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Stars Who Look Fab in High Def

March 24, 2011

As high definition becomes as prevalent as chicken pox in a kindergarten class. the prognostications spelling doom for certain celebrities quieted and the the shock of seeing every staple, stitch and lace front glue trail dissipates, it’s finally time to start dishing which folks are making the format worth the hype. This is my personal list and not some decree from on high. As with any post, feel free to discuss, challenge or flame my choices.

1. Queen Latifah Old school definition tended to privilege those whose faces and bodies could be easily manipulated to appear as “perfect” as producers of the consumables defined such things. Whereas high definition, tends to present folks as they “really” are. In the case of the Queen, whose gorgeous skin and stunning smile tended to be powdered away in order to hide the tiny scar on her forehead, the unforgivingness of the format means her natural beauty shines through and no more ashy, blotchy make up jobs. Watch Chicago for a good example of her radiance.

2. Jeff Goldblum Goldblum was always good looking, but unfortunately, before the advent of high definition, this was only truly apparent if you were fortunate enough to run into him in West Hollywood! Now, it’s increasingly clear why there’s so much love for this actor whose goofy features are only given their due in this format. Examples: Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

3. Dame Judi Dench Another great thing about high def format is how it seems to love faces without regard to age and privileges those who have allowed time to take their faces on a more natural journey. This isn’t to suggest I have any particular issue with cosmetic surgery; I don’t. But I do think it’s great the format lends credence to the idea that mature faces with delicate features can and do look absolutely stunning with nothing more than a sassy pixie cut and some mascara. See also: Dianne Wiest. PS: Dench’s Bond costar doesn’t look too shabby in high def either!

4. Brad Pitt Frankly, the staggering amounts of nitpicking Brad Pitt’s acne scars receive can only be attributed to hateration. He’s human; sometimes humans get acne! Sometimes that acne never fully heals itself and sometimes it leaves scars. Nevertheless, of all the films Brad Pitt has done, I found him most handsome in Babel, but then hey, I thought Clooney was at his foxiest in Syriana! For the record, they did add some “wrinkles” to Pitt and color his hair gray, but it also seems they didn’t try to cover any “imperfections” that already existed either. Also, picking on a celeb’s acne scars just tells me there’s nothing else to complain about, which I don’t know, I can think of any number of things more annoying about Pitt (who I love) than some pock marks. Like, um, the fact he kinda, sorta plays the same character in every movie. Just sayin’. (except 12 Monkeys)

5. Ken Wantanabe Now if you want to throw some shade, Ken’s your man. There is not a high definition capable camera on this planet that doesn’t love this dude’s face. So much so it became rather distracting (in a good way) in Inception. The man doesn’t age. The camera holds onto every subtle facial movement and simply cannot turn even one of his faintest smiles loose.

Honorable Mentions: Denzel! Halle! Kevin Spacey, Lucy Liu, Regina King, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, Joan Chen, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Jean Reno, Dustin Hoffman, Mandy Patinkin, Hugh Grant, Will Smith, Pierce Brosnan, James Gandolfini, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angela Bassett, Bill Clinton, Diahann Caroll, James Pickens Jr., Gillian Anderson, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Natalie Portman, Vera Farmiga, Matt Damon, Steve Martin, Jesse L. Martin, The Brolins, Ian McShane!!!! The cast of the Star Trek reboot, particularly Quinto and Urban.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011 11:44 am

    I love this list! Queen Latifah is gorgeous, especially in Chicago with that slammin’ sequiny costume. And yes Dame Judi Dench looks awesome with that pixie cut! Thank goodness for hi-def. Although I do feel bad for newscasters who never had to be quite as image-conscious before.

  2. March 24, 2011 12:14 pm

    When hi-def first started happening, I remember hearing fears that a lot of actors would be out of work because of their imperfections, particularly when it comes to age. But I think the opposite is happening, older actors and those with “interesting” features seem to play well in hi-def.

    To your list I’d add the casts of Leverage (especially Timothy Hutton and Gina Bellman) and Mad Men, pretty much all of whom seem to look good in hi-def.

    click image for full size

  3. evmaroon permalink
    March 24, 2011 12:44 pm

    Totally agreed about Brad Pitt in Babel! Nicely done! And I was going to throw Natalie Portman in there, but you got to her already!

    I think Glenn Close looks terrific in HD.

  4. March 24, 2011 12:48 pm

    I’ve watched some Bollywood videos on youtube in high def and wow. These movies are made for high def, even the ones from before we ever heard of it. But that’s a color saturation issue… (Chopra/Johar “candyfloss” FTW!)

    I recently saw Guzaarish in the theatre (the closest I usually come to hi-def) – it stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Those two are made for high def, I mean GUH. I think one of their movies is available on blu-ray, pardon me while I faint.

    High def continues to amaze me, especially when I see it in youtube videos – I still remember watching and waiting for them to load while using dial-up! It’s a bit surreal…

    On TV, I think Stephen Colbert and Ned Flanders look good in high def.

  5. March 24, 2011 1:03 pm

    I’ve watched some Bollywood videos on youtube in high def and wow. These movies are made for high def, even the ones from before we ever heard of it. But that’s a color saturation issue… (Chopra/Johar “candyfloss” FTW!)

    Agreed. I’m actually hoping Dileep Rao will get larger roles in Hollywood films because he looks so damn fine in high def. He has the most adorable face and it was captured so well in Inception.

  6. Lani permalink
    March 24, 2011 6:56 pm

    Love this list! Especially Queen Latifa. She is so gorgeous she practically shines. Her scenes in Chicago are what I remember most vividly and she absolutely stole that show. And here here for Ken Watanabe, actually how good he looked in Inception kinda highlighted how bad DiCaprio looked (to me, at least) by comparison.

  7. March 24, 2011 9:45 pm

    I was petsitting in a house with HD cable and super high end TV that made everything seem like it was a soundstage and I didn’t like it at all for all things, like Mad Men where the art direction is 85% of why I watch, but it was fascinating to play this game and see who looks great on HD and who doesn’t. Halle was the queen, in every commercial and every movie airing, she looked flawless. I was surprised at how great the cast of Hot In Cleveland looked, and Jillamina pointed out it’s because they all have sitcom money – enough to get good maintenance work done if they desire, but always remaining aware of how to look good on TV cameras, etc. and not going too far.

  8. March 24, 2011 9:54 pm

    @raymondj you raise a great point with regard to television actors. For one thing, the continuous nature of tv makes extreme physical changes practically verboten. Like how everyone went ape when Felicity cut her hair (personally I thought it was mad cute). I was noticing how nice Alex Trebek looks (and has always looked). Also I’d add 90% of the folks on Law & Order, as well as Candace Bergen. The other thing high def does is highlight the cheesiness of most sitcom sets, with their paper walls and drawn on bookshelf contents.

  9. unscrambled permalink
    March 25, 2011 6:17 am

    1. Gratuitous image of Daniel Craig:

    2. I agree with your whole list–I think the Brad Pitt thing is true because as he ages, he’s starting to look like a man, which (least for me) is ten hundred times hotter than looking like a boy.

  10. March 25, 2011 11:25 am

    @unscrambled: Oh sweet, boneless Xena! That pic was glorious. Also, I concur about Pitt. In the beginning he didn’t do much for me. It wasn’t until Se7en did I start paying attention to him.

  11. Roisin permalink
    April 2, 2011 9:46 am

    Helen Mirren! Helen Mirren! Helen Mirren!

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