The cover of the year was a cartoon by Barry Blitt showing the staff of the Bush White House sitting with the President in the Oval Office as muddy water rises around them. Determined to proceed with business as usual, their absurd denial of reality was a scathing commentary on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina's devastation. The news cover, by Mark Ulriksen, paired Dick Cheney and George Bush in a parody of Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain," with Cheney holding a smoking shotgun (a reference to his shooting accident the week before).
The best concept award also went to a Bush-bashing cover--the July 17, 2006 issue of Time, which combined a headline reading "the end of cowboy diplomacy" with a picture of two small cowboy boots peeking out from under a giant cowboy hat emblazoned with the presidential seal.
The best celebrity cover ended in a two-way tie between a Harper's Bazaar cover with Julianne Moore and a cover from Vibe showing Busta Rhymes grimacing indignantly with a piece of duct tape covering his mouth--a reference to the rapper's alleged refusal to provide information to police about the murder of his bodyguard.
The best fashion cover went to Departures, which published a style issue in September 2005 showing a female spa-goer covered in immaculate white makeup and swaddled in white towels. Her eyes are closed and the only dab of color in the entire shot comes from her bright red lips, recalling the stylized makeup of actors in Japanese kabuki theater.
Finally, the best service cover went to TimeOut New York for its Jan. 5, 2006 issue, showing a dinner table covered with the messy remains of a large, extravagant meal. The headline reads: "Need a Gym?"