It’s one of our favorite annual traditions and it’s here! Every March, the Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue introduces, celebrates and spotlights some of the hottest rising actors around (so you see why we love it so much) and this year is no different. Choosing to go all-female (unlike last year), the new issue features eleven of our favorite young actresses, who are everywhere at the moment – or soon will be. Rooney Mara, Jennifer Lawrence, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain take the front panel and are joined on the inside fold-out cover by Elizabeth Olsen, Adepero Oduye, Shailene Woodley, Paula Patton, Felicity Jones, Lily Collins and Brit Marling.
The girls gracing the front cover have certainly earned their spots this year. Two (Mara and Chastain) recently earned their first Oscar nominations, and one (Lawrence) was nominated last year. Mara and Chastain burst onto the scene in 2011 from virtual anonymity, Mara in the transformative role of Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and Chastain in, well, just about every other movie (“The Tree of Life”, “The Help”, “Take Shelter”, just to name three). Both Wasikowska and Lawrence are Hollywood Issue cover repeats, but both have come a long way since their last covers. Wasikowska, featured on 2010′s cover, had broken out in “Alice in Wonderland” but in 2011 proved she had gravitas as a serious leading actress, putting her on many people’s wishlists for the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in “Jane Eyre.” Lawrence, on the other hand, traveled something of an opposite path. She featured on last year’s cover after scoring an Oscar nod for tiny Sundance indie “Winter’s Bone” but 2012 she’ll give blockbuster franchise a shot as she leads “The Hunger Games”, tipped to be the next teen sensation a la “Twilight.”
On the inside panels, much to our delight, all four breakouts from 2011′s Sundance Film Festival are featured: Oduye as the sexually confused teenager in Dee Rees’ “Pariah”; Olsen as the tortured cult escapee in Sean Durkin’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene”; Jones as one half of a long distance couple in Drake Doremus’ “Like Crazy”; and Marling as co-writer and star of “Another Earth”, a sci-fi tinged drama about intersecting lives. Olsen and Marling actually both each had two films at Sundance, Olsen also with “Silent House” and Marling in “Sound of My Voice.” And both are back at Sundance this year, in “Liberal Arts” / “Red Lights” and “Abritrage”, respectively, and are, unsurprisingly, receiving very high marks from the festival once again.
Woodley, already with a set image and built-in audience of young teen girls from her five seasons as the lead on ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, firmly cast that aside to stun and impress audiences with her turn as George Clooney’s rebellious but ultimately wise daughter in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants.” She’s earned more than one accolade for the performance, and though she was undoubtedly snubbed for an Oscar nomination, certainly earns her spot here as well.
Representing the more commercial side of acting are Patton and Collins, who haven’t done many serious small indies as their counterparts, but certainly are doing their own thing with success. After supporting roles in movies from “Hitch” to “Swing Vote” to “Precious”, Patton wowed audiences when she took on the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”, the highest grossing installment of the franchise, now sure to be followed up with more sequels. Collins, too, recently graduated to action-oriented female leading roles after making her feature film debut in Sandra Bullock starrer “The Blind Side.” She starred in “Priest” and “Abduction” in 2011 (not exactly box office monstrosities) and will headline the first Snow White film of the year in “Mirror Mirror.”
And finally, while we love that they chose an all-female group, we can’t help but think about the guys who would have fit in great this this group, in this year: Michael Fassbender, Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Gosling, Anton Yelchin, Tom Hiddleston, Armie Hammer, Tom Hardy, Oscar Isaac….
What do you think? Who are your favorite inclusions? Who did they leave out? Tell us your dream lineup!