Megan Ellison: Low-Profile Financier’s Films Netted a Massive 17 Noms

Megan Ellison 17 Oscar Nominations
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Megan Ellison, one of Hollywood’s newest power brokers, has already made an outsized impression. Over the past three years, Ellison has financed a baker’s dozen films that have garnered 35 Oscar nominations, including 17 on Thursday for films she helped finance: David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster.”

Daughter of Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison, the 27-year-old film producer and financier is part of a growing group of young entrepreneurs with deep pockets who are shifting the way Hollywood is bankrolling movies. Backing such high-risk, high-profile pictures as “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Master” that were passed over by the major studio, has led Ellison and her company, Annapurna Pictures, to become among the most sought-after producers in the business.

Her mid-budgeted films, the $42 million “The Master,” the $45 million “Zero Dark Thirty” and the $40 million “American Hustle,” have collectively grossed over $290 million at the worldwide box office.

Ellison has also committed to resurrecting one of Hollywood’s most profitable film franchises, “The Terminator.” In 2012, she shelled out $20 million in order to secure the rights to future “Terminator” projects and star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Writers and directors are also attracted to the young scion for her hands-off approach, championing auteur directors such as Jonze, Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Her overwhelming wealth – her father’s net worth is $41 billion according to Forbes (making him the third-richest American behind Warren Buffett and Bill Gates) – is also a major attraction.

Although she has a sizable pocketbook, Ellison lacks a formal business education and dropped out of USC film school after less than a year. That doesn’t prevent her from single-handedly getting movies into production.

On Thursday, in the wake of the nominations announcement, the press-shy Ellison (who has never granted a personal interview) simply tweeted “17,” a bold but effective statement.

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  1. Mi says:

    I love it.More female power in Hollywood.

  2. “Brains and money = power. But good instincts = success.” I like that quote Swoosie!!

    So want Megan to Produce my film…a blaxploitation road movie set in 70’s Britain…fancy it dear? :-)

  3. Swoosie says:

    Brains and money = power. But good instincts = success.

  4. irishmanabroad says:

    Exactly. She’s bought her way into the world of filmmaking, guided by CAA to financing these movies. Can’t blame the filmmakers for kissing her ass; if I wanted to make a movie and she gave me the money, I’d be on my knees behind her, too.

  5. WhisperOFAThrill says:

    If my dad gave me several hundred mil, I’d produce some good films, too.

    It’s tough. I love the choices she makes and respect her willingness to make risky films, but at the same time I have to push down my exasperation at how everyone in Hollywood just loves her – the reality is, if she was a broke USC dropout, she’d be making copies and fetching coffee or trying to get into a NYFA or LAFS class.

    • JuanP says:

      Nah – ya probably wouldn’t. There are 50 unsuccessful pre-wealthy financiers for every Megan Ellison. Hollywood doesn’t know where your money comes from – it will shred it all the same if you don’t know what you’re doing.

      • Nibs says:

        Nah…. You just have to make what folks want to watch…. She just happens to have the ability to walk on the higher risk side and make good less formula based material.

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