After winning five Oscars between “Spotlight” and “The Revenant,” Anonymous Content may want to think about changing its name, because it is hardly anonymous anymore.
The production/management company co-founded in 1999 by Steve Golin had a banner night on Sunday at the Oscars, where Open Road’s “Spotlight” took home prizes for Best Picture and original screenplay (Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy), while Fox’s “The Revenant” won best director (Alejandro G. Inarritu), actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki).
Not only was Golin the only double nominee for Best Picture this year, but Anonymous Content recently became the first production company to win Best Picture (“The Revenant”) and Best TV Series (“Mr. Robot“) at the Golden Globes.
It was around 11 p.m. when the 60-year-old Golin arrived at the “Spotlight” after-party at Palihouse, where he received a hero’s welcome. The look on Golin’s face as he descended the stairs to catcalls and cheers was absolutely priceless. It was the look of a man who had finally reached the top of the Hollywood mountain after more than 32 years in the business.
It’s difficult to produce a Best Picture nominee, let alone two in a single year, but Anonymous Content managed to accomplish that impressive feat. It wasn’t always so easy, though.
Anonymous rose from the ashes of Golin’s Propaganda Films, a music video and commercial production company that discovered future A-listers such as David Fincher, Michael Bay, Spike Jonze and Gore Verbinski.
When Anonymous moved into feature film, the company got off to a hot start with Michel Gondry‘s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which won an Oscar for best original screenplay. Two years later, Golin earned his first Oscar nomination for producing Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Babel,” which really put the company on the movie map with its worldwide gross of $135 million.
Over the next decade, Anonymous continued to establish its identity, and for every awards hopeful that stumbled like “Rendition” or “The Fifth Estate,” there was a pleasant surprise such as “Winter’s Bone,” which also made a star out of a young, largely unknown actress named Jennifer Lawrence.
“Winter’s Bone” is just one example of the risks that have come to define Anonymous Content as the company buildt its creative reputation. Even with Leonardo DiCaprio starring, “The Revenant” was a risky movie to produce given its budget, and “Spotlight” was also a risk since the movie takes on one of the world’s largest, most powerful institutions in the world — the Catholic Church.
On the small screen, Anonymous built a hit show, “Mr. Robot,” around Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek, while its ambitious “True Detective” series brought A-list actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson to the small screen under the direction of its brilliant client Nic Pizzolatto. Anonymous counts Steven Soderbergh‘s “The Knick” and Showtime’s groundbreaking LGBT series “The L Word” among its impressive TV credits.
Anonymous currently has Open Road’s star-studded crime thriller “Triple 9” in theaters, and upcoming films include the Idris Elba thriller “Bastille Day” and “The Waiting” starring Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist and James Caan.
On the TV side, Anonymous is behind the upcoming Epix series “Berlin Station” starring Richard Jenkins, Richard Armitage and Rhys Ifans. In a major coup, the company nabbed newly-minted Oscar winner Tom McCarthy to direct the first two episodes of its new Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” executive produced by Selena Gomez.
Anonymous manages an enviable list of actors, including Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Paul Dano and Patrick Stewart, along with TV stars Robin Wright, Melissa Benoist, Anna Faris, Beth Behrs, Austin Butler and Joshua Jackson.
But the company truly prides itself on its roster of international filmmakers, which includes Edgar Wright, Guy Ritchie, Morten Tyldum, Jose Padilha, Gavin Hood, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Cedric Jimenez, Fede Alvarez, Michael Roskam and Haifaa Al-Mansour.
That group compliments American directors such as Steven Soderbergh, Bill Condon, Cary Fukunaga, Tim Miller, Marc Webb, Nate Parker, female filmmakers Patty Jenkins, Ondi Timoner and Lesli Linka Glatter and budding VR director Chris Milk.
“We’re in business with a lot of directors — we have a huge roster here. I do come from a director background, from film school, TV commercials, music videos. Once you find the material, the director is the most important hire,” Golin told TheWrap in January.
“The hardest part of this business is finding great material, so the writers are obviously key, but then the trick is, ‘Who is the filmmaker?’ A good filmmaker will attract really good actors and then the money takes care of itself. If you can put together a package with a good piece of material, a director, the actors — financing is the easiest part.”