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VANITY FAIR HOLLYWOOD ISSUE: Roberts, Ejiofor, Elba and Clooney on Front Cover, Who Was Brave Enough to Pose for a Chuck Close Polaroid? (VIDEO)

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood February 14, 2014 at 2:41PM

The annual Vanity Fair Hollywood cover has arrived in the mail. They've gone back to established movie stars for the front cover: those gorgeous faces include Oscar contenders Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave") and Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County"), as well as global movie stars Idris Elba ("Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom") and George Clooney ("Gravity").
Brad Pitt
Chuck Close Brad Pitt

"They can be rough," Close says. "They have to give up a great deal of vanity to do it. It takes a great deal of generosity and faith on the part of the subject...No hair, no makeup, no wardrobe, pick something, wear it, come in and wear your own hair... It will be shocking to people."

Also inside is a must-read feature about the Cal Arts class that spawned John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Tim Burton and a generation of brilliant animators, a profile of Oscar host Ellen De Generes, James Wolcott on Hollywood's great year at the movies, a slice of old Hollywood from Robert Wagner's memoir, "You Must Remember This: Life and Style from Hollywood's Golden Age," Nate Silver and Bruce Feirstein's very different takes the Oscars, some wondrous classic photos from VF issues past, including current nominees Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio, and a dull as dishwater politically correct Proust questionnaire from Harvey Weinstein, who delivered many of the stars in the issue. Harvey, you can do better than that.

This article is related to: News, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Léa Seydoux, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong'o, Naomie Harris, Idris Elba

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.