Vanity Fair's Hollywood cover for 2014, plus the Gwyneth Paltrow story


This year's three-panel foldout by Annie Leibovitz features Oscar nominees Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), as well as Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), George Clooney (Gravity), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Chadwick Boseman (42), Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Léa Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color.) There are the usual related online features at the Vanity Fair website.

In the Hollywood issue, editor Graydon Carter discusses the reputed take-down story he assigned on Gwyneth Paltrow, her reaction, the magazine's subsequent change in direction, and what Carter says really happened. The website includes an excerpt:

In October, Gwyneth called me. We talked for about 20 minutes about the story and her reaction, or over-reaction, to it. At one point, she asked my advice as to what to do to get the “haters” on her side. I suggested putting on 15 pounds. I joked that it works for me. She replied I had put on much more than that. Which I thought was fair and funny. Two months after the phone call, Web sites lit up with news of a truce. We received more mail, much of it now criticizing us for caving. There had also been conflicting reports that Gwyneth had coerced George Clooney into not being on our cover—clearly not true. There were reports that she was trying to scuttle our annual Oscar party, that she was going to organize a competing dinner. The Paltrow camp subsequently denied both claims.

We were in uncharted waters. At Vanity Fair, we tend to keep stories we are working on under our hats. It's not easy being a monthly magazine in an Internet age, and since most of the publications we compete with are weeklies or dailies, when it comes to the stories still in train, a certain amount of institutional secrecy is required. The Gwyneth Paltrow saga had clearly just gotten away from us. My instinct was to continue to let it sit until people had forgotten about it, or at least until expectations had diminished. The fact is the Gwyneth Paltrow story, the one we ordered up, as delightfully written as it was, is not the one the anti-Gwynethites expect. That it has generated more mail and attention than many of the biggest stories we've ever published only makes the situation more complicated...

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