TIME 100

The 2014 TIME 100: TV, the Influencer

KERRY WASHINGTON
Kerry Washington of ABC's "Scandal" Craig Sjodin/ABC

The TV stars in this year's Time 100 show the medium's changes, range, and reach.

This week’s TIME magazine is the annual Time 100 double issue, naming 100 of the most influential people in fields from art to politics to science. And because TV is still one of the biggest means through which influencers influence, TV and media figures are all over the list.

The usual caveats: I suggested some of the names on the list (and some names that did not make it), but I didn’t choose the final 100–our editors do. And before you ask why someone who scored high on on the Time 100 Reader Poll isn’t on the list: as with our Person of the Year poll, it’s a poll, not a binding vote.

On that note, these are some of the trends and currents emerging in this year’s Time 100, TV and media edition:

* Streaming media continued to be a force in TV, and this year’s list reflects that from several angles: Robin Wright, who won the Emmy and Golden Globe for Netflix’s House of Cards; Jenji Kohan, who created Netflix’s most distinctive (and best) new series, Orange Is the New Black; and Jeff Bezos, who, as Amazon’s ambitious series development and yesterday’s deal with HBO remind us, is now an online TV executive in his own right (while also, by the by, having picked up the Washington Post).

* As TV has gained equal stature to other arts media, it’s increasingly sharing talent with the movies: Benedict Cumberbatch exercised his brain on Sherlock before becoming the movies’ go-to cerebral character actor; Matthew McConaughey collected an Oscar and may well grab an Emmy for his tour de force role in True Detective; and even director Alfonso Cuaròn followed up his Gravity success with an NBC series, Believe.

* TV doesn’t only cross-pollinate with the movies, but also music: singer Carrie Underwood was made by a TV show (American Idol); Miley Cyrus by another (Hannah Montana), well before the Great Twerking Crisis of 2013 on MTV; and how is Pharrell Williams following up the year of “Get Lucky,” “Happy,” and “Blurred Lines”? By becoming a coach on The Voice! (Not to mention, Cyrus and Williams’ work has contributed to some of the year’s liveliest discussion about gender and cultural appropriation.)

* TV news continued to matter–for better or worse–in the past year, and both cable and broadcast are represented: Megyn Kelly, the Fox News star who had new primetime ratings success (and launched a debate as to whether Santa Claus is white), and Charlie Rose, the interviewer representing the old school in the early morning and late at night.

* It was a big year of turnover in late night; following Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight show, Seth Meyers’ brainy comedy has (so far) held up in the ratings competition for NBC. (And the turnover’s just starting; next year, it could be Stephen Colbert, or a player to be named later.)

* Finally, some of the Time 100 slots were simply about great performances: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, leading the best sketch comedy on TV (and who seem to be everywhere else on TV right now, including upcoming roles on Fargo), and Kerry Washington, whose committed performance grounds the growing hit Scandal even as its plot rides a weekly express train to crazytown.

Obviously there are a lot more than 100 influential people, in TV alone, let alone the rest of human endeavor. TIME’s had its say, but I’m curious to know who you’d add to this list (or take off).

TIME 100

Beyoncé Exclusive: Watch the Official Video for “Pretty Hurts”

The TIME 100 cover subject makes an epic statement on the nature of beauty

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Beyoncé graces the cover of this year’s TIME 100 issue and she’s made TIME.com the first official outlet to show her “Pretty Hurts” video. The latest clip from her fifth, self-titled studio album strives to explore the definition of pretty. Starting today, Beyoncé asks you to join the conversation. How do you define pretty? Upload a photo or video to Instagram tagged #WhatIsPretty that captures what the word means to you. Visit WhatIsPretty.com for additional details.

TIME 100

The TIME 100 Music Stars Prove This Was the Year of Pop Feminism

Miley Cyrus covers Arctic Monkeys on a recent MTV Unplugged special.
MTV

Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, and Pharrell are the biggest pop icons of the year — and they're all outspoken feminists

Miley Cyrus is no Shinzo Abe, but that doesn’t mean the pop stars on this year’s TIME 100 don’t get political. In fact, the one thing this year’s most influential pop artists have in common is a shared interest in women’s rights. But Beyoncé, Miley and Pharrell aren’t just accidental feminists — they’ve actively promoted women’s empowerment through their songs, videos, and interviews, making feminism a explicit part of their respective public images. With their help, this was the year of pop feminism.

(It’s worth noting that Carrie Underwood also made the list of top musicians, but her domination last year wasn’t about the monolithic chart saturation that made the other three so significant. She’s also shied away from identifying herself as a feminist : the star of NBC’s record-breaking live production of The Sound of Music has said she “wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation” — though she insists she’s “certainly a strong woman.”)

For the three on the list who had blockbuster releases — Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Williams — feminism is the new frontier, a realm that demands exploration. For the former two, they aren’t considered feminists just because they’re influential women; it’s a central component of their work. You could even say that feminism is to 2014 pop stars what sex was to 1964 rockers: it’s nothing new, but it’s suddenly become electrifying.

Queen Bey is the most obvious example. Her surprise video album was the biggest music story of 2013 (and the fastest-selling album in iTunes history), but it wasn’t just the marketing genius that drove it to the top of the Billboard charts. The overtly feminist videos spoke directly to a generation working to embrace female self-empowerment as a political and social priority. There was nothing screechy about Beyoncé’s message. She presents stylishly nuanced ideas about beauty in “Pretty Hurts,” love in “Drunk in Love” and motherhood in “Blue,” and even includes a lengthy quote from Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Adichie in “Flawless.”

Beyoncé rarely says the word “feminist,” but she lets Adichie define it as “a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” That definition happens right in the middle of her song. Show me another pop star who interrupts their singing to quote some social theory, and I’ll strip down and climb onto a wrecking ball.

Miley Cyrus is a different story. Pop’s most controversial diva had lots of moms tut-tutting about her twerking at the VMAs and lots of critics outraged at her racial politics, but she says her post-Disney schtick embraces a new kind of female sexuality that has nothing to do with what men want. When’s the last time you saw a foam finger in porn? Never.

If Beyoncé used feminism as the new sex, Miley insists she’s using sex as a form of feminism. “I’m one of the biggest feminists in the world because I tell women not to be scared of anything,” she told BBC’s Newsbeat. I don’t actually walk around all day twerking with my tongue out dressed as a teddy bear.” For Miley, her nudity in “Wrecking Ball” was never about objectification — it was about fearlessness. Whether you agree with her or not, she’s certainly outspoken about her beliefs.

Pharrell’s LP G I R L might seem only superficially feminist in that it’s roughly a concept album in praise of women, but the hat-loving Oscar nominee has been publicly dedicating his new hit album to modern women in a string of interviews. And while the nod might sound condescending coming from a co-creator of “Blurred Lines” (a song known as much for its problematic intimations as it is for being catchy), Pharrell actually gets real about feminist politics when he talks to the media. “[Women] don’t get paid as much as men do — that needs to change,” he said in an interview on Good Morning America. “We’re a species that has a Martian rover on the surface of Mars, but yet we’re still the same species that tries to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.” That’s a clear feminist statement — and one that not all male artists would be willing to make.

He’s also got some opinions about the 2016 Presidential election. “Let me tell you why Hillary’s going to win,” he told GQ. “when you think about a night where there’s late-night talk-show hosts and it’s mostly women, that’s a different world. Right? A world where seventy-five percent of the prime ministers and the presidents were women: That’s a different world. That’s gonna happen, and it’s gonna happen when Hillary wins.”

Pharrell might not have Beyoncé’s nuance or Miley’s boldness, but he represents a brand of pop feminism that’s not just for women anymore. And even if his dedication to women’s issues feels reductive (and some argue, fairly, that men shouldn’t need a gold star for believing in equality), it’s still a sign that feminism is pop’s politics du jour, and it’s not by accident.

Sure, this was the year where feminism and pop intersected in a big way — and maybe that’s made the discussion fashionable. But who cares? It’s moving the conversation forward, so girls — and the men who respect them — actually can run the world.

TIME 100

Robert Redford’s Protip for Aspiring Auteurs

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He keeps it simple and brief, but legendary actor, director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival Robert Redford offers some invaluable advice for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps. (Hint: It doesn’t require the backing of a major studio or even a WiFi connection.)

Redford, 77, has won two Academy Awards — in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and in 2002 for Lifetime Achievement. His Sundance Institute is celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival, held each January in Park City, Utah.

TIME 100

Robert Redford Almost Gave Up Acting

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When considering who most influenced his life, Robert Redford, who has performed with Hollywood’s finest and mentored independent cinema’s rising stars, cites a “mixed bag” of people who helped him along the way.

“There is power in an idea that you will stay with, against the odds,” he tells TIME Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs in this short interview. Whether it’s called ego or drive or stubbornness or vision, Redford endorses the impulse to “keep pushing through” in spite of the obstacles. Even failure, he notes, can be valuable, even “fun.”

TIME 100

Backstage at Bangerz With Miley Cyrus

From sliding down an inflatable tongue to straddling a hot dog, Miley and her tour have been the spectacle everyone expected. Go behind the scenes with the TIME 100 honoree at recent rehearsal at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

TIME 100

Amy Adams: Hollywood’s Renaissance Woman

The TIME 100 honoree has conquered everything from comedy to drama to satire, with some singing on the side.

TIME 100

Kerry Washington: Before She Was Pope

If you hadn't been paying attention, you may have missed this TIME 100 honoree's varied roles leading up to her huge and 'scandalous' TV hit.

celebrities

Hollywood Couple Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis Welcome Baby Otis

Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis
Olivia Wilde, and Jason Sudeikis arrive at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 2, 2014. It's a boy for Wilde and Sudekis. A spokeswoman for the "Tron: Legacy" actress said the couple welcomed son Otis Alexander on Sunday, April 20, 2014. Chris Pizzello—Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The blockbuster actress-comedian duo who have been engaged since January 2013 announced the birth of their son together with a humorous tweet on Wednesday. "Otis Alexander Sudeikis has LEFT the building! (I'm the building)," she wrote

Actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde and actor and comic Jason Sudeikis welcomed a new baby boy into the world, according to a tweet published by the new mother.

During her pregnancy, the 30-year-old Wilde referred to her baby bump as a badge of honor. The couple has been engaged since January 2013.

 

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