Before we get listing, I thought I'd just mention Blender's End of Year Album List. Now, I've never been a big follower of Blender, and read through their list and you'll see why. First, look at the lay-out: that's no way to write a list! Everyone knows that number one is the last number you want to see! Also, and probably slightly more important - the list features some truly average albums. Right up to, and including the number one spot. Where are Fleet Foxes, Q magazine's number two? Where are Elbow, Kings Of Leon, Goldfrapp, The Raconteurs? I give up. I really do. But... vital people in Hollywood? There are plenty around, but these five are the cream of the crop by my count...
5. Seth Rogen
The freshest comedy talent in years, even after a ridiculously prolific two years (ten films since 2007, seven of which were this year alone), he still remains a key force in the revitalisation of American comedy. Throwing himself around the kids films too, he's appeared in both Kung-Fu Panda and Horton Hears A Who, as well as adding his name to the best-voiced kids film in a long while - the curious Monsters vs. Aliens. My goodness, I'm sorted for a year in the cinema based of Rogen's releases alone in 2009.
4. Casey Affleck
I watched The Usual Suspects the other day, and it was so exciting to watch a fantastic actor like Kevin Spacey in the prime of his acting career - though consistently excellent I don't place any Spacey performance higher than that one. It seemed that his natural successor would be the sublime Edward Norton, who shines in every role he plays. But now it would seem the tides have shifted again, and a put forward a new name for the title of Best Actor In The World Right Now, and that name is Casey Affleck's. Have you seen The Assassination of Jesse James? Have you seen Gone Baby Gone? In the last two years or so he's launched himself from so-so roles in Ocean 11 and sequels to the most vital actor around. His next to roles, directed by Ridley Scott and Michael Winterbottom respectively, look equally exciting: an amnesiac who falls for his mobster boss' girlfriend and a deputy sheriff unmasked as a 'psychotic killer'. Don't watch his face, just watch his movies.
3. Judd Apatow
It'd be cheating to have both Rogen and Apatow on this list were it not for the surprisingly large catologue of releases Apatow always seems to have up his sleeve - many of which at great odds with Rogen's brand of comedy. Par example: Apatow is behind the production of Ghostbusters 3 - a film Rogen's quoted as being a stupid idea. Still, the two are working on Funny People together, which could prove to be the first great Adam Sandler film. Could be.
2. Clint Eastwood
Even after quitting acting Eastwood holds a high position on the list. Why? Well, first of all there's Changeling, which, though I am yet to see it, has had nothing but great reviews. Then there's Gran Torino - Clint's last role, and a fantastic looking one at that... Even if he's quit acting, we still have directing. Three of his films hold Top 250 spots on IMDB, and Changeling may soon add to that.
1. John Lasseter
The King of Animation, John Lasseter represents all that is great about animation today. Wall-E was a landmark in film as a whole, not least in animation. So vital to animation is Lasseter that since Meet The Robinsons the producer/director has been involved in all of Disney's modern 'animated classics'. This means that the excellent-looking Bolt and the 2D animation The Princess and the Frog are both influenced by him. And, while all this is going on, he's still producing Pixar's first two 3D films - 'Up', which looks to be the most beautiful Pixar film yet, and Toy Story 3, which frankly just makes me excited in disturbing ways. Ahem.