L.A. Reid was rising last year. Now, he's falling. Power is funny that way.
ALAN BALL American Beauty’s Oscar win got Ball rolling, and his momentum hasn’t slowed. With Six Feet Under, he was given a large plot of leeway and a seemingly impossible task: Best HBO’s best, The Sopranos. Amazingly, he pulled it off: In its first year, SFU’s ratings ran a fatter numbers racket than Tony did his frosh season.
ANDREW SLATER Capitol Records’ new president-CEO hails from his own Andrew Slater Management firm, where he represented (and produced) Macy Gray, Fiona Apple, and the Wallflowers — i.e., new domestic acts, something Capitol has had trouble breaking in the past. (Its biggest hit last year: The Beatles 1.)
ALLIANCE ATLANTIS Hollywood’s other AA isn’t Hollywood’s at all. It’s a Toronto-based outfit that’s cleaned up on the small screen (Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, Nuremberg, CBS’s megahit CSI, 27 Emmy nominations) and looks poised to do the same on the big screen (The 51st State with Samuel L. Jackson; Dirty Deeds with John Goodman). The upshot: a recent 64 percent quarterly revenue jump. Oh, Canada!
MOSAIC MEDIA GROUP A jamboree of giants, this 2-year-old production house/management titan has interests as diverse as Rollerball, the Wayans brothers, Jim Carrey, and the Goo Goo Dolls. As if that weren’t enough, they recently acquired Family Tree Entertainment, which manages such urban heavyweights as OutKast.
STEPHEN E. AMBROSE As the muse of the Spielberg-Hanks cabal, historian Ambrose (the Shelby Foote of WWII) has arguably done more for the Greatest Generation’s resurgence than Viagra, while simultaneously making himself a cottage industry via a string of best-sellers (Band of Brothers, Citizen Soldiers), a TV adaptation, and talking-head appearances.
LASSE HALLSTROM Say what you want about his gauzy, well-Miramaxed screen baubles (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), when it comes to making Best Picture candidates, this Swedish export is as dependable as a Volvo. And based on early reports, looks like The Shipping News — his next directing effort for the brothers Weinstein — will be getting some attention from Oscar.
JOHN LASSETER/PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS We’re going to go waaaay out on a limb here and say that Monsters, Inc. will do a fairly brisk business when it opens in November. A bold prediction? Let’s go to the Pixar tape: Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2…you get the idea. And with Disney’s hand-drawn fare looking creaky, Pixar is poised to transform the mousy animation giant.
JIMMY FALLON Pure boyish charm has propelled Saturday Night Live’s most enthusiastic (and least predictably coiffed) member to the head of the class, co-anchoring the first consistently funny Weekend Update in years with Tina Fey and farming out his talents as host of the MTV Movie Awards. Wisely chosen dramatic bits in Band of Brothers and Almost Famous suggest the juvie jester has big-screen life.
OWEN WILSON If a good-natured, marble-mouthed Texan can make it in Washington, why not in Hollywood? Since 1996’s Bottle Rocket, the Zoolander scene-stealer has embarked on a two-front career campaign: While a writing partnership with Wes Anderson yields off-kilter winners (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums), his acting career is helping to spawn a Shanghai Noon sequel and maybe a Meet the Parents follow-up.