Mar 03 - The winning formula for the Oscars this year included not just big Hollywood stars, but big non-Hollywood money in starring roles. Bobbi Rebell reports.
**~ A magical Hollywood moment. "12 Years a Slave", winning best picture. Director Steve McQueen took to the mike- with a list of people to thank.. SOUNDBITE: STEVE MCQUEEN, DIRECTOR, "12 YEARS A SLAVE" (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Brad Pitt, without whom this film would not have been made, Dede Gardner, Jamie Kleiner, Anthony Katagas, River Road, Bill Pohlad..." Bill who? That's Bill Pohlad. His family owns the Minnesota Twins baseball team. He helped finance the film- and has been at the Oscars before with "Tree of Life". But wait- there's more. "Dallas Buyers Club"- which won acting awards for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto came together thanks in large part to a former minor league baseball player turned chemical trader named Joe Newcomb. Newcomb stepped in with his Black AmEx card, and got his friends in the oil and gas business to chip in- three days before shooting, after the original investors backed out. Hollywood outsiders are increasingly getting the money together to get projects off the ground. Of the nine films nominated for best picture- the majority received non-traditional Hollywood financing. The Hollywood Reporters' Stephen Galloway: SOUNDBITE: STEPHEN GALLOWAY, EXECUTIVE MANAGING EDITOR THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Dallas Buyers Club was around for years before they raised the money. But it only cost $5 million. I mean this is a blink in a studio's budget. And what it will make, which will be relatively small, is blink in their bottom line. The studios aren't in that game. So savvy, sharp, independent young producers who are hungry, and who are prepared to do the work to cobble together the money, which isn't easy, can actually do very well in that business. The studios aren't in that game anymore." He points out that while lots of money is lost in Hollywood, some investors, like Oracle Founder Larry Ellison's Daughter Megan, have had the golden touch. Oscar nominated "Zero Dark Thirty" already under her belt- this year she was at the Oscars to cheer on two films she backed- "American Hustle" and "Her". SOUNDBITE: STEPHEN GALLOWAY, EXECUTIVE MANAGING EDITOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Megan Ellison, daughter of Larry Ellison, Oracle founder, has a huge amount of money, and she is prepared to invest it. What's interesting is that she has chosen to invest it in the kind of films that studios are afraid to make. The mid-budget films, somewhere between $20 and $50 million that are largely adult oriented as opposed to teenage oriented. She has taken risks with films like "American Hustle" and "Her". Some of them pay off, some of them don't. "American Hustle" which cost around $41 million is going to be a huge hit and she will benefit from that. "Her" is going to be a flop and she will lose money because of it. What is interesting is that over years and over many films will her investments pan out?" Given her family's billions, it's a glamorous game Ellison and others like her can afford to play.