Ridley Scott

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Ridley Scott had a very good year.Never mind that he was overlooked by the Oscars—his critical and box office success American Gangster was passed over for best picture and director nominations. That's just a minor blip in a career that's proven to be as fierce as a stomach-ripping E.T., despite some potentially ego-annihilating moments. Scott's sci-fi thriller, Blade Runner, for example, was slammed by critics when it debuted in 1982, only to become a cult classic. Last year his official cut finally appeared in theaters, earning a standing ovation after it screened at the Venice Film Festival. The director's story, however, is hardly one of failure and redemption. On the contrary, Scott's success is on a scale so grand it earned him knighthood in 2003, thanks to his hefty contributions to cinematic culture and the box office with films like Alien, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. In 2007, RSA, the commercials production company he founded and leads with brother and fellow director Tony, turned the big 4-0; yet the oldest of our top production shops inarguably is still one of the finest. RSA continued to turn out impressive efforts for HBO, HP and Milwaukee's Best Light, while Sir Ridley's "1984" commercial for Apple, despite airing only once, retains a place in advertising history, having steered the course of Super Bowl commercials toward big screen-style advertainment. Recently, Scott just completed shooting his next film, Body of Lies (working title), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and go-to leading man Russell Crowe, and he's prepping for another, Nottingham, starring Crowe as the town's famed sheriff.

On which jobs he learned the most from: "All of them. Each one teaches you something. I'm learning something even as of tomorrow, today. The great thing about the job is that it never stops. The process never stops. It takes a long time to get fully confident. I'm almost fully confident, not in the sense that I know what's going to sell, and what's going to go big, but I think more in the sense of I know what I'm doing and I know how to do it. I've got to a point now where actors trust me, so we have a pretty relaxed time where the whole process is exciting and fun. It's part of my job to make it that way."

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