×

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

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • Cat in the Wall Movie Sarajevo

    Sarajevo Film Festival Builds Bridges Through Art

    Rising from the rubble of the Bosnian War to become one of Southeastern Europe’s leading film and TV industry events, the Sarajevo Film Festival has plenty to celebrate as it marks its 25th edition this year. The festival was established in 1995 during the four-year siege of Sarajevo as part of an effort to help [...]

  • 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band

    Film Review: 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas'

    Settling in to watch “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” you may have a burning question that applies to almost no other rock documentary, and that is: Who, exactly, are these guys? The ones behind the beards? If you’re old enough, of course, you probably know that ZZ Top started out, in 1969, [...]

  • Patricia Louisiana Knop Dead: Screenwriter Was

    Screenwriter Patricia Louisianna Knop Dies at 78

    Screenwriter Patricia Louisianna Knop, who collaborated with her producer-director husband Zalman King on erotically-charged films of the late 1980s and 1990s including “Siesta” and “9 1/2 Weeks,” died Aug. 7 in Santa Monica after a lengthy illness. “9 1/2 Weeks,” starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, was directed by Adrian Lyne, co-produced by King and [...]

  • (L-R) NELL WILLIAMS as Eliza, VIVEIK

    How 'Blinded by the Light' Brought Bruce Springsteen's Music to the Screen for a Song

    Blinded by the Light co-writer/director Gurinder Chadha knows firsthand what it feels like to be an outsider. Born in Kenya when the country was a British colony, she grew up part of the Indian/Asian diaspora who made their way from East Africa to London. For that reason, the 59-year-old’s movies has always dealt with the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content