Every year around Oscar season, the New York Times uses their amazing powers of old media and modern technology to convince a lot of very famous people to put on insane costumes, pose for elaborate photographs and videos, and put them online. This year the theme of their big spread is "Touch of Evil," and they've got the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Viola Davis, Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Jessica Chastain and more dressed up as iconic, dastardly movie characters of the past. The shorts aren't filmed exactly like the movies that inspire the characters-- Michael Shannon's Gordon Gecko is in something far more surreal than Wall Street-- but that makes it all the more fun to figure out who they're playing.

The videos aren't embeddable, so you'll have to click on the images below to find the videos at the New York Times site. It's really hard to choose a favorite among them, since a couple are elaborately shot and spooky for it, and others show off the acting talents of some of these people that you might not have even expected. Mia Wasikowska's blond ax-wielder seems a lot more intense and bold than many of the characters she's played onscreen, and Gary Oldman is practically unrecognizable as ventriloquist dummy-esque character who, admit, I don't really recognize. Then there's the steely nerves of Viola Davis, reviving Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, but with actual live ladybugs crawling all over her. Insane!

I don't know how The New York Times talks all these people into doing it, but I want to shake the hand of every single one of them. Click on any of the images below to see the full collection, and say goodbye to half an hour of your day. It's more than worth the distraction.







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