Who Won the Oscars: Equities Edition

Michael Teague  |

Seth McFarlane may well have been the most exciting thing about Sunday’s Oscars, doing the best he could to loosen up the attendees with his incisive with and tendency to casually scandalize. That said, this year’s awards had to be split up between a number of very serious and worthy contenders. While they awards and celebrities associated with these films are what usually make up the appeal of the Oscars awards, it should not be forgotten that they would have a tough time seeing the light of day without all the funding and support that come from the production companies and studios that create and release them.

Here is a partial list of Sunday’s big winners and the companies/studios who were responsible for their making it to the big screen:

Ang Lee’s screen adaptation of the Yann Martel novel “Life of Pi”, perhaps one of the most introspective films of Sundays nominees, came away with four Oscars. A subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp (NWS), the Fox 2000 pictures release was perhaps not as controversial as some of the other films that won awards on Sunday, but it came away with more Oscars that any of the other nominees, topping the categories of best director, score, cinematography and visual effects.

Ben Affleck and George Clooney’s somewhat more controversial film, Argo, came in second with three Oscars, winning best picture, editing, and adapted screen-play. Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Inc. (TWX), released the film about the hostage crisis that took place at the American embassy in Tehran during 1979 Iranian revolution.  Above all else this film was remarkable for how it recreated the atmosphere of terror and paranoia that was to become a daily feature of life in Iran throughout the early years of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s rule, as he liquidated his enemies and consolidated power.

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Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s timeless 19th century epic masterpiece, also scored three awards, in the categories of best supporting actress (Anne Hathaway), best makeup and hairstyling, and best sound mixing. The film was released by Universal Pictures, a subsidiary of NBC Universal, which is currently owned jointly by Comcast (CMCSA) and General Electric (GE), although the two companies have just concluded a deal in which Comcast will buy out GE’s shares and assume complete ownership.

Django Unchained and Lincoln tied for third with two awards each.  Both films were controversial in their own ways, the first being yet another boisterously violent creation of the prolific and mercurial Quentin Tarrantino.  Released by Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Corp. (SNE) and the private motion picture studio The Weinstein Company, the film captured awards for best supporting actor (Christopher Waltz), and best original screenplay (Quentin Tarrantino).  Lincoln won for best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and best production design, was produced by Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Studios, a subsidiary of the private conglomerate Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, and released by Touchstone Pictures, itself a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (DIS).

Other films of note were the winners for best foreign film, Michael Hanneke’s typically extremely challenging treatment of love and death, Amour, produced by Canal+, a subsidiary of the French Canal+ Group, and released in the U.S. once again by Sony.

Finally, it was somewhat surprising to see the extremely controversial and polarizing Zero Dark Thirty walk away with only a best sound editing award.  The film was produced and released by Megan Ellison’s privately-owned Annapurna Pictures.

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