Lee Daniels is an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker whose work is trademarked by authenticity and candor, providing audiences with a unique and refreshing experience with each of his projects. In 2013 he released the critically acclaimed box office smash LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER, an epic drama set against the tumultuous political backdrop of 20th century America that tells the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), an African American butler who served at the White House during seven presidential administrations between 1957 and 1986. The film, released in August 2013, held the number one box office spot for three consecutive weeks and has to date grossed over $175million worldwide.
Daniels is widely known for his Academy Award winning film PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE, in 2009. PRECIOUS was nominated for six Academy Awards, including nominations for Daniels in the category of "Achievement in Directing" and "Best Motion Picture of the Year, and wins in the categories of “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.”
Daniels was the first African American to be nominated for the Director's Guild of America Award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film" on behalf of PRECIOUS. It was also nominated for three Golden Globe awards including "Best Picture Drama," and was nominated for eight NAACP Image Awards, six of which it won, in categories including "Outstanding Motion Picture" and "Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture, Theatrical or Television.”
Lee Daniels is set to direct the highly-anticipated Billie Holiday film starring Andra Day and written by Suzan-Lori Parks this fall, with several other films in development.
In 2001, Daniels’ production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, made its feature film debut with MONSTER'S BALL, making Daniels the sole African-American producer of an Oscar®-winning and Oscar®-nominated film. Daniels, in 2004, also produced THE WOODSMAN which received Special Recognition for Excellence in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review. SHADOWBOXER marked Daniels’ directorial debut, hitting the big screen in 2005. In 2012, Daniels premiered his next film THE PAPERBOY, which he wrote, directed, and also produced, at the Cannes Film Festival.
Daniels’ most recent work includes the hit television series EMPIRE for FOX. This one hour family drama is set in the world of a hip-hop empire that features both original and contemporary music. EMPIRE set records for viewership in its debut and continues to receive acclaim across the board. He also created the show STAR featuring Queen Latifah and a cast of up and coming musicians for FOX.
In 2015, Daniels went on to sign an overall development deal with Fox television, where he continues to create develop, write, direct and supervise new projects under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner. Current projects include GOOD PEOPLE, SAMMY DAVIS JR miniseries, SUPERBITCH, THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR, MS PAT, and MASON DIXON.
In addition to his successful film career, Daniels is also a passionate advocate and philanthropist. Daniels sits on numerous boards including Ghetto Film School, a non-profit which helps to educate, develop, and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers. Daniels is also a longtime LGBT activist, as well as a strong supporter of many charitable organizations.