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The Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday, but the discourse immediately latched onto who wasn’t nominated. Barbie, which was the highest-grossing movie of 2023, bringing in more than $1 billion, earned eight nominations. But the actress who played the iconic Barbie, Margot Robbie, and director Greta Gerwig, were snubbed.
Oppenheimer, a film often contrasted with Barbie because they were released simultaneously, received 13 nominations, including acting nods for Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt. Other films were largely ignored by the Academy: The Color Purple, ultimately shrouded in controversy over accusations of low pay and poor working conditions for its cast and crew, earned just one nomination.
The 96th Academy Awards will air on March 10 on ABC.
Moments after the New Hampshire primary was called in favor of former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, runner-up Nikki Haley pledged to stay in the GOP primary contest at least until the primary in her home state of South Carolina, where she previously served as governor. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden said that Tuesday’s results make it clear that “Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee,” and urged independent voters and Republicans “who share our commitment to core values of our nation … to join us.”
BUSINESS + FINANCE
Netflix tallied its strongest year ever in 2023, according to its earnings report Tuesday, as the entertainment giant asserts its dominance amid a rocky stretch for streamers—though Netflix stock remains unable to recapture its early pandemic peaks. Strong user growth helped Netflix achieve record results during the company’s password sharing crackdowns; the nearly 30 million net users added in 2023 was its best growth since 2020.
Bitcoin fell below $40,000 for the first time since early December this week, continuing its decline since the SEC greenlit 11 bitcoin ETFs in a landmark moment for cryptocurrency. Bitcoin tends to dip in the wake of seemingly positive news: It’s now down 16.6% since the morning of January 11, the day after the ETFs were approved, cutting into the gains it made over the last year as anticipation of the potential approval drove investment.
TECH + INNOVATION
With its $20 billion acquisition by Adobe scrapped amid heightened regulatory scrutiny, design software startup Figma is now scrambling to adjust how employees—hundreds of whom joined in the year-plus since the deal was made public—are compensated as the company reverts to a valuation half of the announced deal price. CEO Dylan Field promised to refresh employee equity packages and offered three months’ pay to any who wished to depart, per sources and internal communications reviewed by Forbes.
Apple is simplifying the design of its in-development electric vehicle and pushing back the potential launch date to 2028 at the earliest, Bloomberg reported, another delay in its long-running effort to bring a partially autonomous EV to consumers. A successful EV launch would put Apple in direct competition with automakers like Tesla, Ford, GMC and Rivian, though it’s now working on a vehicle with more limited autonomous features compared to earlier plans.
Los Angeles startup Concrete.ai says its AI-driven software reduced emissions from concrete by 30%, which is a big deal because cement, the key ingredient in concrete, is the source of 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Despite its emissions, concrete is ubiquitous—used in buildings, roads and other structures worldwide—because of its durability and low cost.
MONEY + POLITICS
A far-right extremist from Wisconsin was arrested last month after four years of posting DIY chemical weapons tutorials on social media, according to the FBI, and was found with a cache of homemade grenades. James Morgan has been on the feds’ radar since 2019—in one video, Morgan told viewers that “governments should be afraid of their people… So here’s how you make a device that shoots sulfuric acid.”
SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
Nike is a juggernaut, with $51 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year, a market cap of $154 billion and a globally dominant position in the footwear market. But Nike’s ascent was by no means preordained. On the shoe and apparel brand’s 60th anniversary, Forbes is republishing this 1981 profile on how Nike’s billionaire cofounder Phil Knight fast-tracked the company to success.
Netflix acquired the rights to air WWE’s popular weekly wrestling program Raw, marking the streaming giant’s first significant foray into live sports programming. The deal is reportedly worth $5 billion over 10 years, and Netflix shares climbed 2% following the announcement.
DAILY COVER STORY
TOPLINE Billionaire technologist Eric Schmidt has been quietly building a new drone startup in the U.S. and Ukraine within a nesting doll of LLCs that has helped to conceal its operations and team members.
Forbes first reported the project’s existence this month and has since learned that it is called White Stork, a reference to the national bird and sacred totem of Ukraine, where Schmidt has assumed the role of defense tech advisor and financier.
White Stork was formally established last August, according to business incorporation records and two sources with knowledge of the startup. The company has been developing a mass-producible drone that uses artificial intelligence for visual targeting and can function in zero-comms environments created by GPS jamming.
Though it hasn’t emerged from stealth, White Stork has become an open secret in the drone community, six people familiar with its activities told Forbes. In Ukraine, Schmidt has toured factories and testing ranges and has reached out to numerous other startups in his capacity as a prolific military tech investor, three of these individuals said.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Schmidt has been a vocal proponent of drones as a means of combating Kremlin forces, which far outnumber Ukraine’s own.
He underscored this argument again in an op-ed for Foreign Affairs on Monday, declaring that “Russia’s superior electronic warfare capabilities allow it to jam and spoof the signals between Ukrainian drones and their pilots. If Ukraine is to neutralize Russian drones, its forces will need the same capabilities.” So far, most weaponry supplied by Western allies, he wrote, has “fared poorly” against such tactics.
What Schmidt didn’t disclose in his recent op-eds were his own efforts to address this need with White Stork.
WHY IT MATTERS “Schmidt has become one of the leading voices in Silicon Valley promoting drones as the future of war,” says Forbes senior writer Sarah Emerson. “Scores of drone startups have begun developing aircraft for the Ukrainian battlefield, which has proven a viable testing ground for new tech. For the past year, Schmidt has remained on the sidelines, but his decision to jump into the fray marks a turning point in his career, in which he has largely served as an investor and advisor.”
FACTS AND COMMENTS
Ticket prices on the secondary market to Sunday’s NFL playoff games set a record for the two most expensive conference championship games in NFL history. The Detroit Lions face the San Francisco 49ers, while the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will play the Baltimore Ravens:
$2,431: The average ticket price on the secondary market for the NFC Championship game, and $2,199 for the AFC game
As much as $30,000: The cost of the most expensive tickets for the NFC Championship, and as much as $25,000 for the AFC Championship
$544: The starting price for a nosebleed seat in the end zone for the game between the Chiefs and Ravens
STRATEGY AND SUCCESS
With interest rates at recent highs, you may be tempted to sock away funds for a financial goal into a certificate of deposit or high-yield savings account. While that’s a good idea for your emergency fund and any near-term cash needs, consider stocks or bonds if you’re saving for something more than three years out. Investing involves risk, but with a diversified portfolio, greater risks are usually rewarded with greater returns.
The first full moon of the year will happen Thursday, and the Moon’s rays will cause Venus, Mercury and Mars to be visible early Friday morning. January’s full moon is referred to as the moon of which kind of animal in the Old Farmer’s Almanac?
ACROSS THE NEWSROOM
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