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Shareif Ziyadat—Getty Images
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Ryan Coogler

  • Title
    Film director
  • Affiliation-

This is the year that catapulted Coogler from Sundance sweetheart to box-office boss, thanks to the triumphant success of Black Panther. The superhero pic is the 33rd film in U.S. history to surpass $1 billion in sales—and the first with a predominantly black cast to do so. (It’s also the highest-grossing film ever directed by an African-American.) Coogler helped persuade studio execs to embrace a movie whose Afrocentric story and aesthetic departed from formulas, proving that there’s not just an appetite for diverse storytelling—there’s a hunger for it. (Read Fortune‘s Q&A with Coogler.)

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