Best Performances

The actors who killed it this year get real.

__Amy Adams__ in *American Hustle* and *Her*  
 “I learned to like auditions. I didn’t get most o...
Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

“I was at the Oscars, waiting to hear if my name was called, and I kept thinking, Cakewalk, cakewalk, cakewalk. I thought, Why is ‘cakewalk’ stuck in my head? And then, as I started to walk up the stairs and the fabric from my dress tucked under my feet, I realized my stylist had told me, ‘Kick, walk, kick, walk.’ You are supposed to kick the dress out while you walk, and I totally forgot because I was thinking about cake! And that’s why I fell.”


Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club and Mud

“I wanted to shake up my relationship with my career. I didn’t want to do romantic comedies or action adventures anymore, so when those projects came in, I said no. For about eight months, I kept saying no, no, no—and then there was nothing being offered to say no to. That was scary, but I was looking to be scared. Finally, the target drew the arrow: I started getting calls to play characters. And here we are.”

Dolce & Gabbana jacket, shirt, and pants; Bruno Magli shoes.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave

“When I got the role in 12 Years a Slave, I called my father and said, ‘Daddy, I got a part in a movie! Do you know Brad Pitt?’ And he said, ‘I’ve heard of him, but I don’t know him personally.’ I said, ‘Well—he’s producing this movie, and he’s really big in Hollywood.’ My father paused and then said, ‘So you have a job! Good. Congratulations! And good night!’ That call put everything in perspective.

Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane dress; Ana Khouri necklace.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Will Ferrell in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

“We shot a musical number for Anchorman 2 called ‘It’s a Great Big World.’ It’s about Ron Burgundy and the news team walking into a 24-hour station and seeing all the television monitors. He dances and stumbles onto all these people in the office. Someone says, ‘I’m gay,’ and Ron sings, ‘If I were gay for a day, there’s nothing I wouldn’t say.’ It wasn’t one of our funnier things. It was cut from the film.”

Howler Brothers jacket; 7 For All Mankind T-shirt; Leisure Society by Shane Baum shorts.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Poppy Kain

Lea Seydoux in Blue Is the Warmest Color

“I’m a huge fan of Woody Allen. He is my god. When he cast me in Midnight in Paris, he was already shooting the film. He saw a picture of me and called me up and asked how long my hair was. I told him, ‘It’s around my shoulders.’ He said, ‘Okay, cool, see you tomorrow on set.’ I hadn’t read the script, and I hadn’t read for him, but I said, ‘Of course.’ When God calls, you answer.”

John Galliano dress.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Casey Affleck in Out of the Furnace

“I sobbed and sobbed when I saw The Elephant Man. My brother and I watched it on a little black and white TV set in my father’s apartment. I’m sure I also saw, you know, The Goonies as a child, but The Elephant Man haunted me.”

Calvin Klein Underwear T-shirt; Gap pants.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

“I played Stringer Bell, a drug dealer, on The Wire, and the power of that part was amazing. Real drug dealers and thugs would think I was truly a gangster. They gave me a lot of respect— they’d hand me cocaine as a kind of salute. At times I had to remind myself that I was just an actor.”

Rag & Bone shirt; Cartier watch.

Stylist: Simon Robins Photographer: Juergen Teller

Brie Larson in Short Term 12

“The first job I booked was a skit, a fake Barbie commercial for the Jay Leno show called Malibu Mudslide Barbie. I was 8, and I looked perfectly American-cute, but I had an evil streak. In the sketch, I’m playing with the Barbies and a bucket of mud is poured on top of them. I was so excited: I had lines, I had a dressing room with my name on it, and I was being talked to like an actor. I thought I was on my way to stardom.”

Balmain top.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

James Franco in Spring Breakers

“I had cornrows in Spring Breakers, which helped me get into character. They were so itchy. Once you have that hairstyle, you’re suddenly in a weird club. People come up to you and talk about cornrows. Oftentimes, those other cornrow people would have guns. I never broke character—I needed to feel like that self-invented gangster at all times. To me, he is an example of the scary things that can happen when you get everything you want.”

Gucci jacket and jeans; Guess T-shirt.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Jodie Barnes

Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks

“I am not quite pro-Disneyland. I first went there as a teenager, and it was a confusing place for a girl from England: Something about the merging of dark, ancient Europe and 1950s America was very strange. I remember my father saying, ‘Why do they call them “restrooms” at Disneyland? I don’t want to have a rest.’ ”

Dolce & Gabbana slip.


Amy Adams in American Hustle and Her

“I learned to like auditions. I didn’t get most of the jobs, so I viewed auditions as my only opportunity to act. I was invested: I would dress the part. When I tried out for Catch Me If You Can, my character had braces, and I wore teeth-whitening trays to the audition—I wanted the sensation of something awkward being in my mouth, of sounding lispy. Amazingly, I got the part.”

Blumarine gown; Van Cleef & Arpels earrings and bracelet.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station

“I was on All My Children at 17, and I had to do my first ever sex scene. I like to make things real, and it was one of those moments. He [pointing at his crotch] doesn’t know there’s a script, so I said to the actress, ‘I apologize if he moves, and I apologize if he doesn’t.’ Everything worked out cool: It’s not a sex tape.”

Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci vest.


Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies and Her

“When I was around 5, people started saying, not necessarily in a positive way, ‘Uh oh—I think we have an actress on our hands!’ Now I understand that they thought I was overly theatrical, but at the time, I said, ‘Really? Why, thank you. I will become a child star!’ Sadly, my parents would not let me get an agent. They flat out refused, which I thought was abusive.”

Roberto Cavalli gown; Harry Winston bracelet; Manolo Blahnik sandals.

Stylist: Simon Robins Photographer: Juergen Teller

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon

“My professional crush is on Orson Welles. The first thing he did that rocked the planet was The War of the Worlds, a fake radio broadcast where he convinced Americans that they were being invaded by Martians. And then he made Citizen Kane. So, fuck it— I’m just going to aim high.”

Dior Homme shirt; Dolce & Gabbana tie; Levi’s jeans.

Stylist: Poppy Kain Photographer: Juergen Teller

Chris Hemsworth in Rush and Thor: The Dark World

“I auditioned for Thor, and I didn’t get called back. I was intimidated by the director, Kenneth Branagh—to me, he is Shakespeare. My brother, Liam, was luckier. He was one of the final five guys up for the part, but none of them were quite right. My manager said, ‘If you liked Liam, maybe you’ll also like his older brother.’ This time, I was pissed off. I didn’t care about Shakespeare anymore; swagger got me the part.”

Dolce & Gabbana jacket; AllSaints T-shirt.

Stylist: Poppy Kain Photographer: Juergen Teller

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine and The Monuments Men

“For a lot of women, clothes don’t reflect who they are—but who they want to be. The wardrobe of my character in Blue Jasmine is the last vestige of her former life as a wealthy lady. She loses everything when her husband’s shady business is exposed, and I spent a lot of time thinking about which clothes she would hide from the Feds. I knew she would keep her Chanel jacket. It might be somewhat frayed, but she needed to use it as a mask.”

Ralph Lauren Collection dress.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Michael Shannon in The Iceman and Man of Steel

“I kind of fell into acting in high school. I did it because I really enjoyed taking a break from being myself. When I was young, they always gave me fatherly parts. There were other tall dudes, but they said, ‘You could be the old guy.’ I guess it’s because I’m naturally crotchety.”

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave

“Steve McQueen called me up one day and said, ‘I want you to do this thing.’ It was 12 Years a Slave. He couldn’t believe that I didn’t immediately say yes, that there was any conversation to be had. But it wasn’t an easy yes. I needed to read the book. And while I was reading, I slipped down the rabbit hole. It took me a while to get out. I finished the book in floods of tears. Only then did I say yes.”

Prada tuxedo; Thomas Pink shirt; Alexander Olch tie; Cartier.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Julie Delpy in Before Midnight

In Before Midnight, I show my breasts. I decided, Okay, it has to be like I’m alone in the room with my boyfriend. I blocked out the fact that I was topless, and I worked all day on the set with my breasts showing. I never put on a robe, even between takes.”

Vivienne Westwood Gold Label dress.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Mickey Sumner in Frances Ha

“The first movie I saw in a theater was Raiders of the Lost Ark. My dad picked us all up from school and took us. It was also the first time I was allowed to drink Coca-Cola. The movie terrified me: Everyone burned. But Harrison Ford was just so gorgeous. That and the Coca-Cola made up for my terror.”

Miu Miu dress; Prada bracelet; Manolo Blahnik sandals.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Poppy Kain

Penelope Cruz in Twice Born

“I have made five films with Pedro Almodóvar, and in four of those movies, I am pregnant and have a baby. Now that I’m a mother, I would play those delivery scenes differently. Before, I would scream very loud during the birth. Now that I’ve actually had children, I would show more pain and scream less. It sounds backwards and may be less dramatic, but more pain, smaller screaming is the reality.”

Emporio Armani dress; Chopard earrings and necklace.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Bruce Dern in Nebraska

“My parents did not approve of my career. My mother said, ‘You might think you’re doing entertaining films, but I can’t take your grandfather to The Trip. He doesn’t even know what LSD is, and that’s what the movie is about. And why, oh, why would you be on a motorcycle in nine consecutive films? Why can’t you be like Henry Fonda?’ And, full circle: The director Alexander Payne’s first choice for my character in Nebraska was Henry Fonda. He wasn’t here, so I lucked out.”

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

“I was in character throughout the shooting of Dallas Buyers Club, and the world would react to me as a man dressed as a woman. One day, on a break, I walked through Whole Foods. I got three distinct looks: Who is that?, What is that?, and I don’t know what that is, but I don’t like it.”

Burberry Brit coat; T by Alexander Wang T-shirt.


Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha

“When I was 12, I realized that I would never be a professional dancer. In ballet, if your body is not right, it becomes self-flagellation, which is, I guess, its own pleasure, but that wasn’t enough for me. Before I quit, I played Clara in The Nutcracker with the Sacramento Ballet, which was a very big deal. My teacher said to me, ‘You know, they only gave you the part because of your personality.’ For the rest of my life, that tape has been in my head: I feel like everything I’ve achieved was because of my personality, rather than my ability.”

Valentino dress; Miu Miu shoes.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street

Goodfellas is the reason I make movies, and when I heard that there was a part in a [Martin] Scorsese movie that I would be great for, I said I would die to do it. I flew to New York to read for him. They took me into the audition room, and the air conditioner was busted and it was about 100 degrees. I started pouring sweat. I was literally dripping, but I couldn’t decide whether to be über polite and say nothing or complain. I finally told Scorsese that it was too hot to concentrate, and he let me read the scenes in his refrigerated office. I was like, All right, no turning back. Afterward, I didn’t care whether or not I got the role. I walked all the way home from uptown to downtown thinking, That was the greatest thing ever.”

Calvin Klein Collection suit; Prada shirt; Burberry London tie; Alexander Olch pocket square; Tom Ford cummerbund; Patek Philippe watch; Common Projects shoes.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Dane Dehaan in Kill Your Darlings

“When I auditioned for Lucien Carr in Kill Your Darlings, I felt it would be helpful if I dressed the part. I think it’s useful to have the air of the character about you—I try to fool the director into thinking that’s who I am. For Lucien, I was preppy and snarky. At the end of my audition, the director asked, ‘What are you doing in February?’ I looked at him and said, ‘You tell me’—that was very Lucien Carr. The director later told me that my response was one of the main reasons he cast me.”

Marc Jacobs cardigan; A.P.C. shirt; Rag & Bone jeans; Bottega Veneta bracelet.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Poppy Kain

Scarlett Johansson in Her

“My character, Samantha, doesn’t have a body. She’s just a voice. And yet the vocal work was extremely intimate. I spent all of my hours in a little sound booth, and when I spoke the sex scenes, the windows definitely fogged up. Spike [Jonze, the director] knocked on the door and asked, ‘Whoa—are you okay?’ I said, ‘I just want to throw a little heat into this life.’ ”

Vivienne Westwood Couture dress.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Poppy Kain

Ben Foster in Kill Your Darlings, Lone Survivor, and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

“I like being around soldiers. I like people—policemen, enlisted men—who have a warrior ethos. Forget the politics; these men are noble. By playing soldiers, I’m proud to say, I’ve become a good shot. Making a movie is not like war. No one’s claiming it’s war, but when you take out a target at 300 yards, it feels pretty damn good. It’s like a drug. Having said that, I wish somebody would cast me in a romantic comedy.”

Vivienne Westwood Man blazer and pants; Dolce & Gabbana shirt; Richard James tie; Louis Vuitton shoes.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now

“When I saw Titanic, I wasn’t allowed to look when Kate Winslet took her robe off and posed naked for Leonardo DiCaprio. My parents were in the room, and they made me turn my face so that I didn’t see her breasts. We had French doors to our backyard, and I could see the scene reflected in the glass. I remember thinking, Oh, my God—one day I’m going to have those, and it’s so exciting.”

Vince T-shirt.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Amanda Seyfried in Lovelace

Deep Throat is a disgusting film. It’s not artistic, even though it was the first feature-length porn movie to be released in theaters. It does have a plot, which is funny. But the long scenes of people having sex were not interesting to me. I watched 20 minutes, and that was enough.”

Dior dress.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Edward Enninful

Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ The Butler

“My first crush at the movies was on Robert Duvall in The Godfather. He’s really the unsung hero of the film, the stabilizer of the family. He keeps everybody going, and he knows all the secrets, but he has his own sense of honor and dignity. I love that. I loved him.”

Azzedine Alaïa custom bodysuit, skirt, and belt; David Yurman bracelet; Verdura ring.

Photographer: Juergen Teller Stylist: Simon Robins

Jake Gylienhaal in Prisoners

“The first movie I remember seeing was Gigi. My mother and sister sort of forced me to watch it when I was 4 or 5. I remember Gigi getting drunk and being unclear about why her behavior was suddenly so erratic. I remember thinking, Why is this person acting so strangely? As for her being a prostitute, that I got immediately.”

True Religion T-shirt.