February 2012

Editor’s Letter—February 2012


You just never know. As we were putting the finishing touches on our annual Oscar issue—the very pages you are holding—the Academy Award nominations were being announced. As it turns out, our choice of cover subject—Viola Davis—was prescient. But 2012 contender or not, Davis—who also received an Oscar nod in 2009 for Doubt—is a force with which to be reckoned.

In “Viola,” written by Leslie Gornstein and photographed by Ruven Afanador, she tells how she developed as an actor and how she intends to expand her Hollywood presence. This month in “Merry Prankster,” photographed by Afanador, George Clooney (also nominated for a lead-acting Oscar) mugs for the camera and discusses his wicked sense of humor. And we turn to his friends and cohorts for true tales of his legendary practical jokes.

Gary Oldman as laconic George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was the toast of the Venice Film Festival and critically acclaimed everywhere overseas, yet for some reason the role hadn’t garnered the big awards love stateside—until this year’s Academy Awards nomination, a first for the actor as well. In “Spy Work,” by Eric Estrin, Oldman reflects on the bigger picture of his career and the often surprising choices he has made.

Ronald Reagan’s legacy looms large; GOP candidates invoke his name with reverence. In “Left in the Past,” John Meroney mines the voluminous files kept by late Hollywood labor activist Roy M. Brewer, illuminating how the 40th president’s anti-Communist strategy evolved. And it’s not quite what the conservatives think it is.

There is a quantitative side to the Academy Awards. In “Oscar by the Numbers,” by Michael Darling, we look at some of the show’s alternative equations. Movies, math and more: It’s awards time in L.A. Enjoy!  —NANCIE CLARE, Editor