Oscar Nominated Producer Megan Ellison Sets Hollywood Record For Women

Megan-Ellison

Her name is Megan Ellison, she is only 27, and she just made history by becoming the first woman to ever be nominated for two films in the ‘Best Picture’ category at the Academy Awards, and only the fourth person to hold this record.

Chances are you may not have heard of her, but make no mistake, she is part of a formidable female posse that are making their mark in Hollywood, which is still mostly Man-wood.

She has made her mark in a fairly unconventional way, and that’s what makes her journey all the more exciting, showing other women in the biz it’s not about following the rules, it’s about getting creative in your way to the top.

Megan is the daughter of the third richest man in America, Larry Ellison who founded the Oracle Corporation, one of the biggest IT companies in the world. His net worth is listed just behind Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. So it goes without saying that Megan has considerable wealth to her name. But it is not just her money that has made her stand out, it’s what she is doing with it.

She is part of a “new breed” of private financiers in Hollywood, according to Variety, who are going against the traditions of the major studios to finance films they want to be made. She studied at USC’s film school for less than a year before dropping out and finding a way that she could be more effective.

Having no formal business experience or film education didn’t stop her from doing what she wanted. When the Oscar nominations were announced, the two films she helped finance and produce this season, Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ and David O’Russell’s ‘American Hustle’ combined received a total of 17 nominations. That’s pretty impressive!

Her production company, Annapurna Pictures (named after the famous Himalayan circuit she hiked in Nepal in 2006) has now become one of the most sought-after production companies, which also produced the Katheryn Bigelow-directed ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ in 2012, and is proving that for women to reach the top and achieve equal power in Hollywood, they are going to have to find unique ways to break the mold, like Ellison is doing.

megan-ellison

According to a report released by San Diego State University’s Center For The Study Of Women In Television And Film, “Women comprised 16% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 (domestic) grossing films of 2013. This figure represents a decrease of two percentage points from 2012.”

“In 2013, women accounted for 6% of (U.S.) directors. If foreign films in the top 250 are included, this figure increases to 8%. In other roles, women comprised 10% of writers, 15% of executive producers, 25% of producers, 17% of editors, and 3% of cinematographers.”

Urgh, those figures are dismal, and it’s no wonder many female celebrities such as Michelle Rodriguez and Eva Longoria are doing their part to encourage more and more women to get into the film industry to write stories and create roles that are represent the female population more accurately.

Having produced and backed ‘True Grit’ at the age of 24, it looks like Megan Ellison is a force to be reckoned with, and we hope she will create opportunities for more and more films made by women to see the light of day.

She doesn’t follow the Hollywood rules in favor of creating her own, she doesn’t do press interviews, yet she is living her dream and setting records for women in film. Could she be any cooler?

Jessica Chastain tells Vanity Fair in March 2013 how Megan Ellison firmly believed she was right for the lead role in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and wouldn’t take no for an answer even though her agent said she was busy.

“Megan was so determined and passionate. This girl then really went to town [negotiating the deal] to make sure I got on the picture.”

Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment told Vanity Fair that Ellison is tough, shrewd and that she is the first of her kind, undaunted by a industry dominated by traditions.

“Don’t be quick to count her out. Sometimes when you’re a woman, people judge you a little more harshly. I think that if Megan was a guy people wouldn’t be jumping on her as much.”

Here’s to more young women finding their own unique fit in Hollywood and changing the landscape forever. Go Megan!

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