This America's Sweetheart crap is getting completely out of hand vis-a-vis Julia Roberts, who in July copped her third Cover Story crown for 2001. Apparently a breakup with Law & Order hunk Benjamin Bratt and a new movie named for her dusted all competition with twelve-and-a-half points. The runners-up, unbelievably strayed far from the J. Lo/Nicole Kidman axis that's spun magazine newsstand sales all year (to what industry observers call a dismal performance, come to think of it). Tying for second, with seven and a half points, is Josh Hartnett, rising sex-symbol and Pearl Harbor star, and missing intern Chandra Levy. Tied for third: Heartthrob past John Travolta and heartthrob present Jude Law, who rode his prostitute/Christ-figure character in A.I.-likely the last summer movie since Jaws where much of the audience rooted for the main character to drown-to newfound prominence despite its decidedly, ah, "mixed" reviews. (Cover Story crosses the street to avoid Spielberg flicks, so, sadly, we can't weigh in.) Essay question: Does Cover Story's suddenly guy-heavy tilt signify "summer doldrums"?
Cover Story is Ad Age's monthly rankings of celebrities' popularity as reflected by their appearances on the covers of more than 30 of the nation's leading publications.