The list of MacArthur fellows (commonly known as the genious grants) has been announced. Each will receive $500,000 over the next five years. Nightline Upclose is doing a show Wednesday night on some of the Fellows. An overview is online with links to more detailed bios (which unfortunately don't have many links to more information, so I will provide some for people I am familiar with).
George Lewis is a composer, trombonist and expert on computer music. He as worked with Laurie Anderson (including playing on Big Science), Count Basie, Miya Masaoka, and John Zorn.
Edgar Meyer is a bass player and composer who works in jazz, folk, country, and classical. He has won several Grammys including for Appalachian Journey and his most recent album features Yo-Yo Ma and Joshua Bell.
Stanley Nelson makes amazing documentaries including The Black Press (which I reviewed in 1999), Marcus Garvey, and Running on the 2001 NYC City Council election. His documentary on the murder of Emmet Till will air on American Experience on PBS on January 20th. They issued a press release with a comment from Nelson on being named a fellow.