News

Spielberg tops Oprah as ‘most influential’ celebrity

Spielberg tops Oprah as ‘most influential’ celebrity

HE'S SO COOL: Spielberg's influence was boosted by his most recent film, "Lincoln," which earned 12 Oscar nominations last year including best picture and best direction, and grossed $275 million at the global box office. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – Director Steven Spielberg on Wednesday dethroned media mogul Oprah Winfrey as the most influential celebrity in the United States, according to an annual study by Forbes magazine that was dominated by film directors.

Spielberg’s influence was boosted by his most recent film, “Lincoln,” which earned 12 Oscar nominations last year including best picture and best direction, and grossed $275 million at the global box office.

The magazine said the 67-year-old director’s ability to attract foreigners to a U.S. drama about the back-room dealings and minutiae of 19th-century Washington politics spoke to his prowess. “Lincoln” grossed $93 million in foreign markets.

Forbes said that 47 percent of people surveyed rated Spielberg as influential.

“A celebrity’s ‘Influential’ score represents how that person is perceived as influencing the public, their peers, or both,” Gerry Philpott, president of E-Poll Market Research, which conducted the study for Forbes, told the magazine.

Winfrey, 59, who topped the list with 49 percent last year, slipped to 45 percent this year, which Forbes said could be due to her retreat from the spotlight while running her cable television network OWN.

Film director and “Star Wars” creator George Lucas placed third despite working little in the public eye in recent years. He sold his Lucasfilm company to Walt Disney Co for $4.05 billion in October 2012.

Directors Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese placed fourth and fifth on the list respectively.

Other high-ranking celebrities in the top 10 of the list included television physician Mehmet Oz, ABC TV journalist Barbara Walters and U2 singer and activist Bono.

E-Poll Market Research ranked more than 6,600 celebrities on 46 personality attributes.

Forbes did not say how many people participated in the survey.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Jonathan Oatis)

Recent Headlines

6 hours ago in Entertainment

Bill Murray tosses fans’ phones off rooftop

billmurray

The "Ghostbusters" star was unwinding at rooftop restaurant in California on Thursday when he spotted two starstruck fans trying to snap his photo.

7 hours ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Deadpool,’ ‘Zoolander 2’ to battle at the box office

15-overlay-6

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

7 hours ago in Entertainment, National

Roses and roaches: Cold-hearted Valentine’s Day ideas

valentines

With the coldest air in more than a decade forecast to grip the United States this Valentine's Day weekend, the holiday dedicated to love is flashing its frigid side.