In a tumultuous year during a global pandemic, Ryan Murphy encouraged a widespread audience to seek a new day of hope in 2020. His passion for storytelling through various mediums of entertainment uplifted, educated and inspired many people throughout the world.
Let me preface by saying I’ve never met Ryan Murphy, although I sat near him several years ago at the Emmy Awards. I remember looking at him with respect and awe—for I hold people like Ryan in the same vein as Oprah Winfrey, Dolly Parton, Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, Aaron Sorkin, and Mark Wahlberg. They are all hard workers who have achieved their success through strenuous years of labor, dedication and strong work ethic. I greatly admire and honor Ryan’s passion for creating quality content, his savvy business acumen, his mission for inspiring the world through entertainment and his impressive philanthropic endeavors.
Achieving a monumental deal with Netflix in 2018, Ryan embarked on creating compelling stories for his growing media empire. His background in journalism and his compassion for humanity and social change inspired his slate of narratives, making him one of the most powerful showrunners of Hollywood. Fortunately, many fruits of his labor were delivered in a year we longed for positive distraction, allowing us to briefly set our troubles aside and dive into the whimsical worlds created by Ryan Murphy.
From a heart-tugging documentary to nostalgic glimpses of Broadway as well as a love-letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Ryan partnered with acting veterans and newcomers to produce some of the most entertaining stories of the year.
Many of his themes and eclectic character arcs center around humanity, truth and love. Ryan astonishingly wrote, directed, and/or produced the following released in 2020: Hollywood, Ratched, A Secret Love, The Politician, The Prom, The Boys in the Band, 9-1-1, and 9-1-1: Lone Star.
a cinematic celebration of post-World War II Hollywood, where aspiring actors and filmmakers are eager and persistent to make all of their dreams come true. Starring Darren Criss, Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor, Samara Weaving, Patti LuPone, David Corenswet, Laura Harrier, Joe Mantello, Jake Picking, and Jeremy Pope. Netflix.
a psychological thriller that tells the prequel story of asylum nurse Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson) from Saul Zaentz’s 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Starring Sarah Paulson, Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon, Jon Jon Briones, Charlie Carver, Judy Davis, and Sharon Stone. Netflix
A Secret Love
a heart-rending documentary of a former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player (Terry Donahue) and her partner (Pat Henschel) who ran a successful interior decorating business, while keeping their lesbian relationship a secret from their families and friends for almost seven decades. Starring Terry Donahue, Pat Henschel, and Diana Bolen. Netflix.
Season 2, Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), now a student at New York University, will navigate the treacherous political landscape and run for a seat in the New York State Senate against incumbent Majority Leader Dede Standish (Judith Light). Starring Ben Platt, Judith Light, Better Midler, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lucy Boynton, Zoey Deutch, Julia Schlaepfer, and Laura Dreyfuss. Netflix.
an effervescent musical about egocentric theater stars who embark upon a small conservative Indiana community to support a high school girl’s mission to take her girlfriend to prom. Starring Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose, Kerry Washington and Jo Ellen Pellman. Netflix.
The Boys in the Band
Joe Mantello’s film adaptation of Mart Crowly’s 1968 play of the same name, featuring a unapologetic portrayal of gay men in the late 1960’s. Starring the Tony Award winning cast Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchinson, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkins. Netflix.
a procedural following the lives of Los Angeles first responders: police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and dispatchers. Starring Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds, Kenneth Choi, Rockmond Dunbar, and Ryan Guzman. Fox.
9-1-1: Lone Star
a procedural following the fire, police and ambulance departments in Austin, Texas. Starring Rob Lowe, Gina Torres, Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain, Jim Parrack, Natacha Karam, Brian Michael Smith, Rafael Silva, and Julian Works. Fox.
Ryan continues to work on an array of upcoming projects debuting in 2021. New seasons of 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star will be produced for Fox, in addition to potentially releasing the new season of American Horror Story and Impeachment: American Crime Story, the highly anticipated narrative about former President Bill Clinton’s love affair with Monica Lewinsky, for FX.
In addition to his contributions for TV and film, I admire Ryan’s humanitarian efforts. Ryan advocates for the fight against AIDS. He also launched the Half Initiative in 2017, a hiring program encouraging a more inclusive Hollywood by creating equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera. Another project includes his Half-Director Mentorship Program, in which every director of Ryan’s shows mentors emerging women and minority directors through the process of pre-production and post-production. Ryan’s heart and mission of giving back are evident within his compassion for others and his extraordinary life work.
Ryan’s remarkable talent and passion for storytelling have been well-received throughout the years, earning him 6 Primetime Emmy Awards (of 32 nominations) as a producer, writer and director; 1 Golden Globe Award as a producer; 2 Grammy Award nominations as a producer; and 1 Tony Award (out of 2 nominations) as a producer. This weekend, Ryan will be recognized at The Golden Globes with 6 nominations for Hollywood, Ratched, and The Prom. The 78th Golden Globes airs this Sunday, February 28th at 7pm ET/4pm PT on NBC.
It’s clear that Ryan Murphy has just begun his epic journey as one of the most acclaimed Hollywood producers/writers/directors in history, with the help of sensational talent, astute directors, and brilliant, like-minded collaborators. I wish him all the success in the world and am excited to watch his unique life story unfold. Perhaps again one day, I’ll run into him at the Emmy’s and thank him for his inspiration of work ethic and optimal achievement!