Vanity Fair Admits to Pulling a Critical Jessica Chastain Article in the Thick of Oscar Season

One does not simply direct/produce/star in/sound edit a good movie, sit back in one's bean bag chair, and wait for the Academy to lob little gold statuettes into one's lap. One must actively campaign to get the very suggestible voters at the Academy to consider one's Oscar worthiness, which means that Oscar campaigners must churn out a lot of good press and keep a lid on any bad press. Nothing kills a campaign faster than if the credulous public learns that a candidate spent campaign finances on a Rocky Mountain range of blow and two palm-fanning eunuchs. Or, in Jessica Chastain's case, if the deputy editor at Vanity Fair thought her Zero Dark Thirty performance was just m'ok.

Back on January 25 when Oscar campaigns were hitting the afterburners, Bruce Handy at Vanity Fair wrote a mildly critical article about Jessica Chastain, in which he wondered why the actress seems "so excellent in the one movie and so not excellent in the other," and wrote that, although "beautiful" in the symmetrical, face-having sense, "there's something about Chastain's features that doesn't quite hold your eye." This is about as shallowly critical as Handy gets, but Vanity Fair is a big deal and bad press from Vanity Fair during Oscar season is a super big deal for an Oscar-hopeful.

Handy's article subsequently disappeared from the Vanity Fair site, leading many people to wonder if Jessica Chastain's publicity thugs had threatened to break some Vanity Fair kneecaps (I'm sure JC's pr thugs are all wonderful people), or if the glossy magazine was simply afraid of losing a little Hollywood access during awards season. On Sunday night, Deadline editor Nikki Finke finally confirmed with Vanity Fair what publicists at Sony Pictures (which distributed Zero Dark Thirty in the U.S.) and Chastain's press agents had denied: the article had been pulled, said VF spokeswoman Beth Kseniak, "because it ran counter to what a number of people at the magazine believed." Or because nobody wanted it to ruin the mood at this year's Vanity Fair Hollywood party. Take your pick. [Deadline]


Vanity Fair Admits to Pulling a Critical Jessica Chastain Article in the Thick of Oscar Season

Speaking of the Academy Awards and the general ickiness that seeps out of Hollywood when so many insecure thespians are angling for faceless statuettes, Jamie Lee Curtis wrote a very critical article about Seth MacFarlane's hosting performance. Curtis offers plenty of well-reasoned criticism, but this little quip is probably the most concise burn in the whole piece: "I knew who Seth MacFarlane was. My teenage son is a big fan." [HuffPo]


Vanity Fair Admits to Pulling a Critical Jessica Chastain Article in the Thick of Oscar Season

You've no doubt been wondering why Justin Bieber's 19th birthday was so terrible. Did somebody forget to buy the cookie cake? Did Biebs catch the balloon animal clown after it (clowns are not people) had one too many seltzers and was too wasted to make anything fancier than a dog with uneven legs? Or did the "weak ass club" that Biebs and pals were partying at, as part of its secret "scorched-earth" policy, ruin the birthday on purpose when it became clear that the Bieber entourage was about to change venues? Sounds like the beginning of a three-hour Oliver Stone movie starring Charlie Sheen as Justin Bieber. You know you'd watch it. [OMG]


Vanity Fair Admits to Pulling a Critical Jessica Chastain Article in the Thick of Oscar Season

Kylie Jenner, who is 15, is dating Jayden Smith, who is 14. Will Smith is rumored to already be preparing a marvelous wedding present for his future daughter-in-law: he bought a calf, which he will raise himself, feeding it a steady diet of honeyed grass and ambrosia and massaging its muscles until it grows into a bull worthy of skeleton king Bruce Jenner. [NYDN]


Vanity Fair Admits to Pulling a Critical Jessica Chastain Article in the Thick of Oscar Season

Inundated with requests for its files on Whitney Houston, the FBI has released its 128-page record of the late singer. Feel free to peruse the document at your leisure, but here's the abridged version: in the early 90s, some shadowy extortionist threatened to release very personal information about Houston unless she coughed up $250,000 (she did), and a creepy stalker in Vermont sent her "70 plus letters" professing his love. [E!]


  • A brave confederation of Beverly Hills lawyers and managers have banded together to fight the insidious Real Housewives Empire by advising clients not to appear on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. [TMZ]
  • Geena Davis also thinks Seth MacFarlane is a doofus. [AP]
  • Now that Adrienne Maloof has been booted from Real Housewives, though, is anyone still watching? [People]
  • Amanda Seyfried would love to be in a Broadway musical. Somewhere out there, a blonde waitress with dreams of standing in the Broadway spotlight is waiting to have her one shot at fame crushed by the iron fist of ruthless spotlight dragon Amanda Seyfried. [E!]
  • Russell Crowe and his much-younger Les Mis co-star Samantha Barks deny that they're dating because Les Mis is a complete turn-off. [E!]
  • Holly Madison has checked into the hospital and has politely told her baby that it needs to gtfo and stop leeching off of her body's resources like a tapeworm. [Us]
  • Don Pardo didn't lend his mellifluous voice to the SNL credits this weekend because he recently broke his hip. [TMZ]
  • Hilaria Thomas says that Alec Baldwin is dead-set on naming the couple's unborn baby "Massimo" so that he can grow up to be criminal mastermind in Naples. [Us]
  • Halle Berry will for sure be dusting off her platinum wig for the new X-Men movie. [Twitter]
  • Jon Hamm lent his voice to a talking toilet on noted toilet cartoon Bob's Burgers. [E!]
  • After a six-week bout of chickenpox and a head injury she no doubt suffered during a series of cage matches in Costa Rica against a mutated clan of cybernetic howler monkeys that were trying to take over the world (Barbara Walters is the hero of our age), Barbara Walters has returned to her gabbing duties on The View. [E!]
  • Anna Paquin's vampire babies are suckling...blood!!! Mwahahahahaha! [E!]
  • Honey Boo Boo may have been banned from peddling Girl Scout Cookies through Facebook, but the Milledgeville Mall in Georgia is totally cool with the diminutive reality star setting up a cookie stand in its atrium. No word on how this will affect the Great American Cookie under-escalator kiosk, but I'm guessing mass layoffs and discounted vats of chocolate chip cookie dough. [E!]
  • Adele presented her infant son with a mini-Oscar of his own, probably because the latest parenting books say it's never too early to instill a healthy sense of entitlement in your children. [CBS]
  • Bradley Cooper doesn't even want an Oscar because, unlike some people named Daniel Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper doesn't need a shiny award to feel validated. [Us]