Lee Daniels's clout has been rising since 2009, when Precious, his tour de force slice of urban miserabilism, scored six Oscar nods, including Best Picture and Best Director for Daniels. In 2013, his civil rights saga The Butler raked in $176 million. Now, with Fox's booming series Empire, the writer-producer-director is more influential than ever, reshaping the way America views diversity by boldly addressing race and sexual orientation on network TV. As of press time, Empire averaged 14.5 million total viewers, who'll be hungry for the show's second season, greenlit after only two episodes.
SLIDESHOW | Out's 9th Annual Power List