Beauty in Hollywood: The Importance of a Pretty Face

We look at the importance of beauty in Hollywood...

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but when that beholder is the collective big wigs of Hollywood, you can bet that the beauty in question is going to be of the obvious sort.

Back in its ‘golden years’ Hollywood centred around the glitz and the glamour. Seeing Marilyn Monroe in her latest picture wasn’t nearly as exciting as seeing her at one of Sinatra’s parties, dressed in luxurious fabrics with that exuberant smile of hers. The public was foaming at the mouth to see the Hollywood stars and starlets in all their beautiful, lavish glory. And, although times have changed, for the most part attitudes haven’t.

Beauty, the skin deep kind, is still a prevalent consideration in Tinseltown. In fact, it could be considered a rule: Hollywood pictures must contain beautiful people. When the Oscars arrive, look closely at the men and women walking down the Red Carpet. We guarantee that the majority will be from an elite sub-species of humanity who were very fortunate in the genetic lottery. And if you don’t believe it, let’s consider some of the nominations for 2012’s Academy Award for Best Picture.

1. The Artist

Well this proves the point a little too easily. With its recreation of the old Hollywood glamour previously mentioned, the fact that the two leads are both slick and beautiful with no hair out of place is hardly a surprise. Nor is the fact that Peppy Miller’s rise to the top has a lot to do with her pretty face and a precisely placed beauty spot.

2. The Descendents

George Clooney: the most eligible bachelor in Hollywood with a face chiselled by the Gods. When watching The Descendents, the thought that continued to spring to mind was ‘they really are making the most of their money-maker’. The amount of close-ups on Clooney’s face was somewhat ridiculous, especially when his expression was almost identical in every one; somewhere between concern and confusion. You can’t help but wonder if the film would have attracted as many audiences without Gorgeous George.

3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

At first glance you might think this is the exception to the rule. Whilst Tom Hanks is a fantastic actor, he’s never been voted sexiest man alive. But then you look at his co-star Sandra Bullock, a woman who was considered attractive enough to play a beauty pageant contestant, and you realise the beautiful people rule still applies. In fact, this film is a good example of an additional clause to the rule: even if the actor in the lead role isn’t obviously attractive, one or more of his co-stars will be. (e.g The Social Network. Eisenberg is hardly from the pool of obvious beauty. Justin Timberlake on the other hand…)

4. Moneyball and Tree of Life

Do we need to say more than ‘Brad Pitt’? Probably not, but I will urge you to Google the real Billy Beane , who Pitt portrays in Moneyball . Let us know if you see any resemblance…

At the end of the day Hollywood has a reputation for big, successful, cash-falling-from-the-skies blockbusters and part of that achievement is down to the pretty employees who draw in the gushers and swooners. Except for the biopics and based-on-a-true-story films where beauty isn’t always the main preoccupation, it can’t be denied that Hollywood is very image conscious. Would it be accurate to say that without its beautiful actors, Hollywood wouldn’t be raking as much of it in? That without something so obviously pleasant to look at, the attraction of cinema wouldn’t be so strong? Perhaps. And perhaps that makes us all shallow, pathetic, and vein. Ugly, even.

But then, we can’t all belong to the ranks of Marilyn Monroe, can we?

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