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This story first appeared in the Jan. 10, 2013, issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When CNN ’s Candy Crowley dared to contradict Mitt Romney during the presidential debate she moderated, telling him he was wrong to state Barack Obama hadn’t mentioned terrorism in his initial comments on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, it wasn’t just a defining moment in the election; it was one of the defining moments of 2012.
She already had broken one rule: that debate moderators should be men (ideally white men, at that). Now she was breaking another, effectively implying moderators could and should step in when the facts are wrong — bloviators and critics be damned.
PHOTOS: 2012’s Biggest Rule Breakers: ‘Walking Dead,’ Psy, Quentin Tarantino and 7 Others Who Rocked the Status Quo
Her intervention didn’t just break a rule; it changed the rules. And that’s what this year’s great rule breakers have done. They’ve shown there’s no such thing as the “exception” to a rule. The rule itself must change — even if it’s one as simple as, “You can’t kill off your main character each week,” which The Walking Dead’s 10 million viewers happily defied.
Steven Spielberg committed his own act of defiance when he risked $65 million on a history lesson about the passage of the 13th Amendment, proving audiences were willing to spend more than $100 million on a talky period piece without robots, zombies or special effects. So did Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal when they took on one of the most controversial subjects of our time, dealing with such issues as torture and women inside the CIA , proving you can alienate both the left and the right — and still make a great film.
PHOTOS: Rule Breakers 2012: Photos of Oprah Winfrey, The Innovator
Those who break the rules might not always succeed, but those who don’t almost always fail. That’s one rule that remains infallible.
Read below for the full list:
A Humbled Oprah on Her Network’s Turnaround
“I’m not doing the hula yet …but compared to a year ago, it feels like a sigh of relief,” says Winfrey between sips of iced tea on her sprawling estate. She’s referring to the recent surge in relevance (and ratings) of her OWN cable network, which debuted two years earlier to a deluge of headlines about weak programming, management shake-ups and its honcho’s dwindling influence. Read more
Psy on Why President Obama Stopped Doing ‘Gangnam Style’
How does it feel to become an international pop star with a No. 1 hit practically overnight? To launch a dance craze embraced by toddlers and grandparents, presidents and talk-show hosts alike? To near 1 billion YouTube views, making it the most-watched video ever? For “Gangnam Style” star Psy (real name: Jaesang Park), he can sum up 2012 in two words: “Totally exhausted.” Since July, when the 34-year-old South Korean sensation debuted his zeitgeisty video mocking the trendy Seoul neighborhood and featuring an infectious galloping dance (he declined to perform it at THR’s shoot) with only one line in English (you know it: “Hey, sexy lady!”), Psy has been making daily appearances in cities around the world — be it a performance at the Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong or the White House’s annual Christmas in Washington benefit. Read more
The Unorthodox Relationship Between Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal
Shooting in a Jordanian prison, Jessica Chastain burst into tears. The set of Zero Dark Thirty, a gritty tale of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was proving unusually challenging. As the production hopscotched from Jordan to India to England to Pakistan, the cast and crew were frustrated not only by the difficult subject matter and a challenging, secretive environment but also by sometimes-conflicting instructions from director Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal. Read more
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