These influencers are the movers and shakers of Hollywood. Considered some of the most powerful men and women in entertainment, they span in occupation from actor and producer to CEO and President. They are household names and their work is respected.
Executive Producer, Screenwriter, and Author
Rhimes holds a BA from Dartmouth College in English Literature with Creative Writing. As director of Dartmouth’s Black Underground Theatre and Arts Association, her work earned her numerous awards for excellence. She received her MFA from the USC School of Cinema-Television, where she was awarded the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship. In 2015 she published a memoir, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person. In March 2016, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Grey’s Anatomy were respectively picked up for their sixth, third and thirteenth seasons, and will air during the 2016-2017 season.
Writer & Director of the Academy Award-Winning “Moonlight”
Jenkins directed, and co-wrote with Tarell Alvin McCraney, the 2016 drama Moonlight, his first feature film in eight years. The film was shot in Miami and premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2016 to vast critical acclaim and awards buzz. The film won dozens of accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture – Drama and the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards. Jenkins and McCraney also won Best Adapted Screenplay and overall, the film received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Director. In 2017, Jenkins directed the fifth episode of the Netflix original series, Dear White People.
Actor, Comedian, and Musician
Donald Glover, born in 1983, is an actor, writer, comedian and musician. Glover first came to attention for his work in the sketch group Derrick Comedy, and he is perhaps best known for his role as community college student Troy Barnes on the NBC comedy series Community. He graduated from New York University with a degree in Dramatic Writing in 2006. Glover’s television show Atlanta premiered September 6, 2016 on FX. It was nominated for and won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Glover won Best Actor in a Comedy Series on January 8, 2017.
Director & Producer
Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film. Nominated for the Academy Award and winner of a Peabody Award as well as the BAFTA for Best Documentary, Ava DuVernay’s 13th is one of the most critically-acclaimed films of 2016. In 2014, DuVernay directed the historical drama Selma, which garnered four Golden Globe nominations and two Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Her current directorial work includes the award-winning dramatic television series Queen Sugar; and the upcoming Disney feature film A Wrinkle in Time.
Lorne Michaels CM , LL.D is a Canadian-born American television producer and writer best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live and producing the various film and TV projects that spun off from it. SNL is the longest running, most Emmy-nominated and highest-rated weekly late night television program in history, entering its 43rd season this fall.
Ryan Patrick Murphy is an American screenwriter, director and producer. Murphy is best known for creating/co-creating/producing a number of successful television series, including Nip/Tuck (2003–10), Glee (2009–15), American Horror Story (2011–present), American Crime Story (2016–present), and Feud (2017–present). He is also known for directing the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love. Born in 1965, Ryan Murphy was raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. After starting out as a journalist, Murphy moved into film and television, where he’s worked as a producer, screenwriter and director.
Award-Winning Actress & Producer; Founder, Draper James
Born in Louisiana in 1976, Reese Witherspoon began seriously pursuing her acting career after first enrolling at Stanford University. Her early critical successes included roles in films such as Pleasantville and Election, but it was her portrayal of Elle Woods in the box-office hit Legally Blonde that marked a turning point in her career. Witherspoon went on to win an Academy Award in 2005 for her role in Walk the Line. Recent films include Water for Elephants, This Means War and Wild, for which she received another Oscar nomination. In 2017, she produced and stars in David E. Kelley’s HBO series, Big Little Lies.
Film Director & Screenwriter
Jenkins wrote and directed the 2003 crime drama film Monster about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in Florida in 2002 for killing six men in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She was nominated for another Emmy for the final segment of FIVE – a series of short films about breast cancer for Lifetime she shared with fellow directors Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore and Penelope Spheeris. In 2015, Jenkins signed on as director for the DC Extended Universe film, Wonder Woman, with a screenplay by Allan Heinberg. Wonder Woman premiered in 2017 and gave Jenkins the biggest domestic opening of all-time for a female director. With this film, Jenkins also became the first female director of a studio superhero movie.
Peele was born in New York City, New York. His father is black, and his mother, Lucinda Williams, is white. He attended the Computer School in I.S. 44 for Junior High School and went on to attend The Calhoun School for high school, graduating in 1997. He then went on to attend Sarah Lawrence College as a member of the class of 2001. However, he didn’t graduate. In February 2017, Peele’s first film as director, Get Out, was released to universal critical acclaim. The film opened at number #1 at the box office, with over $100 million in 3 weeks. The film has grossed over $250 million on a budget of $4.5 million.
Talk Show Host, Producer
Steve Harvey is an American actor, comedian, entertainer, television/radio personality and best-selling author who hosts The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey, and Family Feud. He is the author of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, which was published in March 2009, and the book Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find and Keep a Man. Harvey is the host of the American talk-variety show, Steve Harvey. The show is taped in Chicago, Illinois at the WMAQ studios.The show was renewed through 2016. With the show ending in 2017, Harvey has a new series called Steve set to premiere in September 2017. It will emphasize celebrities and pop culture.
Founder, Participant Media
As founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Participant Media, and the Capricorn Investment Group, Jeff Skoll is bringing life to his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Over the last 15 years, Jeff has created an innovative portfolio of philanthropic and commercial enterprises, each a distinctive social catalyst. Together, these organizations drive social impact by investing in a range of efforts that integrate powerful stories and data with entrepreneurial approaches.
12Sir Ridley Scott
Film Director and Producer
Ridley Scott is a British film director and producer whose movies were acclaimed for their visual style and rich details. After working as a set designer and director in British television, he began in 1967 to direct commercials, eventually numbering more than 2,000, for his own company. His attention to visual stylization in his commercials, including distinctive atmospheric lighting effects, continued into the feature films that he began directing in 1977. His films Blade Runner (1982; recut 1992) and Alien (1979) are widely regarded as classics.
Actor, Producer, CEO of Tyler Perry Studios
The mastermind behind 17 feature films, 20 stage plays, seven television shows, a New York Times bestselling book, Tyler has built an empire that has attracted audiences and built communities, from the Tyler Perry Studios home base in Atlanta, Georgia, throughout the world. Celebrated “among the pantheon of today’s greatest cinematic innovators,” his unique blend of spiritual hope and down-home humor continues to shape his inspiring life story, connecting with fans across the globe and always leaving space to dream.
Film Producer, Founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions
Jason Blum is the founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions. Since launching in 2000, Blum has produced some of the most profitable movies of all time. Blumhouse is a director-driven company that helps filmmakers like James DeMonaco, Scott Derrickson and James Wan tell genre stories that they are passionate about. Blum began his career as the producing director of the Malaparte theater company, which was founded by Ethan Hawke. He currently is a member of the Academy, is on the Sundance Institute’s Director’s Advisory Group and serves on the Board of Directors of the New Group Theater in New York City.
Director, Producer, Writer, Author
J.J. Abrams is an American writer, director, and producer who was known for his role in creating several hit television series, including Lost (2004–10), and for his blockbuster action and science-fiction movies, notably Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). As the writer/director behind the last three Mission Impossible movies, the two new Star Trek movies, and the next Star Wars movie, these days Abrams rules the big screen — bringing his eye for telling detail and emotional connection to larger-than-life stories.
Co-Chairmain, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group
Ben Sherwood is Co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and President, Disney|ABC Television Group, which includes The Walt Disney Company’s global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations group, and radio business. In this role, Mr. Sherwood oversees ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and the ABC Television Network. He also oversees Disney Channels Worldwide, a portfolio of more than 100 kid-driven, family-inclusive entertainment channels or channel feeds available in 169 countries in 35 languages, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama, and Radio Disney brands.
Dan Fogelman is an American television producer and screenwriter whose screenplays include Tangled, as well as Crazy, Stupid, Love, and the Pixar film, Cars. He also created the 2012 television sitcom The Neighbors, the 2015 fairy tale-themed musical comedy series Galavant, the 2016 dramedy series This Is Us, and the 2016 baseball drama series Pitch. Fogelman, 41, who moves fluidly between film and TV, did the seemingly impossible with NBC’s This is Us: he created a broadcast drama that drew massive ratings (15.3 million weekly viewers) and heaps of critical praise.
Shawn Levy was born on July 23, 1968 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Stranger Things (2016), Real Steel (2011), and the Night at the Museum franchise. Levy was a producer on the 2016 sci-fi film Arrival, which resulted in him receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Since 2016, he has been an executive producer on the Netflix original series Stranger Things and directed two episodes of the first season, as well as being slated to direct two episodes of the upcoming second season. He is the founder and principal of 21 Laps Entertainment.
19Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges
A24 is an American independent entertainment company founded on August 20, 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges and based in New York City. It specializes in film production, finance, television production and distribution. As of February 2017, their films have been nominated for Academy Awards fourteen times. In 2016, A24’s films won Academy Awards for Best Actress (Brie Larson in Room), Best Visual Effects (Ex Machina), and Best Documentary Feature (Amy). In 2017, their production Moonlight won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama and was nominated for eight Oscars, winning Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali).
Chairman, Walt Disney Studios
As Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, Alan F. Horn oversees worldwide operations for The Walt Disney Studios including production, distribution, and marketing for live-action and animated films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, as well as marketing and distribution for DreamWorks Studios films released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. He also oversees Disney’s music and theatrical groups. A prominent figure in the film and television industry for four decades, Horn has overseen creative executive teams responsible for some of the world’s most successful entertainment properties including the Harry Potter film franchise and the hit television series Seinfeld.
All American Entertainment (AAE) is a full-service talent booking agency dedicated to representing the interests of meeting and event planners. AAE has helped thousands of the most respected companies, organizations, and universities identify and secure high-profile keynote speakers and celebrity talent for personal appearances, speaking engagements, promotional campaigns, and a wide range of other functions. AAE’s talent base includes professional business and motivational speakers, best-selling authors, top athletes, award-winning comedians, TV personalities, musicians, celebrity chefs, and many others.