Paul Thomas Anderson

Anderson is the filmmaker responsible for modern classics like Boogie Nights and Magnolia.

The son of voiceover star Ernie Anderson, PT grew up in the capital of the porn world, the San Fernando Valley, which would later serve as inspiration for his film Boogie Nights. After graduating high school, Anderson gave NYU film school a try but dropped out soon after. In 1993 he shot his first film, a short called Cigarettes & Coffee. The film earned enough positive buzz at Sundance to allow him to make his first feature, 1996's Hard Eight. He started working on music videos right around the same time, directing his then-girlfriend Fiona Apple. But the industry didn't recognize him as a genuine talent until 1997, when he released the porn-industry epic Boogie Nights. Nominated for three Oscars, the pic turned Anderson into one of the hottest young directors in Hollywood. He followed it up with the equally sprawling and ambitious Magnolia, the quirky Adam Sandler dramedy Punch-Drunk Love, and Daniel Day Lewis' triumph in There Will Be Blood.

Anderson's signature style of wide-ranging plots and ensemble casts has earned him comparisons to Robert Altman over the years, but he also has a knack for casting major stars in surprising roles. He perfectly cast Tom Cruise as a misogynistic motivational speaker in Magnolia, and turned Adam Sandler into a hapless weirdo in Punch-Drunk Love. Anderson is currently punch-drunk in love with Saturday Night Live's Maya Rudolph; the two have two daughters and a son. [Image via Getty]