Lynn Hirschberg on the Movies: Not a Standout Year!

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“It’s likely that what you remember is the performances,” writes Lynn Hirschberg in Feb. 11 editions of The New York Times Magazine, since the movies of 2006 were “dominated by sequels, animation and the broken yellow VW bus from ‘Little Miss Sunshine.'”

This is the fourth year in a row that the Times Magazine has found a reason to salute that often-forgotten element of the movie industry–its stars!–with a series of photo-portraits of actors in the big movies of 2006.

Last year, the reason was that the actors and actresses were forgotten in Oscar season: “[The] spirit of the contest seems to take precedence over artistic achievement,” Ms. Hirschberg wrote in her introduction to this feature last year. “The New York Times Magazine has tried to eschew this notion of competition by saluting the performances that moved, surprised and thrilled us, regardless of whether they were nominated for awards.”

See some of our favorite portraits–with our own little tributes to each of the subjects–after the jump!


Pale Fire: It’s been a Cate Blanchett winter with Notes on a Scandal, Babel and The Good German.


He’s Mexcellent! Gael Garcia Bernal, one of 2006’s many critically acclaimed Mexican imports.


Make Way for Gosling: Half Nelson made Ryan 2006’s official ‘it’ indie kid.


Jennifer Hudson, this year’s Star-is-Born-y ingenue.


Cover story: Helen Mirren, shoo-in for best in Queen.


No fat suit, no problem! Eddie Murphy played it straight in Dreamgirls.


His Favorite Year: Venus brings the great Oscar-less Peter O’Toole his 8th nomination.

Lynn Hirschberg on the Movies: Not a Standout Year!