Liz Smith: Vanity Fair Covers Hollywood

“AT Vanity Fair‘s annual Oscar-night bash the effect is sheer magic as stars from very separate universes collide and then revel in the reflected dazzle. Yet, as Frank DiGiacomo reveals, there’s nothing accidental about it. Here’s how the party got started, took off, and quickly became the hottest and toughest invite in town.”

This is from the magazine’s self-congratulatory March issue out any minute and it sure takes me back to the time when I went out in person every year to enjoy this big bash. I would still go if I didn’t dislike flying so much!
But you and I can enjoy vicariously the thrill of rubbing elbows with the biggest because there they are in this issue — the grandest stars of past, present and future in a magazine where the cover shows Ben Affleck, Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper nestled down with what looks like a gorilla and a bear. (Editor Graydon Carter seems to have turned this issue into what is being called “Bruce Weber‘s Adventures in Hollywood.” More on this in a minute.)

I was particularly “taken” with a photo inside of a scene from the 2007 party where, when Jennifer Hudson won for best supporting actress, I turned around from the table in front of them, to look at the famous seated directly behind me. There, Donna Karan, Oprah Winfrey, Mary J. Blige and Kendu Isaacs all WERE with their mouths wide open, before they began hysterically applauding. The photo is rare and spectacular.

(Photographer Eric Charbonneau must have been sitting right at my table.) It is a startling reminder of the excitement of that win!

THIS issue features a candid interview with Merv Adelson, which is one of those “how the mighty have fallen” stories, all about how this titan, once wed to Barbara Walters, has fared in the years after his love affairs with Hollywood, the late Steve Ross and Time Warner, the Mafia, etc.

There is also “The 60 Minutes Vanity Fair Poll” which tells us that only four in five of us can remember the name of the movie where the line goes “I coulda been a contender.”

(It was Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront”) …. Only 21% polled realized that Harvey Weinstein is an Oscar-winning producer … 39% want Meryl Streep to play Hillary Clinton … 28% consider Clint Eastwood the outstanding leading male actor of all time, beating out Denzel Washington, Cary Grant, Jack Nicholson, George Clooney and Humphrey Bogart … and, it turns out, 46% dislike foreign films with subtitles!

VANITY Fair for March does include a small piece written by yours truly about actress Holland Taylor portraying the late governor of Texas, Ann Richards and opening at the Vivian Beaumont on March 7th.

But the bulk of the mag is given over to famous photographer Bruce Weber and his love of animals and there is even an elephant inside (although Bruce wanted it on the cover.) Bruce has included pages of actors and actresses one has never heard of but all of these aspiring thespians have “credits” so they are authentic, if not exactly stars.

Stars abound also and there is something for everyone in this magazine if you love celebrities. (We all pretend not to but we do adore them! The culture seems built on them.)

Editor Carter has taken a wacky chance on giving the fabulous Mr. Weber his head, if not exactly his paw. This always makes for controversy and content and Vanity Fair is both “different” this time out, and just exactly the same.

I am ever astounded and pleased when I find myself in it.

ONE WONDERS why “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” movie folks believed it was necessary to deny that they were filming in the Northern New Jersey Ramapo State Forest last week. There was N.J.’s Steven Gorelick, executive director of Motion Pictures & TV in the Garden State and he was with film stars Jennifer Lawrence and young leading man, Liam Hemsworth.

“The weather worked perfectly for them,” said Mr. Gorelick. “The water froze and there was a little snow, and they got some very good footage.”
Once upon a time, early Hollywood happened because the weather in California was usually sunny. But now films are made all over the world. New Jersey and New York usually cooperate with film makers so there is no reason for PR flacks and others to deny what is realistic.

Ms. Lawrence, incidentally, reported to be suffering from walking pneumonia, sure didn’t look sick as she accepted SAG’s “best actress” award. And I will be waiting for her to walk up and get an Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook.”

P.S. May I remind you again, my dear readers, that I can be seen on Fox News.com on a show called “Lips and Ears” that plays on Fridays. You’ve probably seen too much of me over the years that I’ve been in the public eye like a cinder, but here I am again.

I also now have a Facebook page and I want to welcome all the famous, infamous and people I never heard of before for “liking” me on Facebook.

I appreciate so much your support. This five-day-a-week column appears now on various Internet channels and even in syndicated newspapers but I can’t help it; I like it best on the Newyorksocialdiary.com and on the Wowowow.com sites because my friends, David Patrick Columbia and Jeff Hirsch, provide the column with dazzling photographs and graphics and make it seem more important than it ever could be without their talent and generosity.

This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 1/31/13

One comment so far.

  1. avatar Laura Ward says:

    I read everyone one of your columns. I’m sure I’m not alone.