Defining a decade can be tricky, especially in an era where the last thing entertainment companies want to do is make less. Peak Content is the name of the game, and with everything from Disney’s Marvel Studios making serious bank from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Netflix throwing all kinds of bags to lure the biggest and best directors to their streaming platform, and new TV shows springing up every week, it’s easy to get lost in this sea of limited series, blockbuster films, and everything in between.
Even still, it’s easy to find your way. When it comes to themes of innovation, moving the goal post, and progression within the industry, there is a clear-cut group of actors, writers, directors, brands, and executives who have led the pack. Creatives that either bucked trends to create a brighter future or set the trends that the rest of the industry followed. Creatives that dominated the box office or ascended to the heights of the AWARDS SZN circuit on a consistent basis. The best of the best, along with the figures who are paving the way for the future.
In looking at this collection of names, we had to figure out a number of things: How did the actions of these individuals impact their respective fields? If they act, how large did their presence loom over the zeitgeist of the decade? What did their actions mean for their peers and how they operated—and will operate in the future? Were they best in show? These attributes and accolades, alongside the overall quality and consistency of their work in their respective fields this decade, were huge factors in our selections.
When looking back at the 2010s, these are without a doubt the men and women who helped shape one of the most challenging and exciting decades in film and television. Here are the creatives who defined the 2010s.