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Oscars May Give News Corp. a Much-Needed Boost

The Academy Awards may give News Corp. the most-needed revenue following an abysmal year at the box office through increased viewership of its two best picture-nominated films —“The Descendants” and “Tree of Life.”

Oscar Awards
AP
Oscar Awards

Walt Disney , which also had a down year in 2011, could also use an Oscar lift for its two best picture nominees: “The Help” and “War Horse.”

Viacom , whose Paramount unit ran away with the 2011 box office crown, will only add to its coffers after “Hugo” garnered the most Oscar nominations on Tuesday with 11, including best picture and best director categories. The Martin Scorsese picture was among the few disappointments at the box office for Paramount.
News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox unit finished last among the six major studios, bringing in just $978 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo. Paramount Pictures had its highest grossing year ever in 2011, raking in $1.96 billion at the domestic box office, according to the Hollywood research site.

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Silent movie “The Artist,” distributed by the private Weinstein Co., is the runaway favorite to win best picture, with wagers on Intrade.com putting its odds of winning at 71 percent. The George Clooney-directed “The Descendants,” which was distributed by News Corp.’s Fox Searchlight brand, is a distant second favorite at 20 percent. Traders give “Tree of Life” virtually no chance at winning.

The other best picture nominees were Sony’s “Moneyball” and “Midnight in Paris,” along with Warner Bros.’ “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”

Disney finished behind Time Warner’s Warner Brothers and Sony’s Sony/Columbia pictures in 2011’s box office race, beating out just Comcast’s Universal and Paramount, according to Box Office Mojo.

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