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Most Beautiful Woman Alive!
by Summer Wood

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You will succumb!

You will succumb!
I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago discussing the intersection of People's Sexiest Man Alive with the Oscars. One of you good folk commented, in a politically correct way, that I should give equal time to the ladies. Well, I admit I was a little stumped...I did not know if People had an equivalent to the SMA edition, but apparently I was just not paying attention. Because People Magazine has a Most Beautiful Woman Alive Issue! In fact, the Most Beautiful Woman Alive Issue 2013 just came out! And the winner is....

Gwyneth Paltrow!

I'm not sure I get it either. Gwyneth is pretty and all, but the most beautiful? But there you have it.

But it gives me a great opportunity for one of my favorite things, the quiz! So here goes...

1.Paltrow is the child of theatrical parents, her father being the director Bruce Paltrow. Her mother was an actress who had her greatest success on the Broadway stage and her first and probably best remembered movie role was an historical character that she also played on stage. Who did she play?
a.Mary Todd Lincoln
b.Martha Washington
c.Martha Jefferson
d.Abigail Adams

2.One of Gwyneth's earliest film roles had her portraying a character from classic children's literature. Who was it?
a.Wendy of Peter Pan
b.Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz
c.Alice of Alice in Wonderland
d.Pippi of Pippi Longstocking

3.In the movie referenced in question 2, Gwyneth's

character is also shown as an older woman, played by a famous older actress. Who plays the character in later life?
a.Shirley McLaine
b.Blythe Danner
c.Maggie Smith
d.Helen Mirren

4.Gwyneth won an Oscar for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. In that same year, there were two women nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for playing the same real life character. Who was it?
a.Katherine Hepburn
b.Harper Lee
c.Princess Diana
d.Queen Elizabeth I

5.Gwyneth made a movie playing a famous writer and poetess, who had a tempestuous relationship with her husband, who was another poet. Who played her husband in this film?
a.Ethan Hawke
b.Daniel Craig
c.Joseph Fiennes
d.Robert Downey Jr.

6.In what movie did Gwyneth play same character living in two alternate timelines?
a.In and Out
c.Sliding Doors
d.The Hours

7.In PROOF, Gwyneth plays a math prodigy obsessed with solving a problem that had perplexed her father, a mathematics professor. What award did the play PROOF win?
a.The Obie
b.The Nobel
c.The Razzie
d.The Pulitzer

8.Should the powers of Hollywood decide to recycle two female characters in relatively recent action movies and star them in a buddy movie called SALT AND PEPPER, who would be Gwyneth's co-star?
a.Angelina Jolie
b.Sandra Bullock
c.Jennifer Lawrence
d.Scarlett Johannson

9.Gwyneth filmed two cooking shows with which celebrity chef?

b.Wolfgang Puck
c.Bobby Flay
d.Mario Batali

10. Gwyneth also started a food and lifestyle website. What is it called?
b.A Socialite's Life
c.Smitten Kitchen
d.The Pioneer Woman

Okay, so to give you time to consider your answers, here is, for you consideration, Hymn to Beauty by Charles Baudelaire:

So did you fall from Heaven or clamber up from Hell,
Beauty? One glance of yours, demonic and divine,
Jumbles joy with depravity,
anyone would compare you to wine.

Your eyes hold the twilight and the dawn;
You reek with the scent of thunderstorms at night;
Your kisses are a drug and your mouth, a syringe,
That saps the hero but makes the child, fierce.

Did you climb out of the black pit or descend from the stars?
Destiny sniffs behind you like a groveling hound;
You toss happiness and disaster like dice,
You rule everything, but answer nothing.

You trod on men's corpses, laughing as you go;
Of all your jewels, horror is not the least enticing,
And murder, one of your favorite trinkets,
Dangles at your proud belly like the promise of sex.

The dazzled moth flies to you, Candle,
Crisps, ignites and cries, "God bless this flame!"
The panting fool spreads himself on his lover
Like a dying man caressing his coffin.

Whether you come from Heaven or Hell, who cares?
Beauty, you enormous monster, terrifying and uncaring!
Who cares whether your eyes, your
Just Singing in the Rain!

Just Singing in the Rain!
smile, or your feet open a door for me
To a Paradise I love but never knew?

From Satan or from God, who cares? Angel or Succubus,
Who cares, if you make you Witch with black velvet eyes
With your music, perfume, and glamour, only Queen of my heart,
The universe less horrible and time less grinding?

Cheery guy, Charles. And here are the answers:

1. C. Blythe Danner played Martha Jefferson in the musical 1776.

2. A. A young Gwyneth played Wendy in HOOK, Spielberg's rather odd take on Peter Pan, the later years.

3. C. Maggie Smith played Wendy as an old woman, who was hanging around with the grown up Peter Pan, played by Robin Williams. It never made much sense.

4. D. In 1998, both Cate Blanchett was nominated as Elizabeth I in ELIZABETH, and Judi Dench was nominated for her supporting portrayal of the same queen in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. Judi won.

5. B. In SYLVIA, Gwyneth played Sylvia Plath and Daniel Craig was her husband Ted Hughes.

6. C.

7. D. It won the Pulitzer for Drama in 2001. It also won the Tony that same year.

8. A. Angelina Jolie played Edwina Salt in SALT and Gwyneth was Pepper Potts in the IRON MAN films. Let us all pray this mash up does not come to pass.

9. D. Gwyneth was in Spain: A Culinary Excursion with Mario. They made a second show, which also featured Mark Bittman.

10. A. GOOP it is, but no idea what it means.

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Jun 2, 2013 1:13 AM
[X] delete
As Pepper Potts she embodies beautiful and intelligent, all in one capable woman. Good column.

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A Musing in Movieland
Every other Sunday

One woman's attempt to find meaning in movies, from movies, and between movies and to figure out why movies should matter to us, all while trying to find a laugh in the whole, screwy business."

Other Columns
Other columns by Summer Wood:

American Gods (With apologies to Neil Gaiman) Pt 2

American Gods (With apologies to Neil Gaiman) Pt 1

The Jazzier Age?

Happy Easter, Doc!

The Sexiest Oscar Alive

All Columns

Summer Wood
I'm still cautiously optimistic that there really is a pattern to our lives and am striving to find mine, although I secretly suspect that life is really just about a Big, Space Baby. Which would be disappointing. And confusing. But, hey, you gotta have a sense of humor about it all, right? Philosophical stuff aside, I am an attorney, an artist and a performer and, if I could figure out a way to make the last two pay the bills, I'd dump the first one tomorrow.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Summer Wood by clicking here.

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