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PREACH IT! The most important magazine cover in the world is back, so stop everything and pay attention

February 1, 2010 |  7:44 pm
Vanity Fair coverHooray! It’s the annual Vanity Fair Hollywood issue, where the biggest, most important magazine in the world makes sure we understand just how big and important it is through its ability to corral the nine or so most promising young people in the business and make them sit still, in one room, all day long.

Off and on, VF has hammered home its momentousness by placing on its Hollywood issue cover those young people whom the magazine has deemed the household names of tomorrow. We speak not of Tom Ford’s rather sad all-naked experiment, nor the year when VF editors managed to wake up Harrison Ford long enough to put him on the cover with a bunch of fellow Tinseltown alpha males. We speak only of the years when the magazine spotlighted young, then-barely-known people like Gwyneth Paltrow or Cate Blanchett and tacitly declared them the next big thing.

VF also has a tendency to get these predictions really, really wrong. Take 2000. The magazine showcased Penélope Cruz, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Marley Shelton, Chris Klein, Selma Blair, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Sarah Wynter. A decade later, bread-and-butter Americans might be able to place, at most, two of those names.

This year we have Abbie Cornish ("Bright Star"), Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland"), Amanda Seyfried ("Dear John"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education," Shia LaBeouf), Evan Rachel Wood ("True Blood"), Kristen Stewart (everything), Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”), Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”) and Emma Stone (“Superbad”).

Cornish is hot, acts well and dates fellow celebrity Ryan Phillippe, which is generally the magic formula for remaining famous while talented -- once America discovers her. And that may happen when Cornish appears in the Zach Snyder eye candy flick "Sucker Punch," coming out in 2011.

Amanda Seyfried Wasikowska may have talent, but she also has the name Wasikowska. You may not think that means anything, until I also throw the words “Leelee Sobieski” into the argument. She was on the Hollywood issue cover in 1999.

"Twilight" series star Stewart may suffer from the Mark Hamill curse if she doesn’t come out with her own vehicle soon; the Joan Jett biopic “The Runaways” may be it, may not. Seyfried has eyes so big they wrap around the sides of her head like a praying mantis, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I refer you to Uma Thurman. Kendrick can sling a good line, and she’s surely awards material, but she doesn’t have unforgettable mega-insect eyes like Seyfried. Jury’s out on her. And Hall is charming and a fine actress, but, like Kendrick, her face doesn’t scream “Next Cate Blanchett.” Fact: Every single actress who has appeared on the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue cover and who has also gone on to arguable success has been mega-hot, with only a single exception. Right, Sarah Jessica Parker?

Onward.

Stone has both Jessica Rabbit looks and a fabulous sense of comic timing. However, as Gawker points out, comedy in this town is largely dominated by men unless it’s the deadly rom-com variety; Stone may need to move to TV if she wants to dominate long-term. Finally, there’s Wood. She has amazing looks, decent talent and the potential for an explosive, long-term presence in the celebrity weeklies thanks to her inevitable divorce from Marilyn Manson. The MOB votes her Most Likely to Succeed.

Agree? No? Tell us in the comments section below. 

-- Leslie Gornstein

Top photo: Vanity Fair cover. Bottom photo: Amanda Seyfried. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

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