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Fri, 25 Nov 2011 21:34:21 GMT | By Kim Linekin
Famous Oscar feuds

Miramax vs. Universal

Miramax vs. Universal (© Getty Images/Miramax Films/DAVID JAMES/AFP)
  • Mickey Rourke vs. Sean Penn (© Wireimage)
  • Miramax vs. Universal (© Getty Images/Miramax Films/DAVID JAMES/AFP)
  • Hilary Swank vs. Annette Bening (©
  • Jennifer Aniston vs. Brangelina (© Wireimage)
  • Spike Lee vs. Clint Eastwood (© Wireimage)
  • Debra Winger vs. Shirley Maclaine (© Wireimage/AP Photo)
  • Shirley MacLaine vs. Warren Beatty (© AP Photo/Mario Suriani)
  • Joan Fontaine vs. Olivia de Havilland (© Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection)
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In 1998, Miramax lobbied so hard for "Shakespeare in Love" to win Best Picture that they spent a reported $15 million US to schmooze Academy voters. That works out to a whopping $5,000 per person. The film to beat that year was DreamWorks' "Saving Private Ryan," which Miramax prez Harvey Weinstein told voters was "mediocre" at best. DreamWorks couldn't ignore Miramax's Oscar clout so they grudgingly spent the same amount on "Ryan." When "Shakespeare" won, you'd think Miramax would've been happy to gloat for a bit. But a few years later, the feud got down and dirty. Miramax wanted "In the Bedroom" to win, so they allegedly spread rumours that the subject of DreamWorks' "A Beautiful Mind" was an anti-Semite. When DreamWorks cried foul, Miramax had the cajones to say that it was DreamWorks spreading these rumours in order to make Miramax look bad. "A Beautiful Mind" won in the end, but the Academy decided it was time to set tougher rules about studio marketing. So the feud went underground. In 2005, it seemed like there was a campaign on to spoil the surprise ending of Best Picture contender "Million Dollar Baby." Miramax, which was pushing "Finding Neverland" that year, again pleaded innocent. "Million Dollar Baby" won. Hmm, maybe DreamWorks is the evil mastermind behind these campaigns after all.