Meet some of the voices and vision featured in The Oscar Issue.
► Frank W. Ockenfels 3
First question for Ockenfels -- who for this special Oscar issue shot the Platoon reunion as well as Sly Stallone with Rocky director John G. Avildsen -- is, "How was Charlie Sheen?" The photographer readily answers: "Charlie was amazing, professional and focused. He thought it was important that Oliver Stone be in the center." Ockenfels, who has shot THR covers featuring Brad Pitt, David Fincher, Jennifer Lawrence and Lorne Michaels, has contributed his intense photography to Rolling Stone, Esquire and Entertainment Weekly, movie posters for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Social Network and Bruno and more than 200 album covers. What sets Ockenfels' work apart is his eye for real detail: "In the picture, you'll see the knuckles on Sly's hand are flat -- he shattered them while boxing. He wasn't just an actor playing a boxer. His body bears the scars of that."
► Shirley MacLaine
MacLaine knows about the highs and lows of Oscar night: The actress has attended the ceremony at least 14 times. She was just 24 when she received her first nom for Some Came Running in 1959. Most recently, in 2009, she was onstage at the Kodak Theatre as part of a quintet of actresses who introduced that year's best actress nominees. Before leaving for England, where she is working on the third season of Downton Abbey -- playing Lady Cora's American mother, who's sure to shake things up in the Crawleys' drawing room -- MacLaine reminisced on Oscars past. Never one to pull punches, she can't abide the stylists, jewelry purveyors and designer reps who now make over stars to walk the red carpet. "We were more private," says MacLaine, 77. "I think I would have quit the business if all that were going on! I can't bear that taking of time … when you don't look any different than if you'd done it yourself, really."
► Scott Feinberg
For Academy Awards oracle Feinberg, THR's special Oscar issue is the pinnacle of his year, if not his career. "My primary contribution has been to analyze the Oscar race every Sunday since [September's] Telluride Film Festival, and it all builds up to this," he says. Since joining THR on Aug. 31, Feinberg has screened 112 films, conducted 57 interviews, moderated 14 Q&As, covered five film festivals, attended nine awards ceremonies and filed 237 posts on THR's The Race blog. This season, his favorite film is The Artist. His favorite interview? "A three-way tie between Daniel Radcliffe, Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey," he says. Feinberg was one of the first bloggers devoted to the annual race, but the 2012 ceremony will be the first he attends. "I spend half the year trying to predict every category accurately," he says, "so I don't want to be around people who take this less seriously than me." Feinberg should be in good company Feb. 26.
► Kurt Iswarienko
"I don't get too rattled in a starstruck way," says the photographer, "but Helen Mirren is such a legend." Rather than subject the Oscar winner to a static pose, he created a set Mirren could explore and introduced her to his strobe-free cinematic lighting before shooting. "She was very trusting," he says. Iswarienko, 35, became a photographer by way of the film business, where he worked as a lighting technician. He began working with film cameras 10 years ago as a step toward cinematography but was taken by the medium. Publicist Leslie Sloane gave him his break in 2007, arranging for Iswarienko to shoot Javier Bardem, and his beautifully lit portraits have since featured Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Viggo Mortensen and Julianne Moore. "I don't go into these shoots with any preconceptions," says Iswarienko, who married Shannen Doherty last year. "I just want an honest exchange."