Sixth Annual Variety500: Our Selection Process

Variety is continuously refining and improving the process of selecting its Variety500 each year. But six years in, the fundamental strategy behind deciding who makes the list hasn’t changed much.

That’s because the principles underpinning Variety500 are what they’ve always been: to honor excellence among executives and creatives across the world who have distinguished themselves most. Defining “excellence” and “distinguished” isn’t always an easy matter, but here at Variety, we’ve got it down as close to a science as you can get.

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But Variety500 is not a science. Judgments are rendered according to subjective assessments that balance what someone has accomplished over the past 12 months with the achievements made prior to that period. Because Variety500 is an annual list, recent career performance is more heavily weighted than previous work.

There is, of course, no one way to measure excellence, particularly when you consider the diverse range of career paths in the media and entertainment sector, from boardrooms to editing bays. Still, when you peruse the ranks of the Variety500, some clear patterns emerge regarding what constitutes the kind of success worth honoring in this list.

As Variety editors comb the ranks of every sector in content production and distribution, we look for the people who are responsible either for one outsize success or for having a consistent Midas touch both creatively and commercially. We are on the lookout for those who innovate, take risks, spur growth and make the kind of moves that prompt consumers and professionals alike to take notice.

The individuals chosen for Variety500 are the result of months of deliberation by the Variety editorial team. Over the course of meetings scheduled throughout the year, we refine the list through careful analysis of each person’s merits based on research and consultation with the industry at large.

Variety500 is always seeking to refine its selection process, and this list is the result of subjective assessments. We welcome suggestions, which can be sent via email (, and look forward to your continued input in the years to come.

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