The latest issue of Vanity Fair features a gorgeous set of photographs taken by living-legend Annie Leibovitz that takes aim at pairs of actors and directors that happen to be responsible for the lion’s share of Academy Award nominations this year.

Boyle/Patel, Nolan/Ledger, Aronofsky/Rourke, Winslet/Mendes, Van Sant/Penn, Cruz/Allen, Howard/Hanks, Kidman/Luhrmann, Streep/Shanley, and a bonus Eastwood being badass on his own.

Incredible fusion of genius or a subtle reminder that a handful of artists garner a large amount of the most coveted award in the business? We’ll let you decide. Check out the photographs for yourself below, and check the Vanity Fair site yourself for some fascinating insight into the partnerships:

The picture of Christopher Nolan composited with Heath Ledger is, obviously, particularly haunting. Overall, the pictures are as striking as we’ve expected from Leibovitz, but this time there should be less uproar over Rourke being shirtless than there was with Miley.

I’m not a professional photographer – except in the off-season – but I have to wonder why they put Aronofsky in a tiny suit. I’m also not sure how Tom Hanks fits into the theme of the photographs except that Vanity Fair wanted to remind us that Howard and Hanks first worked together on Splash. Cute for trivia, but shouldn’t Frank Langella be sitting down with Howard in the shoot?

This is why I’m not a pro.

What do you think? Is that Tom Hanks playing Frank Langella playing Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon, and I just didn’t realize it?

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