For its 26th annual Hollywood Issue, Variety leaned into the “destination: Hollywood” theme tracking the journey of 23 of the year’s biggest stars.
While the full spread included some newcomers that Hollywood encourages you to keep an eye on like Awkwafina, Lili Reinhart, and Florence Pugh, the cover was reserved for Hollywood’s biggest, brightest, and most established.
Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Murphy, and Renée Zellweger graced the cover posing on motorcycles, a nod to the publication’s overall theme of “the journey is the destination.”
The full spread image finds all the “extraordinary actors” posing on a highway at sunset.
However, as the cover story notes, Lopez, Murphy, and Zellweger all experienced the highs and lows of their careers adding that they’d all agree there hasn’t “been a straight line to 2020.”
The piece mentions how both Murphy and Zellweger had to step away from acting for their own happiness.
“About eight years ago, I said it’s time to take a break and not really be pushing at movies,” Murphy recalls in the piece.
“Getting it right with the director and the writers and having everything work together…that takes a lot of effort, and it’s strenuous. I had gotten to the point where I was just so burned out on the process of making a movie that if I was a little boy, I would have started crying,” he added.
Zellweger, for her part, refused to step back on a film set until “I recognized myself again, when I had a life instead of just a profession. When I had friends who I saw on a regular basis.”
Murphy says he learned a powerful lesson from fellow late celebrities whose life as artists was all-consuming: "Show business can’t be the center. That’s the recipe for an early exit."
The piece also mentions that all three actors have scored recognition and award show nominations for playing “real people who themselves are performers, who understand the liberation of transforming oneself into someone else and of inhabiting an invented persona.”
JLO’s portrayal of Hustlers’ Ramona earned her Screen Actors Guild, Critics' Choice and Golden Globe nominations, but she was snubbed of an Oscar nomination.
Similarly, Murphy colorfully roars in his portrayal of real-life movie legend Rudy Ray Moore in “Dolemite Is My Name,” and yet was not nominated in the Oscar’s best actor nomination. He lost out the Golden Globe win to “Rocketman” star Taron Egerton. Murphy was honored at the Critics’ Choice Awards with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Zellweger’s cemented her status as an award season favorite early on with her stunning and poised embodiment of Judy Garland in “Judy." The role scored her Best Actress wins at the Golden Globe Awards and the Annual Critics' Choice Awards along with Best Actress nomination at the upcoming Oscars.