This year, the American Society of Magazine Editors has nominated Vanity Fair for National Magazine Awards in six categories, including the big one: General Excellence. The winners will be announced on May 1, but in the meantime you can check out all of our nominated features right here.
According to the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), this category “honors the effectiveness with which writing, reporting, editing and design all come together to command readers’ attention and fulfill the magazine’s unique editorial mission.” Vanity Fair always seeks to mix glamour and intrigue with big, muscular reporting, but we had some notable successes in 2007, from Annie Leibovitz’s film noir portfolio to David Kamp’s profile of Sly Stone, to Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s essay on “The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush.” Did we mention that special issue the guy from U2 put together?
Vanity Fair’s design strives to be modern yet classic, simple yet sophisticated, minimal yet full of restrained energy. Its layout is meant to feel daring, refined, and free of pretense, always at the service of a story. Which is a long way of saying that the magazine has to look as smart and bold as the topics it covers. This was especially true in 2007. The archival images of the late fashion icon Isabella Blow, the never-before-seen photographs of Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy, the elaborately staged scenes in the film noir portfolio—these were just some of the indelible visuals that made this a year to remember.
For the 13th annual Hollywood Issue, Annie Leibovitz collaborated with Academy Award–winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter, The Black Dahlia) to produce “Killers Kill, Dead Men Die,” a visual and literary extravaganza that pays tribute to the noir films of the 40s and 50s. With a plot conceived by fashion and style director Michael Roberts and a “script” written by Nathaniel Rich and Jim Windolf, this movie-within-a-magazine stars Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Connelly, Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, and Jack Nicholson, among others.
This category “honors the stylishness and originality with which the author treats his or her subject.” In late 2004, hotshot film talent, manager, and producer Pat Dollard left a successful career in Hollywood to shoot a pro-war documentary about American soldiers in Iraq. Once a self-described “doctrinaire liberal,” Dollard was attempting to re-invent himself as the right-wing Michael Moore. Evan Wright planned to shadow Dollard as he edited his film and pitched it around town, but the story morphed into something else entirely, as Dollard began to degenerate before the writer’s eyes into a maelstrom of drugs, sex, and violence. The result is a cautionary tale about our nation’s intertwined addictions to entertainment and war.
This category “honors the enterprise, exclusive reporting and intelligent analysis that a magazine exhibits in covering an event, a situation or a problem of contemporary interest and significance.” São Paolo is a metropolis of 20 million people and the capital of Brazil’s largest and wealthiest state. In May of 2006, the city was shut down for days by a series of violent and orchestrated attacks. And then—quite suddenly—the attacks simply stopped, and life in São Paolo was allowed to return to normal. The entire episode had been a show of force coordinated by cell phone from inside São Paolo’s vast and notorious prisons. In “City of Fear,” William Langewiesche ventures deep inside the jails and slums of São Paolo to describe the emergence of the gang-led “proto-government” that runs more and more of the city with every passing day. But Langewiesche argues that São Paolo is not alone; for much of the world, he warns, São Paolo holds up a mirror to the future.
This category, ASME says, “honors the stylishness and originality with which the author treats his or her subject.” In this case, the subject is a horse: Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner who had been a favorite to win the Triple Crown until he fractured his leg in the opening seconds of the Preakness. From the adrenaline rushes of Barbaro’s early successes on the racetrack to the heart-stopping crush of his leg, from the ups and downs of his surgeries and near recoveries to the bleak reality of his last days, Buzz Bissinger captures the rhythms and intimate details of the three and a half years of Barbaro’s brief, bright life.