2015 is coming to an end, and it has been an incredible year for Greeks in entertainment!
Singers, actors, filmmakers, composers and others of Greek descent have achieved and been recognized for some truly amazing work, making big news in the competitive world of Hollywood.
Below we list some of the talented Greek entertainers who made headlines this year:
Greek-Australian singer Vassy has been making music for a while, and in 2015 she reached the top of the dance music world. Not only did she release the mega-hit song “Secrets” with superstar DJ Tiesto (which we interviewed her about), she was also recognized as the “Best Featured Vocalist” in the EDM Scene by the IDMA Awards. DJs all over the world are lining up for a chance to team up with Vassy, so we can be sure to expect even more from here in 2016.
2. Tina Fey
As one of the funniest ladies in Hollywood, Tina Fey has been working on-screen and behind the scene for years. This year she produced the unexpected Netflix hit “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, starring Ellie Kemper, and her new movie with Amy Poehler “Sisters” just premiered this weekend.
3. John Stamos
John Stamos may have risen to fame as handsome Uncle Jessie in “Full House”, but since the end of the show in the mid-90s he has been off the radar for most major productions. That all changed in 2015, as John Stamos is now leading two huge shows, the new FOX show “Grandfathered” and the Netflix sequel “Fuller House”. Critics and fans love his performance in “Grandfathered”, and it looks like he will have some long years in TV ahead of him.
Young Greek-American actress Elena Kampouris had few credits before being chosen as Nia Vardalos’ on-screen daughter for the highly anticipated sequel to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Kambouris plays the daughter of Ian (John Corbett) and Toula (Nia Vardalos), and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” shows plenty of her comic struggles dealing with such a large, close-knit family.
Those who didn’t know this wrestler-turned-actor’s name in past years will certainly know it now, after Dave Bautista got cast as the dangerous henchman in the new James Bond film “Spectre”. Bautista’s previous supporting role in “Guardians of the Galaxy” helped him break further into the film world this year, and to top off his good fortune, he got married in 2015 as well! Watch our interview (above) from the Hollywood premiere of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Besides hosting his show “Amazing Adventures of a Nobody” on National Geographic International, world traveler Leon Logothetis started the viral #GoBeKind campaign this year to promote acts of kindness throughout the country. He launched a US tour and social media campaign to urge others to help out those in need and #GoBeKind.
George Miller returned to the “Mad Max” series this year and unleashed the smash hit “Mad Max: Fury Road”, which stunned critics and audiences all over the world. The film starts A-listers Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, and involves original storytelling as well as amazing action sequences. Miller and his film, have been nominated for Best Director and Best Motion Picture at the upcoming Golden Globes. Watch our interview with the Greek-Australian director, where he talks about his upbringing in a Greek family, his films, and his feelings on the environment.
The prestigious Hollywood film composer Alexandre Desplat won an Academy Award at the 2015 ceremony, after he had been nominated twice for the category, once for his work on “Grand Budapest Hotel” (for which he won), and for his work on “The Imitation Game”. Desplat had been nominated eight times in the past, and continues to be a Hollywood favorite for his beautiful film scores. He is nominated again at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards for the original score of “The Danish Girl.”
Documentary filmmaker Louie Psihoyos debuted his movie “Racing Extinction” at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and it was picked up by the Discovery Channel shortly after. The film focuses on the rapid extinction of species happening in the present day, and urges a bigger movement towards conservation and limiting the negative effects of humans on the environment.
10. Betty Cantrell
Though her name might not appear Greek, the Greek-German Betty Cantrell from the state of Georgia was crowned Miss America in 2016. Betty, better known as Vasiliki to her family and friends, remains very loyal to her Greek roots, as she sings in her Greek Orthodox church choir and is part of a Greek dance group. Her singing talents helped her clinch the title of Miss America, as she wowed the judges with an operatic song from “Madame Butterfly”.
11. Nassos Vakalis
This Emmy-winning Greek-American animator is a rising force in Hollywood, as he debuted the short “Dinner For Few” in LA this year, before it went on to win awards in over 50 film festivals around the world! The animated short film has also achieved elegibility for the Oscars in the respective category. Nassos Vakalis‘ work may be animated, but the content is serious, as his short brings the Greek crisis to life. We got an exclusive interview with Vakalis on his work and his connection to Greece this year, and we will keep following him to see how his work will be honored next!