Studios go for gold with DVD sets

Fox, MGM and UA packages highlight Oscar winners

Every year, it seems, one studio takes the cake when it comes to promoting past Oscar winners on DVD to coincide with the current round of Oscar buzz.

This year, the envelope goes to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment, which have assembled an ambitious catalog campaign consisting of five DVD collections, three of them new, that showcase Academy Award winners from the Fox, MGM and United Artists catalogs.

The three new sets, available Tuesday, come with five films apiece, showcasing best picture, best actor and best actress winners from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The Fox best pictures set features "The French Connection," "The Sound of Music," "All About Eve," "Gentleman's Agreement" and "How Green Was My Valley."

The Fox best actors collection contains "Wall Street," "Patton," "Harry & Tonto," "The King and I" and "In Old Arizona." Memorable performances include Michael Douglas as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gecko in "Wall Street" and George C. Scott as the stern, commanding Gen. George Patton in "Patton."

To top it off, the Fox best actresses collection comes with "Anastasia," "The Three Faces of Eve," "Boys Don't Cry," "Norma Rae" and "Walk the Line." This set highlights acclaimed performances by Ingrid Bergman, Joanne Woodward, Hilary Swank, Sally Field and Reese Witherspoon from 1956-2005.

Steve Feldstein, senior vp marketing and corporate communications at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, said the Academy Awards offer DVD distributors "the unique opportunity to present the many brilliant films and performances of the past 80 years" that reside in their respective film libraries.

"It really is the perfect time to refresh the memories of film fans everywhere and at the same time expose new audiences to many of Hollywood's treasures, both classic and contemporary," Feldstein said.

The three new five-disc sets join two four-disc collections already in release. Both of them, however, are being heavily promoted by Fox in time for Feb. 24's Oscars. The MGM Best Picture Modern Gift Set includes "The Silence of the Lambs," "Dances With Wolves," "Platoon" and "Rocky." The UA Best Picture Classic Gift Set comes with "The Apartment," "Marty," "Tom Jones" and "West Side Story."

To further capitalize on Oscar fever, Fox is adding more winners to its Oscar collection, in special gold packaging with a prominent "O."

Among them: "The Last King of Scotland," which earned star Forest Whitaker a best actor Oscar in last year's race, as well as "Moonstruck," "Moulin Rouge," "Aliens," "Hello, Dolly!" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."