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9. James Cameron

Filmmaker, Lightstorm Entertainment

  • 01 /03
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  • 03 /03

Schadenfreude wasn't translated into the Na'vi language for Avatar, but no doubt it was present in the Kodak Theatre when James Cameron's ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow took the best picture and directing Oscars for The Hurt Locker. Still, that taste of disappointment shouldn't overshadow the 55-year-old's achievements. Not only did Avatar become the highest-grossing film in history (nearly $2.7 billion worldwide)—surpassing Cameron's previous record setter, Titanic—but its visual spectacle and technical mastery also laid to rest any doubts about 3-D as a profound medium for live action and artistic ambition. So what if Cameron wasn't king of the world on Oscar night? When it comes to the business of Hollywood, Avatar cemented his place in the realm of the gods.