The Time 100 for 2011 illustrates how powerful media and movies are in turning folks into trending influencers.
For example, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's profile was hugely improved and enhanced by the success of Oscar-winner The Social Network, as was producer Scott Rudin's; Arianna Huffington's constant presence on the airwaves has turned her into a recognizably high-profile media mogul; educators Geoffrey Canada and Michelle Ree might not have been included without Davis Guggenheim's education expose Waiting for Superman; last year poet rocker Patti Smith starred in a feature documentary as well as publishing her well-reviewed bestselling memoir Kids; Matthew Weiner went to media war to stay onboard his series Mad Men for another two years; Tom Ford expanding from fashion to movies (A Single Man) lent him added gravitas; Disney animation czar John Lasseter enjoys a much higher profile as the creative head of Pixar, which boasts an unbroken chain of blockbuster animated features (see video below); Oprah Winfrey remains a huge media figure thanks to her daily talk show and new OWN Network; George R.R. Martin is on the list because HBO has turned his Game of Thrones into an expensive series; Mark Wahlberg not only stars in movies like The Fighter but gets them and many TV series made, from Boardwalk Empire to Entourage; and Justin Bieber starred in his own concert movie.
Aziz Anzari on Amy Poehler and Helen Mirren on Colin Firth are excerpted below.
I'm not sure what put admittedly rising stars Mia Wasikowska and Blake Lively on the list: Time seems to want them to represent youth. Baz Luhrmann does the honors on Lively: why not Ben Affleck, who directed her in The Town? Chris Colfer's inclusion, on the other hand, feels deserved, as his role as a gay teen coming into his own on Glee has had a huge positive impact on the culture. (See video below.) And Matt Damon represents the positive trend of celebrities doubling down on charity as a part of their life's work.
On the other hand, Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jennifer Egan's novel A Visit from the Goon Squad, inspired by The Sopranos, has just been acquired by HBO for a series.
Who got left out? I'd argue for Chris Nolan or Darren Aronofsky, but directors are in short supply on this list. And Rolling Stone Keith Richards' Life was an even better read than Smith's memoir--but perhaps did not pull back enough from celebrating sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Smith presented herself in a much more positive light.
Aziz Anzari wrote up Amy Poehler:
I was originally asked to write 150 words of praise for Amy Poehler. Unfortunately, a personal matter has forced me to deviate from this assignment. Amy, I know you are reading this. You won't return my phone calls, e-mails or texts, and I'm fed up. In February 2011 you asked me to invest $15,000 in a "real estate" opportunity you had heard about. Since then, I have heard nothing from you, and my research shows that the company, Excalibur Equity, does not even exist. I want my money back. Now. That said, I cannot say how much I admire and respect Amy Poehler. In comedy, a lot of what you see feels derivative and uninspired; with Amy, 39, there is always something fresh and unexpected, and that's why I love her work. I've always felt a bond with her, but it was not until I worked with her on her sitcom Parks and Recreation that I really got to know her. I have found that she is as kind and caring a person as she is hilarious. Simply put, Amy Poehler is my hero. However, if I don't get back my $15,000 soon, I will be contacting the authorities.
Fellow Brit and Oscar-winner Helen Mirren does the honors for Colin Firth:
There are two Colin Firths, who live symbiotically within each other. First is a man of principle, action and compassion, who fights for the powerless. Second is a beloved actor in Britain and an international film star. The two sides of Colin, 50, inform each other. He can be the glamorous celebrity, but look closely at photos of him on the red carpet: there is a kindness in his eyes, an introspection and consideration. He actively pursues a deeper understanding of the world around him, and his humanitarianism gives a depth and wisdom to his performances (more here).