Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Vanity Fair Eschews Hollywood for Fall Issue, Oddly Puts Race Car Driver on the Cover


I don’t understand a word of Vanity Fair anymore, and from the looks of their circulation, no one else does, either.

After fumbling the ball with Hollywood, new editor Radhika Jones brought over a big team from Entertainment Weekly to give the magazine a jolt. (Those talented people must be very frustrated!)

But for the September issue, traditionally the gateway to the fall season, Jones has snubbed Hollywood and movie community. The cover story is about someone named Lewis Hamilton.

I tell you, I had to think for a few seconds before I remembered who he was. Hamilton is a star F1 race car driver. He’s also Black, which is key for Jones, who has more than made up for Vanity Fair’s years of ignoring POC cover stars. But when I asked a friend of mine who’s a Black journalist if he knew who Lewis Hamilton was, he actually said to me: “Who? How do you spell it?”

The same journalist had other cogent observations about Vanity Fair that I won’t share right now.

Jones certainly had a wide choice of star for the September issue, any of whom would be more recognizable than Hamilton. (His story and the photos are all fine, but they would have been better used on the inside of the magazine.)

Considering the number of films and stars going to the Toronto, Telluride, and New York Film Festivals, you’d think Vanity Fair could have come up with something. A very interesting cover might have been this summer’s big star, Michelle Yeoh, whose movie, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” made $70 million. She’s a shoo-in for an Oscar nod.

Funny that Vanity Fair, which really rests its laurels on its annual Oscar party every year, is ignoring Hollywood in its busiest season. Take a look even at the cover lines for the September issue: you wouldn’t really know Hollywood existed.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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