| Julia Roberts
Los Angeles, Dec. 3 (Reuters): Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has been cut from it, Madonna slipped a few notches on it, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have moved up a tad.
The “it” is the Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of the 100 most influential women in show business, unveiled in today’s edition of the show business trade magazine.
The show business trade newspaper began ranking the 50 most powerful women 11 years ago and expanded it to include 100 women last year to celebrate the list's 10 year anniversary.
Sherry Lansing, who became the first female chairman of Paramount Pictures in 1992, regained the top slot on the list, after slipping from number one to number two last year.
“When Sherry Lansing wants to pursue a project that is potentially risky, her tendency to share the financial burden with other studios helps counterbalance the risk. It’s that business savvy and goodwill within the entertainment community that pushed her to top of this year’s Power 100,” said Christy Grosz, managing editor of the Women in Entertainment issue.
Ranking number two was Stacey Snider, chairman of production for Universal Pictures, who commanded the number one spot last year.
Rounding out the top five were Amy Pascal, vice-chairman of Sony Pictures at number three, Nancy Tellem, President of CBS Entertainment, ranking fourth, and Michele Anthony, executive VP, Sony Music Entertainment at number five. For the past few years, the list has expanded beyond mostly industry executives and insiders, to include stars who have have clout in the industry.
“No longer are female stars just ‘the talent.’ They could very well be the path to parity for all women working in entertainment,” said Grosz.
Julia Roberts’ ability to open a movie, command a big paycheque and run her own production company give her clout to hire whoever she chooses, Grosz noted.
Other rising actor business titans are Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez. But while these two did not make the cut and both Roberts and Madonna slipped this year in their rankings, 16-year-old media twin tycoons Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who have their own teen line at Wal-Mart, made it for the second year running, rising to number 98 from 100.
Roberts who ranked number three last year, slid down to number 12, while Madonna fell from number 42 to number 60 this year.
Conspicuously absent from the list this year was domestic style maven Stewart, who ranked about 57 last year, but whose image has been tarnished by an insider trading investigation.
Hollywood Reporter officials declined comment on whether Stewart’s legal woes were to blame. “While a proven track record is a consideration, no Power 100 woman was allowed to coast on a one-year-old accomplishment,” Grosz said.
The Reporter unveils the list each year with a star-studded breakfast, this year featuring speeches by Nia Vardalos, star and writer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Salma Hayek, star of Frida. The list reflects a sharp rise of women in top posts in Hollywood, with women leading four Hollywood guilds and key network divisions.
One of the biggest moneymakers in Hollywood history, this year’s Spider-Man, was given the go-ahead by a woman and produced by a woman.
Several criteria are considered, including each woman's position within her company, her force of personality and how much money she controls.
On a more sombre note, the Reporter notes that despite the ever-increasing number of women in Hollywood’s executive ranks, the percentage of female writers dropped from 14 percent in 2000 to 10 per cent in 2001.