Family & Companions
This executive and producer has long been associated with producer-director James L. Brooks. Sakai first met Brooks in 1977 while working as a go-fer at John Charles Walters Productions, the company behind the sitcom "Taxi" (ABC, 1978-82; NBC, 1982-83). During the shows run, he worked his way up to director and producer. In 1984, he joined Brooks' newly-formed production company Gracie Films and was eventually named as president. In that capacity, he oversaw a number of TV sitcoms, the Emmy-winning variety series "The Tracey Ullman Show" (Fox, 1987-90) and its Emmy-winning animated spin-off "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1990- ). Among the failed series he produced were "Sibs" (ABC, 1991-92) and "Phenom" (ABC, 1993-94).
Sakai has had better luck with his big screen projects. He served as executive in charge of production on the Oscar-nominated "Broadcast News" (1987), directed by James L Brooks, Penny Marshall's "Big" (1988) and Cameron Crowe's underrated "Say Anything" (1989). In 1996, he moved up to executive producer, handling those chores on the acclaimed but little seen "Bottle Rocket" and Crowe's highly successful "Jerry Maguire," which earned five Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture. He followed with Brooks' Oscar-nominated "As Good As It Gets" (1997) which teamed Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear.
Producer (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Producer (TV Mini-Series)
Began working with James L Brooks at John Charles Walters Productions
Joined Brooks' Gracie Films as president
Produced the limited run of the comedy "Shaping Up" (ABC)
Feature debut as executive in charge of production on Brooks' "Broadcast News"
Was one of the producers for "The Simpsons"
First features as executive producer, "Bottle Rocket" and "Jerry Maguire"; shared in Best Picture Oscar nomination for the latter
Was executive producer for Brooks' Oscar-nominated "As Good As It Gets"