covers courtesy of Vanity Fair.

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93 Responses to “Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue cover looks like Oprah Winfrey’s royal court”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    Holy photo shop Batman!

    Was anyone in the same room? Kind of less interesting when they do it this way. I’ll wait for the behind the scenes video before judging.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I just keep wondering what Tom Hanks is leaning on…it looks like it’s the red panel behind him but something about the pose is off. Same thing with Nicole Kidman’s arm on Oprah’s knee. Methinks a lot of ‘shopping went on, lol.

    • marianne says:

      In the BTS photos, Oprah, Reese and Tom were. Graydon & Robert were. Everyone else was shot separately.

    • milla says:

      It doesn’t look good at all. But i like Jessica and Zendaya.

    • Erinn says:

      I’m rarely a fan of the over-processed ‘artwork’ kind of style of editing. I feel like it’s aiming to have a painted portrait vibe without being literally painted? But it’s clearly trying to look larger than life and grandiose – they were aiming for the dramatic. It doesn’t mean it was the best idea or anything, but I think it’s genuinely TRYING to be this over the top.

      “What is Harrison Ford leaning on? Dead air? ” He’s doing the trick of angling his body and putting his weight on the foot that’s furthest from the camera. It can be a flattering pose – but it can also be used to look more imposing, and I think the aim was to kind of get both out of it here. He’s the typical manly tough guy actor, and he’s also not as fit as he was in his 20s/30s.

      Honestly, in some ways I appreciate how ridiculous this photo is. It’s kind of surreal I guess? At the same time, it’s definitely eye catching despite it being sort of strange. I mean – it could definitely have been done better. But it could also have looked worse.

  2. mia girl says:

    I honestly thought it was Naomi Watts at first.

    Happy to see Gal Gadot in the group, but the sheer / granny panty look: WHY?

    • Mar says:

      I totally thought it was Naomi too and I thought she looked phenomenal lol!!
      Gal is so gorgeous she can wear anything and Jessica Chastain looks like a Queen

      • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

        Totally agree on Jessica Chastain looking like a goddess. That beautiful hair color combined with her pale skin looks staight up out of a classical painting. Love.

        But I really hate Gal Gadot in the underwear. I’m sorry but it looks trashy and literally like she’s only wearing granny panties while everyone else is in elegant gowns.

        Pet peeve: I’m glad there is a young Black woman included to represent us but how about someone who had a significant acting role this year? Zendaya is always beautiful and a smart girl but I wish we would stop overlooking talented young Black women in favor of the pretty mixed race or “exotic” girl with a white parent that makes Hollywood feel comfortable. Not aimed at her personally, just the tired 100 year history of ignoring Black women.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Chastain looks like a goddess because she’s the only one given full-on, 100% attention.

      • imqrious2 says:

        Mabs, she’s also the only one wearing color! Even if she wasn’t in the middle, your eyes would be drawn to her.

      • lannisterforever says:

        Original TC, Zendaya DID have important acting roles this year – Spiderman and Greatest Showman. She deserves her place on the cover.

    • Morning Coffee says:

      I thought it was Watts as well! Nicole is nearly unrecognizable.

      • homeslice says:

        I didn’t know who Nicole was until I read under the picture!!!
        I’m sick of Reese.
        I don’t get why Harrison Ford is there.
        Jessica Chastain is really gorgeous, not just photoshop gorgeous either.

    • milla says:

      Dakota Johnson wore sth similar on Allure cover. That trend has to go.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree, I think throws off the balance of the photo to have Gal in a sheer skirt, when everyone else is so covered up. It makes me feel like she is being unnecessarily exposed, but that’s probably just my own thing.

    • Nikki says:

      I looked at it for at least 30 seconds trying to decide if it was Watts or Kidman, which is really weird because they are good friends! It was the eyebrows only that gave it away as Kidman. SO WEIRD; do you think Nicole is consciously copying Naomi’s look??

  3. Tina says:

    There’s something very annoying about seeing Gal Gadot in what looks like her knickers next to a bunch of fully dressed men.

    • Kelly says:

      That always bothers me on news programs/political shows. The norm seems to be men in three piece suits, and women in sleeveless dresses.

      • Redgrl says:

        @kelly – THIS! What is wrong with a smart business suit for women? It makes me fume when I see men in suits and ties and the women in little sleeveless dresses – some of which look like they’re going out to a cocktail party. Makes me nuts.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Ugh, and then on Fox they make the female hosts sit on the ends of the table so you can see all of their legs. It is so obvious and gross.

      • INeedANap says:


        News, weather, sports…all the women have to be in body-con form fitting dresses while the men get to be in a suit. It’s gross. It’s one more way we say it is not acceptable for women to be in public unless they’re “sexy”.

    • Lilith says:

      Yes, it takes away from the whole message. Why did Gadot agree to pose in that next to those old white men? Should’ve known better.

      • magz says:

        She looks shopped in, look at her shoe, the lighting is weird. But I still 100%, there are way too many dresses out in the world that don’t require undies to be shown.

      • Tosca says:

        Don’t even get me started on how the male newscasters often have bad skin, crooked noses, mean looks, and then the women are practically perfect. Double standards much?

    • loislane says:

      Was about to say this. Why did they make her dress like that? It makes zero sense. Such a stark difference from everyone else. her clothes don’t belong here.
      Always featuring an underdressed woman, ☑ …it’s tiring. *eye-roll *

    • Call_Me_Al says:

      I agree. However, @Kelly, I’m sure in those news shows they are glad to not be in a hot suit! But the Gal Gadot look is somehow degrading here.

    • Slowsnow says:

      I would take it if Michael B. Jordan was shirtless ;-) , otherwise no.

      Do we still have any doubts as to why Gadot was cast? Not for her acting chops that’s for sure.

  4. Kelly says:

    I’ve noticed for years that Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts often photograph similarly, yet they really look nothing alike. Maybe it’s because they’re BFFs?

  5. M.A.F. says:

    “Nicole Kidman is doing her best work as Naomi Watts on this cover”

    Thank You! Glad I’m not the only one who noticed.

  6. MH says:

    Just once I’d like to see a photo like this where the men are sprawled out on the floor.

  7. minx says:

    That’s a terrible picture of Oprah, she looks better than that.

  8. littlemissnaughty says:

    I have so many thoughts at once. First of all, I like it better than most previous ones. I feel like it’s as good as a representation of film and TV in 2017 as they could manage with limited space (you might disagree). But why does Zendaya look so boring? She’s anything but! She fades into the background almost, that’s just not right. Reese and Nicole look ill. And what is up with that lighting? It’s really bad and when I – someone who knows nothing about photography – can see it, it says a lot. Is Annie losing her touch? Because Oprah does not look like this. DeNiro, on the other hand, amuses me. He’s thinking “This isn’t the worst. I could go for a sandwich later.”

    • Slowsnow says:

      Annie has lost her touch a very very long time ago imo. This picture smells like moth balls and dust.

      • Nello says:

        Agree. The Hollywood cover looks the same every year. And does Annie secretly despise Oprah? Awful shot of her! Michael Shannon (who I’ve had the hots for since Bug) looks gorgeous in that tux! 😍

    • Lorelai says:

      “This isn’t the worst. I could go for a sandwich later.” 😂😂

  9. lucy2 says:

    Pretty solid group of actors. Love up and comers MBJ (swoon!) and Zendaya getting the cover, as well as the BLL women – they had a powerhouse year with that show.

    Who blackmailed Harrison Ford into this? Does not seem like his thing.

    Hate the sheer dress on Gal, she deserves better.
    To echo MH above, the women sprawling on the floor thing needs to go.

  10. Bridget says:

    Can we agree that this is a really random grouping of people?

    And the composition of the shot is terrible. People clumped on one side, and then listlessly standing on the other with Graydon Carter lurking in the background (why waste a spot on him?).

    • eto says:

      Yeah the right side of the photo seems like an afterthought tbh

    • BorderMollie says:

      These pics get worse and worse every year, I swear. Looks like a college senior’s photoshop project that gets a C grade or even like some tumblr made photo set. Blah!

  11. Shannon says:

    The random wind-machine really stuck out to me, too.

  12. Bridget says:

    Also, is V.F. moving away from the pattern it used to have – one year up and coming women on the cover, one year men, one year mixed?

    And I actually miss when the Hollywood issue cover was supposed to showcase newbies.

  13. B says:

    What is Zendaya doing there? She must have a great publicist.

  14. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I honestly thought that was Naomi Watts until I read your caption Kaiser! That’s crazy. They could have styled Nicole better. And actually made her look like herself. Gal’s pose looks weird next to all the other ladies

  15. Slowsnow says:

    Reese looks like she just had a tantrum and auntie Oprah calmed her down just in time for the shoot.

  16. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Reese and Oprah look like they haven’t slept in a week. Hate the sheer skirt and granny panties. Next year let’s formally dress the women, and have the men sprawled out on the floor in flesh-colored unitards.

  17. Lorelai says:

    I thought Claire was Sarah Paulson too!

  18. Andrea says:

    What a terrible cover. lol. i literally only care about two ppl on here and why michael b. jordan? why not chadwick boseman the actual Blank panther? why not BOTH?!?

  19. jferber says:

    Oprah is a queen and she deserves any damn court she wants. I’m hoping her next court will be in the Oval Office. Right now we have a court jester in there.

  20. KatieBo says:

    Why not Hong Chau? Why not John Cho? Mindy Kaling?

    There’s a long way to go before “diversity” is truly diverse.

    • Slowsnow says:

      You’re absolutely right – there is always the token accepted POC and it seems Zendaya is light enough to pass and Michael B. Jordan the accepted black actor and Oprah is Oprah.
      But those are not the white people I want to see either – sick of seeing Kidman everywhere, I find Gadot a mediocre actress etc etc. The celeb world is very restrictive and unimaginative.

  21. Theodora says:

    Very strange photos. They all look lifeless, with dead eyes, tired, eerie, ike a Victorian post-mortem photo depicting a ball.

  22. Anastasia says:

    It looks like Reese is about to breastfeed Oprah. Awkward.

  23. holly hobby says:

    OMG for one moment I really did think that was Naomi Watts on the cover. When I read the list of names I was confused. Where was Nicole? Did they photoshop Naomi’s face into this?

  24. Pandy says:

    Why is Reese sitting like Oprah just bought a dance from her in the Champagne Room? Why does Nicole look 20 while Zendaya looks 50? And yes, why can’t the women be in tuxes next year and the men in granny panty outfits.

  25. DiegoInSF says:

    I think Hollywood only knows diversity as black and white. Where are Asians, Latinos? Salma Hayek could have been featured for her fantastic performance in Beatriz at dinner.

  26. Sarah says:

    Here for Michael B.

  27. WendyNerd says:

    TBH, Still not impressed. They let three whole non-whites onto the centerfold and only one (easily one of the most influential African American figures of modern times times) to go on the cover proper. And I want to see proper VARIETY, not JUST black and white. ” Where is Kumail Nanjiani? Taika Waititi, who directed one of the most profitable films of the year? Mindy Kaling? WHO DOES. KEANU REEVES. NEED TO SCREW?


    Just one? Especially since Hollywood just LOOOOOVES burrowing around and yanking at awesome Asian media, particularly from the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean markets, trying to exploit their pre-existing fan bases, “localizing” them, and forcing lame white people into them to give us supposedly dumb, racist American audiences in a supposedly “more palatable” form for us. (Despite the fact these properties being bastardized by the Hollywood machine means they are already counting on the American fanbases that already exist and already loooove these things as they were, but are still apparently too racist to want an Asian American Light Yagami over the frosted-tipped moron “Light Turner”.)

    And why are these people less deserving of a spot here than De Niro, who, let’s face it, hasn’t done much this particular year and has in no way made the major contribution in 2017, of say, Nanjiani and Waititi? Or Michael Shannon, for that matter? When even the Oscars are technically showing more variety/color, we have issues.

    When I see more than a sea of white with hints of black, we’ll talk. But too many groups are being left in the dust and I strongly dislike this.

  28. Reef says:

    Was this shoot supposed to look unfinished? Is this the cover-as is? Lol, they got the marking tape all in the shot. The man in the back is lit so badly. Why does Annie Liebowitz still get work? Her success has been baffling to me ever since I was a teenager.

  29. marianne says:

    It seems like a step up. Not just having more black people included, but this also doesnt feel as “age-ist”. But I think it would have kind of been cool to do a cover with actors that have been out spoken in the #metoo and #timesup movement.

    Plus, black and white is still not “diverse”.

  30. S says:

    This is not only completely Photoshopped; only Reese and Oprah were in same room at same time. But, umm Reese has three legs. How did this get past???

  31. SJF says:

    Can we make a rule from now on that any cover shot that features a woman pretending to be in a formal that really is just underwear, that there has to be a man pretending to be in a suit that really is just underwear? Or better still, stop printing “important” photos of “serious” actresses in underwear?

    Say we couple #TimesUp with #PantsUp ?

  32. Lucy says:

    Doesn´t Reese look like she has three legs?

  33. Cara says:

    I think the picture is beautiful, with the exception of Gal’s dress. What on the world?? I think she sticks out like a sore thumb. Her dress doesn’t flow with the rest of the dresses in the picture.

  34. Shappalled says:

    Yance Ford is the first transgender director nominated for an Oscar:

  35. raincoaster says:

    I’m gonna cry when I read that Editor’s Letter. The proudest professional achievement of my life is that Vanity Fair published one of my articles when Graydon Carter was the editor.

  36. Liberty says:

    You should see the DM on the photoshop mess….3 legged Reese, 3 handed Oprah. Can’t believe no one looked closely at this before publishing.

  37. MrsPanda says:

    Why is Tom Hanks giving himself a wedgie?