5 Oscar-Winners That Are Also Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

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The 92nd Oscars ceremony, which recognizes the best films of 2019, is just around the corner. Hollywood is understandably excited and rumors, speculation, and expectations abound. 

But the glitz and glamour often hide something equally worthy of attention – the business acumen behind the success stories. Along with being exceptional actors, directors, musicians, animators, screenwriters, and more, many Oscar-winners are also extraordinary entrepreneurs

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top five Academy Award winners that have also excelled on the business stage. 

1. Steven Spielberg

Net worth: $3.7 billion

Why pay a dollar for a bookmark? Why not use the dollar for a bookmark?

steven spielberg award
“Steven Spielberg speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International, for “Ready Player One”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.” by “Gage Skidmore” is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Steven Spielberg, the creative genius behind Jaws and E.T, is the world’s most lauded living filmmaker. After becoming one of the youngest directors for Universal in the 60s, he founded (and later sold) his first studio, DreamWorks, in 1996. He is also the founder of production company Amblin Entertainment.

2. George Lucas

Net worth: $6.1 billion

No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.

George Lucas award
“Geroge Lucas at the 66th Venice Film Festival” by “Nicolas Genin” is licensed under CC BY 2.0

George Lucas is synonymous with production company LucasFilm (now owned by Disney) and Star Wars, the highest-grossing film franchise ever created. Despite his current success, George Lucas didn’t get off to a flying start. His directorial debut, THX 1138, based on an earlier short he made as a student, was a financial flop.

3. Robert De Niro

Net worth: $500 million

You’ll have time to rest when you’re dead.

“Robert de Niro Leaving the premiere of “The good shepherd”, Berlinalepalast am Potsdamer Platz” by “Thore Siebrands” is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Robert De Niro isn’t just a successful actor, with two Academy Awards to date, but is also part-owner of global sushi chain Nobu, the production company TriBeCa, the Greenwich Hotel, and numerous restaurants. In an interview for New York Magazine, he said he’d backed so many ventures that he’s lost count of the exact number. 

4. Oprah Winfrey

Net worth: $2.7 billion

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

oprah winfrey award

Oprah Winfrey is the CEO of Harpo Productions (“Harpo” is “Oprah” spelt backwards), which is responsible for producing The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and Super Soul Sunday, among others. She is North America’s first African American multi-billionaire, a philanthropist, and has even been ranked as the most influential woman in the world. Oprah received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2011.

5. Walt Disney 

Net worth: $1 billion at the time of his death.

If you can dream, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.

walt disney award

No list would be complete without Walt Disney – the record-holder for the most Academy Awards won by a single person (twenty-six) and one of the best-known and most inspirational entrepreneurs of all time. He left an enduring mark on popular culture and built one of the world’s largest media conglomerates. 

Walt Disney started out as a humble cartoonist before going on to launch the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio with his brother Roy. Today, the company is made up of numerous film studios, cable networks, theme parks, theatres, publishing houses, and more. 

oscar winners

Are You Drawn to Entrepreneurship?

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a world-class actor (or genius cartoonist) to forge a career as a successful entrepreneur. 

If you see yourself at the helm of your own company, take a look at the EU Business School’s bachelor’s programs in business, the Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and our MBA in Entrepreneurship.

Our faculty comprises some of the best business minds in the world, including academics, entrepreneurs, and leading innovators. Students are equipped with entrepreneurial skills and hands-on experience that will enable them to excel in a multitude of fields. 

study at EU Business School

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