9:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Ted Sarandos Hosts Virtual Netflix Holiday Toast With George Clooney and More Stars
If 2020 were any other year, Ted Sarandos would have opened up his Hancock Park home to host a bevy of A-list stars and industry insiders for an annual holiday toast. But with COVID-19 putting a damper on large gatherings, Netflix invited everyone online for the first virtual toast from the co-CEO and chief content officer, in which he doubled down on the power of storytelling.
"As Guillermo del Toro described it best: What this year has shown us is that all we need to survive is simply food, water and stories," said Sarandos, holding a glass of G.H. Mumm champagne, before nodding to breakout hit Tiger King. "We saw stories provide the much-needed escape to both fictional worlds and real worlds. You know, the ones that are stranger than fiction about exotic zookeepers?"
He thanked all of his teams — awards, marketing, publicity and content — and singled out top executives Bela Bajaria, Scott Stuber and Melissa Cobb. “Thank you for finding these great stories a home at Netflix. And of course, thanks to all of you for letting Netflix be part of your life this year. I can't wait for all the stories we're going to tell together in 2021.”
The brief program included Laura Pausini performing the Diane Warren-penned “lo Sí (Seen)” from the Sophia Loren starrer The Life Ahead, as well as holiday greetings from the streamer’s stable of talent. Those who appeared via a video montage included George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Viola Davis and Anya Taylor-Joy, among many others. "Let's get on to 2021," said Clooney.
A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.