Top 10 Oscar-winning actors majorly side-hustling as producers
- Brad Pitt is the biggest producer of all Oscar-winning actors of the past decade
- Leonardo DiCaprio, ranked second best, has more titles to his name as a producer than as an actor
- Will Smith, ranked third best, had the foresight to set up his production company early in his acting career
- Viola Davis is the top female actor majorly side-hustling as a producer
Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith are the top Oscar winners of the past decade that are most successfully combining acting and producing. Viola Davis is the best Oscar-winning female actor to have also produced the most titles. A new study reveals that almost half of all recent Oscar winners wear the double actor-producer hat.
According to researchers from business consulting firm Venture Smarter, some of Hollywood’s biggest on-screen stars are also very business-savvy off screen. Grossing multi-billions in box office revenues alone, some household names have branched out into production. Out of the 116 Oscar winners, in any capacity, between 2013 and 2022, 59 are primarily actors who have also at least dabbled with being producers. Some have actually managed to build themselves whole production empires.
Brad Pitt takes the top spot as the most successful actor-producer in the world. He has spent almost as much time producing as he has acting. Throughout his career, Brad Pitt appeared on-screen 106 times in films and TV shows and has produced 103 titles, often in both capacities at once. He is the co-founder of Plan B Entertainment, one of the leading production companies in Hollywood, credited for a total of 263 titles. Pitt’s signature as a producer is on Oscar-worthy films like The Departed, 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight. He totals an impressive 112 awards won and 226 nominations. As both a producer and an actor, Brad Pitt is currently filming a thriller featuring George Clooney, called “Wolfs”, in collaboration with Apple. Pitt’s box office total, as far as is publicly known, currently stands at the whopping 9-billion-dollar mark.
Surprisingly, Leonardi DiCaprio appears to have 45% more credits as a producer than as an actor, according to Venture Smarter’s study. He owns Appian Way – the company production behind 157 titles, including iconic films like The Wolf of Wallstreet, Shutter Island and The Ides of March. DiCaprio has $7.63 billion to his name in box office revenues alone for titles he was personally credited for. This Hollywood heavyweight has so far amassed an astonishing 102 awards and 63 nominations. DiCaprio is currently working on The Devil in the White City – a TV mini-series he is personally co-producing with cinema giant Martin Scorsese. The project has just reached the pre-production phase, being filmed at Paramount, under the flagship of ABC and DiCaprio’s Appian Way.
Will Smith is the third most prolific actor-producer in Hollywood. With 130 credits for acting and 86 – for producing, Will Smith appears to have been one of the few promising actors to pioneer the double-function role early on in their career. He created Overbrook Entertainment with James Lassiter in 1998, whose first film was Wild Wild West. The company went on to work on a total of 393 titles, including Hancock, which grossed $629m; I am Legend, reported to have earned $585m; and The Pursuit of Happyness. With 96 awards won and 185 nominations under his belt, Will Smith brought at least $9.78 billion in box office revenues for all the titles he is personally credited for.
Viola Davis is the biggest actor-producer in Hollywood among women. She appears in 109 titles as an actor and in 41 – as a producer. With a remarkable 118 awards won and 232 nominations, Viola Davis has set up her own company called JuVee Productions. Though set up much later than the production companies created by her male counterparts, JuVee Productions is already credited for 47 titles. Viola Davis is worth at least $3.57 billion in reported box office revenues.
Other noteworthy actor-producers include Jackie Chan, George Clooney, Danny Glover,
Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and Taika Waititi. All of the top 10 actor-producers in Hollywood head their own production companies and have spent at least a fifth of their careers as producers.
A spokesperson for Venture Smarter commented on the findings: “Being an actor and a producer marries very well now in Hollywood – likely the strongest kind of marriage showbiz has ever seen. Gone are the days when actors were entirely at the mercy of cinema moguls.
A producer’s job involves managing a project and, maybe trickiest of all, attracting the necessary funding to make it all possible. Actors have moved away from being a piece in someone else’s puzzle to using their household names to bring much-needed credibility to a project and, with that, pocket the profits themselves.”
The study was commissioned by Venture Smarter, a California-based business consulting firm, based on data from IMDb and Box Office Mojo.