Thursday, June 20, 2024

Oscar ‘Winners’: Big Studios, Woody Allen, Oracle Daughter, Philomena


Megan Ellison is no longer “the daughter of Oracle Founder Larry Ellison.” Her Annapurna Productions, just a couple of years old, has two Oscar nominees for Best Picture: “Her” and “American Hustle.” Not yet 30 years old, Ellison is Hollywood’s hottest young star, exhibiting excellent taste and savvy business acumen. She’s also one of the easiest people to work with, accessible and smart.

The Academy didn’t care about Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow’s ridiculous attempts to hurt Woody Allen. He picked up Best Original Screenplay for Blue Jasmine. Plus, his two actresses, Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins, were nominated in lead and supporting. Bravo Woody! What’s Mia’s next move after trying to derail Woody by intimating Ronan was Frank Sinatra’s son? No one wants to hear it.

“Philomena” is the great dark horse. The Stephen Frears- directed film is a Best Picture nominee. Judi Dench is nominated for Best Actress. Steve Coogan has a screenplay nomination. The movie is over $20 mil at the box office. And everyone loves the movie. Dench has never done press in the US, too. No campaigning. She’s in India shooting Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Part 2.

The big winners are the big studios. Sue Kroll took Warner Bros’ “Gravity” and “Her” and turned them into gold. The Paramount team was relentless about “Wolf” and “Nebraska.” Sony played “American Hustle” and “Capt Phillips” beautifully. The toughest loss: “Inside Llewyn Davis” was marketed beautifully, but CBS Films is still new to the game. And the movie was very quirky. Still, I loved it and hope people see it.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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