Ted Sarandos Hosts Virtual Netflix Holiday Toast With George Clooney and More Stars

Ted Sarandos
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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.