— MICHAEL OVITZ No.1 The CAA cofounder topped our 1992 Power List for a second straight year with an ”iron fist” that made him Hollywood’s best — and most feared — power broker. But Ovitz soon abandoned his talent-agency perch, and his power since has had more fluctuations than Dick Cheney’s ticker. Following a disastrous but lucrative stint as Disney president and a high-profile failure with Artists Management Group, Ovitz fell from EW’s rankings in 2001.
— MADONNA No.10 ”The most powerful woman in entertainment” is what we called her then. And we weren’t just blowin’ smoke: She’d recently signed a $60 million deal with Time Warner, seemingly ensuring her colossal multimedia empire was invincible. But then came the slumping sales of her album Erotica, the cinematic disaster Body of Evidence, and one too many sexed-up PR stunts — all of which helped demote the Material Girl to 1993’s In Flux list. Ever the comeback queen, by 1995 she was back on the list at No. 76, and in 2000 took No. 31, her highest ranking since.
— PRINCE No.36 ”He may look frail,” EW said back then, ”but this man is built to last.” And why not? His Diamonds and Pearls went double platinum and he became a VP at Warner Bros. Records. Then the artist formerly known as indomitable modestly gave himself an unpronounceable name, saw his album sales plummet, and proclaimed himself retired. He fell off our list in 1993, and, though he’s still touring and recording, he has yet to show us he can still party like it’s 1992.
— TIM BURTON No.46 With a domestic haul of $163 million, his Batman Returns was one of the year’s biggest hits. The following year’s Nightmare Before Christmas seemed to indicate more dark and wonderful things to come — until they didn’t.
— ROSEANNE & TOM ARNOLD No.51 The butt-baring duo were guffawing all the way to the bank in those days, with Roseanne’s titular ABC show the unshakable queen of the No. 1 spot. We claimed they were ”indestructible,” but guess what? We were wrong. The couple split in 1994, and eventually saw their careers go on a Slim-Fast diet.
— JOHN HUGHES No.64 Two years after Macaulay Culkin fortuitously missed his plane, the writer-producer was poised to have, as we wrote, ”the holiday season’s biggest hit” with Home Alone 2 (it grossed $174 million). He’d strike it rich again with 1996’s 101 Dalmatians, but Hughes’ career declined as edgier indie fare drew audiences’ attention away from lightweight cornpone like his scripted Home Alone 3 (which flopped in 1997). Though he opted out of directing December’s J. Lo romance Maid in Manhattan, Hughes remains a commodity thanks to the ever-popular Brat Pack films that he not only wrote but also directed.
— JODIE FOSTER No.65 Her Best Actress Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs inspired us to dub her ”the class act of the under-30 actress pack.” She was a list mainstay throughout the ’90s but eventually stepped back from the Hollywood game to raise a family, emerging only for the rare project that dazzled her. Unfortunately, those movies (like 1994’s Nell) didn’t always connect with audiences. Though she was paid a career-high $15 mil for 1999’s Anna and the King, it performed poorly, and she fell off the list the next year. But things are looking up: This year’s Panic Room was well received, grossing a sweet $95 million.