No one could have predicted exactly how a pandemic would reshape every industry, let alone America’s entertainment business. And yet, it became clear in 2020 that movies and television would play a bigger role in our lives than ever, whether on our inescapable screens or in the conversations we had when everything else shut down. This year, Hollywood reminded us just how powerful it was, even when sitting in theaters wasn’t an option.
The reminder came with the same global challenges—a ruthless pandemic, social injustice, endless doomscrolling—and many more that were industry-specific: the surge of streaming, the bleeding of movie theaters and a string of production delays and cancellations. Through it all, Hollywood’s executives, creatives and agents had aggressively adapted to create work audiences could love. Whether that meant starting a new agency, or quickly setting up safer productions, or putting every new movie you had on streaming, for better or worse, responsiveness was king.
In that sense, 2020 was like most years. No one leads by simply sticking to what they know. The individuals on this inaugural edition of Observer’s Entertainment Power 50 reacted to radically different times in radically different ways. We’ve identified those in the industry who are driving trends forward and pioneering strategies to make the creation and distribution of on-screen entertainment more viable, more accessible and more equitable. More than just the tastemakers, we highlight the changemakers: the power players setting a new course for a constantly evolving industry. To that future we raise a glass, because it’s one we hope to enjoy together.
Entertainment Power 50 Logo by Steph Novak/for Observer