Oscar Icons: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Akiva Goldsman

Art Streiber

“A Beautiful Mind,” best picture (Rob Howard, Brian Grazer), best director (Ron Howard), best adapted screenplay (Akiva Goldsman)

Ron Howard insists winning Oscars in 2002 for directing and producing A Beautiful Mind (with Brian Grazer) didn’t change things professionally. “You still have to make your case for each and every movie,” he says. But it did have an impact on how he was perceived. Until then, Howard, now 56, was most often recognized in public for the television roles he played (Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days), but after his win, “people on the street were talking to me about my work as a director,” he adds. “Somehow, it took me standing at a podium with a golden boy for it to really land that I actually was making movies more than anything else.” Grazer, 59, for his part, felt an Oscar bump immediately. “It helped us to get more quality material,” he says. “It helped me get Inside Man made, 8 Mile made and American Gangster made. It helped movies get made that didn’t present gigantic victories at the end because normally Hollywood wants to see a huge triumph. These movies were smaller, personal triumphs.” Still, even for Oscar winners, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, 48, says Hollywood has short-term memory. But the writer-producer, who will adapt Stephen King’s The Dark Tower for Howard and Grazer, says he is still exhilarated by the win: “You go up and down based on your ability to execute the last few things. It’s being celebrated by your peers. It’s a feeling that you are part of a community that is exciting to be part of.”

Photographed by Art Streiber on Feb. 17 at Imagine Entertainment in Beverly Hills