Monday, February 12, 2007

NYT does Annie Leibovitz without Annie Leibovitz

The cover story of yesterday's Sunday NYT Magazine was a portfolio of photographs of 22 of the year's great performers. You'd think Oscar time was approaching. Photographing celebrities is tricky territory, and these days it's owned by Annie Leibovitz. But the Times worked with a selection of 10 different photographers, none of them named Leibovitz.
It was not a standout year for filmmaking, but the acting in 2006 was consistently intriguing and often thrilling. In our annual photographic portfolio, the magazine has never tried to guess which actors will win awards but rather to praise performances that moved, distressed, enlivened and, finally, amazed us. We are saluting 22 of those remarkable characters: from Helen Mirren, whose subtly layered portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II both humanized a seemingly cold matriarch and revealed the complicated nature of duty in shifting times, to Sacha Baron Cohen, whose brilliant, seamless portrayal of Borat was simultaneously hilarious and shocking, to the lesser known Abbie Cornish, who was heartbreaking in “Somersault,” an Australian coming-of-age film that played in American theaters for only a few weeks. This was also the year that Penélope Cruz showed off her range as an actress in “Volver,” Forest Whitaker exploded as Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland” and Ivana Baquero, who is 12, deftly balanced the fantastical and the violent in “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
The story has a link to an online slideshow of the photos. They're OK, but you can see why it's Annie Leibovitz who gets the really big bucks.

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