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Notable Mugs: The Complete Series

What’s in a face? We invited ten writers to take part in a statuette-free celebration of what draws us to the people we can’t stop watching.

Notable Mugs: Gabourey Sidibe

“What I’ve always admired is the emotive depth of Sidibe’s gaze. Disbelief and insouciance, terror and DGAF—so much is felt, and said, in a flash.”

Notable Mugs: Anjelica Huston

“Anjelica Huston holds a gun and looks at the camera dead-on and her stare seems more potent than the weapon. She’s the girl you follow out of the party because the action is going wherever she does.”

Notable Mugs: Joaquin Phoenix

“That scar is a reminder that he’s just a guy and not, say, a bored show husky I also want to have sex with.”

Notable Mugs: Tracee Ellis Ross

“What one sees in Ross’s eyes is unrelenting laughter, the most incendiary form of nonviolent protest to which a face can aspire.”

Notable Mugs: Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan

“As in the early Indian novel Anandamath, in which patriotic warriors pay obeisance to India cast as both map and mother, Aish was both synecdoche and sex symbol, metaphor and mater.”

Notable Mugs: Michael K. Williams

“The slash defines as much as it obscures.”

Notable Mugs: Marisa Tomei

“The way she inches towards enormity without overreaching, the crisp appeal of her comic timing, and her sparring temper that dodges any Sandra Bullock-type sweetheart likeness.”