In a highly unusual move, Franco’s portrait was digitally erased from the magazine’s elaborate, Annie Leibovitz-shot cover at the last moment. The Disaster Artist director and star—who had already sat for a photoshoot and interview, according to the Hollywood Reporter—was removed from the prestigious “Hollywood Portfolio” after allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women surfaced following his Golden Globes win. Franco has denied the allegations, telling Stephen Colbert that they are inaccurate, while voicing his support for the movement as a whole.
Whether you believe Franco or the women who have come out against him, Franco’s presence would have been an awkward inclusion in a #MeToo-focused Hollywood Issue. “The films and TV shows represented by the actors in this year’s Hollywood Portfolio …took the #MeToo movement in stride, offering strong women in leading roles, as well as strong men supporting them,” reads the accompanying article. (Though why not an all-female cover? The Hollywood Portfolio has been all ladies for two years running now, with 2016’s all-black look now seeming especially ahead of its time).
The final cover features Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, Michael B. Jordan, Zendaya, Jessica Chastain, Claire Foy, Michael Shannon, Harrison Ford, Gal Gadot, Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, and Robert De Niro. Twitter had a field day on Thursday over what appeared to be Witherspoon’s third leg and, in another photo from the shoot, Winfrey’s third hand (including Witherspoon and Winfrey themselves), though only one is apparently an editing error. (The “third leg” is just the inside of her dress.)
It’s not clear where Franco was originally located amongst the group—was the outgoing editor brought in at the last minute to take Franco’s place? The 2018 Hollywood Portfolio—“12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year”—contains a bio for each of the 11 actors, and only a subhead for Carter. Franco’s critically acclaimed film The Disaster Artist was largely ignored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, picking up only one Oscar nomination for Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s adapted screenplay.