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Does Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue Have a Race Problem — Again?

We have good news and bad news about Vanity Fair‘s 2011 Hollywood Issue. First, the positive: Unlike last year’s wildly controversial model, the new cover actually includes a more diverse group of actors. (Also, for some reason, VF decided to go with a co-ed bunch this time around.) It’s great to see Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker star who has a slew of movies lined up this year, get some recognition. And we can never, ever get enough of Rashida Jones. We’re also pretty thrilled the magazine dropped its “Young Hollywood” focus and stuck the legendary Robert Duvall in the mix, even if he does have to tend bar.

But there are still a few things we find unsettling about the cover. Read all about them — and see how last year’s compares to this year’s — after the jump.

2010:

2011 (click on the image to see a larger version):

For one thing, the before-the-fold image readers will see on the newsstand remains as white as can be: Anne Hathaway, flanked by Perennial Dreamboat Jake Gyllenhaal, Sexiest Man Alive Ryan Reynolds, and her Oscars co-host, Weirdest A-Lister of All Time James Franco.

As for the quirkier folks (hi, Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield), the indie stars (hey there, Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the barely dressed ladies (Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis), the elderly (Duvall), the foreign (yes, that is on the far right Noomi Rapace), and the non-white (Mackie and Jones)? You’ve got to open up the magazine — which you’ve probably already purchased, by then — to see them.

Perhaps this all happened by chance (although we’re guessing VF‘s biggest cover of the year sees its share of pre-publication scrutiny). And it still represents a significant improvement over 2010’s depressingly homogeneous version. But next year, in the spirit of progress, we’d love to see a Hollywood Issue that dares to spotlight even a single non-mainstream, non-white, non-young, or not conventionally super-hot actor before the fold.

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