Peter Jackson

Though he began his career making gory and often witty horror comedies in his native New Zealand, director Peter Jackson went on to become one of the most successful and innovative filmmakers of his generation. Jackson first earned a reputation for churning stomachs with the bizarre and bloody B-movies "Bad Taste" (1987), "Meet the Feebles" (1990) and "Dead Alive" (1993). Beautifully filmed and acted, the based-on-fact crime-drama "Heavenly Creatures" (1994) stunned critics and earned Jackson unexpected credibility in Hollywood. Defying all odds, the filmmaker - a lifelong admirer of J.R.R. Tolkien's works - managed the incredibly daunting feat of bringing the author's "Lord of the Rings" (2001-03) universe to life in a trio of epic installments. Breaking box office records and earning scores of Academy Awards, including Best Picture for "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003), the films were unequivocal cinematic achievements. Jackson next tackled another childhood obsession with his ambitious remake of "King Kong" (2005) then once again perplexed audiences when he chose to adapt the best-selling novel "The Lovely Bones" (2009). As admirable as these endeavors were, it was the realm of Middle-earth that fans yearned for him to return to, which he eventually did with "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012), the first in yet another trilogy of fantasy adventures based on Tolkien's novel. Known for his boundless imagination and flare for the fantastic, Jackson was also keenly in tune with the humanity inherent in every tale, making him one of cinema's most gifted and passionate storytellers.