If you’re unfamiliar, W always runs this issue at the kick-off of awards season, with mixed but always interesting results. Last year was kind of all over the place and felt, to me, a bit underbaked. 2017 successfully had a lot of hot actors hugging each other; the year prior to that was a CRAZY MESS that both defined the word “breakthrough” incorrectly and was REALLY white, causing me to have an all-caps rant. 2015 featured some…really bizarre choices for a lot of people. 2014 was just mildly bonkers but mostly amusing? (I thought Cate Blanchett was Jerry Hall; need I say more?)
And what of 2019? We’re going to take a closer look, but my first note is that W might need to cast a wider celebrity net. While this selection of cover stars represents W’s best effort toward a more diverse group yet, and does have some very welcome first timers — Michael B Jordan, at last! — in the last six years, Amy Adams, Nicole Kidman, Saoirse Ronan, Mahershala Ali, Eddie Redmayne, and Margot Robbie have all appeared multiple times. Those are all talented and attractive A listers, all of whom have turned in excellent performances worthy of celebration, except — wait. Hang on. Is Eddie Redmayne even in a movie this year?! Is he on this cover for Fantastic Beasts? You’ve got to be kidding me. Oh my god. He is. He’s “in conversation” with Rami Malek — I’ll spare you that rant this time — and while I actually have no issue with Eddie Redmayne as a whole, this makes no sense. Everyone else on these covers was in potential awards season contention when they were booked; NO ONE thought Eddie Redmayne was going to get a nomination for Fantastic Beasts. My theory is that they had someone else lined up and they dropped out, and Eddie did W a solid, but it’s also possible that Eddie Redmayne just hangs around outside the W offices in the hopes that they’ll throw him a bone here.
Where was I? Ah, yes. Leaving Redmayne to the side: This month’s cover also marks the fourth time Amy Adams has gotten the nod for this feature in six years. I LOVE Amy Adams — she was robbed of an Oscar for Arrival, and I will die on that hill – but that’s heading into overkill. (Give hers to Rachel Weisz, for pete’s sake.)