One of the magazine covers I look forward to most during Awards Season, is Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood Issue. Since 1995, the cover has highlighted Hollywood and the big players, fresh new faces or the “It” actors currently generating buzz. For their 17th annual issue, Vanity Fair has gone back to basics and to old school glamor. To be specific, the glamour of 1930s Shanghai, an era of smoky, alluring elegance.

“We had the gentlemen looking dashing in black tie, whilst the ladies were radiant in spring’s gowns—from Gucci to Yves Saint Laurent—and glittering with diamonds from Chanel and other arbiters of glamour.” – Style director Jessica Diehl

In the past, they’ve sometimes featured teenagers, nudity and even penguins. Yup. penguins made it in 2007. This year, they’ve focused on the most exciting actors and actresses of the moment. Taking stage front and center (or in this case the left side) are Oscar co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Joining them on the coveted section are Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal. Traditionally, Annie Leibovitz has taken the group picture, but this year photographer Norman Jean Roy shot the cover. The whole process took two days and was shot in New York and Los Angeles.

Others included on the cover include Jennifer Lawrence, Anthony Mackie, Olivia Wilde, Jesse Eisenberg, Mila Kunis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, Garrett Hedlund, Noomi Rapace and Robert Duvall. WTF? What is he doing there? On a side note, I’m glad Noomi Rapace, the star of the Swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and Mila Kunis made the cut. Check out the full cover, along with all previous Hollywood Issue covers below.

1995 – Hollywood Highest – Class of 2000

Jennifer Jason Leigh, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Patricia Arquette, Linda Fiorentino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianne Moore, Angela Bassett, and Sandra Bullock.

It’s amazing that most of these women still look good today. With exception to “Medium’s” Patricia Arquette. Way harsh.

1996 – Boys’ Town

Tim Roth, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Rapaport, Stephen Dorff, Johnathon Schaech, David Arquette, Will Smith, and Skeet Ulrich.

Most of these boys never graduated to men. Whatever happened to Michael Rapaport, & Johnathon Schaech? Leo looks so young.

1997 – The Next Wave

Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Claire Danes, Renée Zellweger, Minnie Driver, Alison Elliott, Jada Pinkett, Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron, and Fairuza Balk.

Overall this is a pretty good cover. Who was Alison Elliott? I love Fairuza Balk, but she sorta seems out of place here.

1998 – The Hot Next Wave

Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn, Natalie Portman, Djimon Hounsou, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, Claire Forlani, Gretchen Mol, Christina Ricci, Ed Furlong, and Rufus Sewell.

One of my favorite covers ever. Vince Vaughn used to look so hot. VF did a pretty good job of predicting the new wave. 50% correct isn’t half bad. LOL

1999 – New Kids on the Block

Adrien Brody, Thandie Newton, Monica Potter, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Stiles, Leelee Sobieski, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Polley, Norman Reedus, Anna Friel, Omar Epps, Kate Hudson, Vinessa Shaw, and Barry Pepper.

Reese Witherspoon certainly was the head of this class. How hilarious is it that Monica Potter gets the coveted left side and poor Kate Hudson is shafted to the last foldout.

2000 – Splendor in the Grass

Penélope Cruz, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Marley Shelton, Chris Klein, Selma Blair, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and Sarah Wynter.

Another one of my favorites. Paul Walker looks so hot. That boy is my original Man Crush.

2001 – Master Class

Nicole Kidman, Catherine Deneuve, Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Vanessa Redgrave, Chloë Sevigny, Sophia Loren, and Penélope Cruz.

Absolutely GORGEOUS. Master class indeed. All these women are amazing.

2002 – Rhapsody in Blue

Kirsten Dunst, Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Connelly, Rachel Weisz, Brittany Murphy, Selma Blair, Rosario Dawson, Christina Applegate, and Naomi Watts.

Gap ad or Neutrogena? Oh, Brittany Murphy. RIP.

2003 – Alpha List

Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Ewan McGregor, and Matt Damon.

Vanity Fair really needs to do another all-male cover. Another great cover by the magazine.

2004 – Send in the Gowns

Julianne Moore, Jennifer Connelly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Aniston, Kirsten Dunst, Diane Lane, Lucy Liu, Hilary Swank, Alison Lohman, Scarlett Johansson, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Great theme. All the dresses look fantastic. Another great group assembled for the annual cover.

2005 – Not So Desperate Housewives

Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Claire Danes, Scarlett Johansson, Rosario Dawson, Ziyi Zhang, Kerry Washington, Kate Bosworth, and Sienna Miller.

Uma, Cate and Kate on the cover. The Holy Trinity of actresses of their generation.

2006 – Ford’s Foundation

Scarlett Johansson, Tom Ford, Keira Knightley.

This one caused a lot of controversy. Scarlett stepped in last minute fill-in for Rachel McAdams who didn’t want to pose nude.

2007 – Men In Black

Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Chris Rock, and Jack Black.

Penguins. LOL. The weakest of the covers in my opinion.

2008 – Fresh Faces

Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Alice Braga, Ellen Page, Zoë Saldana, Elizabeth Banks, Ginnifer Goodwin, and America Ferrera.

Love the vintage feel of this spread.

2009 – (No Issue)

Vanity Fair opted to feature President Obama instead of doing a Hollywood Issue

2010 – New Hollywood “It Girls”

Carey Mulligan, Kristen Stewart, Abbie Cornish, Mia Wasikowska, Amanda Seyfried, Rebecca Hall, Emma Stone, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anna Kendrick.

This year caused an uproar too for being too “white”.

2011

Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, James Franco, Jennifer Lawrence, Anthony Mackie, Olivia Wilde, Jesse Eisenberg, Mila Kunis, Robert Duvall, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, Garrett Hedlund and Noomi Rapace.

Overall a great picture, but where in the world is Ryan Gosling or Michelle Williams?!?!? To check out a larger version of the cover, click here.

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Check out some behind-the-scenes footage below.