Ode to the World’s Most Beautiful Woman

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The magazine does not officially hit the stands until tomorrow, but the announcement came yesterday that Gwyneth Paltrow has been named the 2013 “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” by People Magazine. She claims the top spot over the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry and Zooey Deschanel. My reaction to this news? Hooray! The woman is unarguably gorgeous and can do no wrong in my eyes. In her 40 years on this planet she has accomplished so much and with such poise, which is more than I can say for many other Hollywood bombshells who have simply relied on their good looks to fall back on over the years. She is wife to rock star Chris Martin, mother to Apple (I like to think she and Chris had a little fun there with the similarity to a certain cocktail) and Moses, Oscar winner, style icon, cookbook author, ex-girlfriend to Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck, daughter to Blythe Danner, creator of the GOOP website, bathing suit designer (I know it was controversial, but sue me if I like the idea of matching mother daughter bikinis) and, last but not least, a talented actress who has remained top of mind for over two decades for making clever film choices that cover a multitude of genres. To honor Ms. Paltrow on the heels of her People Magazine cover story, here is a snap shot of what I consider her best work.

I love, Love, LOVE the movie Shakespeare in Love and, as evidenced by its Oscar win in 1999 for Best Picture, I’m not the only one. I’m a big Shakespeare fan and anytime a movie is successful at bringing the complex language and gut wrenching story-telling to the masses, I am going to be a supporter. For her portrayal of Viola, Gwyneth walked away with the Oscar, the Golden Globe and two Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, and her character has been cemented in my mind in many different, unexpected ways. When The New York Times crossword puzzle offers the clue “shortly, to Shakespeare” I always think of Viola speaking the word “anon” to her good nurse on the balcony. When I go to brush my teeth at night, I think of the wooden toothbrush Viola was seen using that, in all honesty, probably didn’t do a very good job. Though many will say this movie never should have won over its Oscar competitor in 1999, Saving Private Ryan, I can’t deny it is one of my favorites, mainly because Gwyneth was so charming, believable and beautiful to watch.

I’m putting the Iron Man/Avengers franchise on this list of favorite Gwyneth movies because a) I really enjoy these films, the characters and the special effects and b) I applaud her for signing on to a big movie franchise simply because a little bit of work (she plays Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s assistant and love interest but with a minimal role) still pays the big bucks and makes it possible to spend time with family and pursue her other interests. Obviously, I don’t really know the details behind why she chose/was chosen for this role, but I like to think freedom to be with family was a consideration. Besides, she got to work with 2013 PCA winner for Favorite Movie Actor Robert Downey Jr., and that is always a plus. The banter and sexual chemistry between these two, especially in the first Iron Man film, is delightful and brings to the screen the constant dilemma for any girl who has ever loved the bad boy – to love him or leave him? I was happy to see her promotion to CEO in the second movie, albeit a little unbelievable, and again, simply enjoyed watching her strut across the screen in those form fitting pencil skirts. What can I say? The woman has got the right stuff.

Though she doesn’t exactly have a starring role in the movie Seven, I list it here as it is the movie that really put her, or at least her head, on the map. Yes, she debuted in the 1991 film Shout with John Travolta and received a small role in the 1991 film Hook thanks to a friendship with Steven Spielberg, but it was in 1995 that her then fiance Brad Pitt gave her career a big boost by choosing her to play his wife in the sadistic cop drama. Now, I’m not a devoted sadistic cop drama fan, but this movie I just really like. It’s a top-notch, suspense-filled, action-packed, star-studded (including 2012 PCA Favorite Movie Icon winner, Morgan Freeman) film that features Gwyneth as the lonely, innocent, pregnant wife of a madman obsessed cop. The death of her character is a poignant part of the film, but the movie purposefully doesn’t show it, and I am always left to wonder about how her demise came to be. Fan of the movie or not, you have probably heard Brad Pitt’s famous quote: “What’s in the box?!” And the unfortunate answer is: the world’s most beautiful woman’s head.

Those are the films I care to expand upon but her impressive catalogue has much, much more to offer. The girl can do comedy, as evidenced by roles in Shallow Hal alongside Jack Black and more impressively in The Royal Tenenbaums, a dark comedy with an all-star cast. And, she can perform with the best of them, as she did alongside Anthony Hopkins in the little seen but brilliant Proof. We hated her for cheating on Matt Damon in Contagion, we rooted for her to find love in Emma and we absolutely loved her singing in Country Strong. Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t referenced her vocal talents in this blog yet. Duets with Huey Lewis, live performances with Cee Lo Green, HELLO!? See? She is a quintuple threat that, as evidenced by her recent accolade in People Magazine, keeps getting better with age.

Which of these movies featuring People Magazine’s newly anointed “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” Gwyneth Paltrow is your favorite?

Iron Man
Shakespeare in Love

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