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Goodbye Power 100, Hello EW's Smart List

by Anne Thompson
November 28, 2007 6:47 AM
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Judd_lThis Friday, Entertainment Weekly will publish a new standalone special issue, the first Hollywood “Smart List.” The brain behind this rejuvenated list, which replaces the tired old EW Power 100, is my old colleague Sean Smith, ex-of Newsweek and Premiere, who worked with me on quite a few Premiere power lists. We prided ourselves on reporting the hell out of those lists, and that's what EW has done here, too. A phalanx of EW reporters canvassed the film industry, conducting hundreds of background interviews, seeking info on “the savants and the wunderkinds whose ideas are driving the film industry forward,” according to EW.

Needless to say, anticipation of which actors, directors, producers and agents made the list is already building. Those who can’t wait until the magazine hits newsstands Friday can find just who made the cut-- right here. The question is, having abandoned the old Power 100 model--which readers were far less interested in than the super-driven power-mongers in NY and LA--will folks care about this reinvention of the list? I suspect it makes for better reading, and focuses attention on some worthy folks like FX master John Knoll and composer Gustavo Santaolalla.

EW can't help but go back to some of the same old/same old list of names: Steven Spielberg, Bob Zemeckis, Dick Cook and Brian Grazer are still on there. But otherwise, it's pretty interesting: Number one is Judd Apatow, because "you can't argue with success," says Smith. "He has his finger on the pulse of comedy right now, he's king of it and made three stars out of Steve Carell, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill would never have been movie stars. He's made himself a household brand."

At the start of the process back in August, as LA bureau chief Smith commandeered seven film reporters in LA and three in NY, he found that it was hard to steer clear of old "power list" habits. "We kept slipping back into power discussions," he says. "We had to rethink. I kept telling them we were free to recalibrate, to consider the overall influence on the future of the industry." The list gets more surprising the farther down you go--including an entry for one Roderick Jaynes, the well-known editor of the Coens brothers' movies--a fake name for the Coens themselves.

Here's the top 20 of the top 50, with the rest on the jump:

Entertainment Weekly's 50 Smartest People in Hollywood:

1. Judd Apatow, director/writer/producer

2. Steven Spielberg, director/producer

3. James Cameron, director/producer

4. Ari Emanuel, partner of the Endeavor Agency

5. Will Smith, actor/producer

6. Meryl Streep, actor

7. Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight

8. Tyler Perry, actor/director/writer/producer

9. David Heyman, producer

10. John Knoll, visual-effects supervisor of Industrial Light & Magic

11. Brian Grazer, producer

12. Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios

13. George Clooney, actor/director/producer

14. Jerry Bruckheimer, producer

15. Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment

16. Peter Jackson, director/producer

17. Will Ferrell, actor/producer

18. Robert Zemeckis, director

19. Tom Rothman, co-chair of Fox Filmed Entertainment

20. Ben Stiller, actor/director/producer


21. Johnny Depp, actor/producer

22. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation

23. Brad Bird, writer/director

24. Emmanuel Lubezki, cinematographer

25. Zack Snyder, director

26. Stacey Snider, CEO of DreamWorks SKG

27. Michael Moore, documentarian

28. Paul Greengrass, director

29. J.J. Abrams, producer/director

30. Jodie Foster, actor/director

31. Kathleen Kennedy, producer

32. Thelma Schoonmaker, editor

33. Angelina Jolie, actor

34. Sacha Baron Cohen, actor/writer/producer

35. Tim Palen, co-president of film marketing for Lionsgate

36. Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of Media Rights Capital

37. Guillermo del Toro, writer/producer/director

38. Diablo Cody, screenwriter

39. Mary Zophres, costume designer

40. Jeff Skoll, founder of Participant Productions

41. Stefan Sonnenfeld, president of Company

42. Daniel Battsek, president of Miramax Films

43. Beth Swofford, agent at CAA

44. Roderick Jaynes, editor

45. Cate Blanchett, actor

46. Jeff Walker, Comic-Con impresario

47. Amy Powell, senior vice president of interactive marketing at Paramount

48. Gustavo Santaolalla, composer

49. Sarah Polley, actor/writer/director

50. Ben Affleck, actor/director/writer/producer

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

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