Warner Bros. got its due at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, consolidation be damned.
The studio behind the “Harry Potter” franchise, Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy and vintage classics like “Rebel Without a Cause” was recognized on stage at Sunday’s Oscars in observance of its 100th birthday. “Barbie” star Margot Robbie and “The Shawshank Redemption” star Morgan Freeman hit the Dolby Theatre stage to cue up a sizzle reel highlighting Warner Bros.’ legacy.
It was a heartening gesture from Oscar producers to give Warners its due despite the show’s broadcast partner, the Disney-owned ABC. (Although, indeed, the spot was paid for by Warner Bros. Discovery.)
“I think we’re the greatest storytelling company in the world, and the Oscars is a night to celebrate the greatest stories,” Warner Bros. Discovery Chief David Zaslav told Variety on site at the awards. “Disney is also turning 100, so that’s two great storytelling companies. We root for each other.”
Robbie and Morgan cued up a sentimental video package, where Ingrid Bergman and Dooley Wilson of “Casablanca” were projected onto the iconic water tower on the Burbank Warners lot.
“Play it once, Sam, for old time’s sake,” says Bergman in the classic line delivery. Other films to get a shoutout were Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films, Christopher Reeves’ “Superman,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “North by Northwest,” “The Bodyguard” and “The Shining.”
Freeman’s booming voiceover called attention to “one studio and countless stories that have inspired a century, from epic adventures to legendary characters.”
More 100th anniversary celebrations are in store for Warner Bros. throughout the year. Watch the Oscars spot above.