Beef or salmon of a different kind as Hollywood dresses up for Oscar night

Planet Business: Toblerone leaves the Matterhorn behind, Elon Musk makes rare apology and why the only way is up, still, for interest rates

Image of the week: Oscar hunger

Jimmy Kimmel, the returning host of this year’s Academy Awards after far too long a hiatus, once gave an opening monologue in which he said Oscar was “the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood” because “he keeps his hands where you can see them” and has, well, other anatomical limitations.

Oscar is also wonderfully adaptable. While a record number of Irish contenders will be coveting the original gold statuette variety for their mantelpieces, invitees to the after-show Governors Ball at the Dolby Theatre are set to be treated to Oscar in boxed-up chocolate form and as a smoked salmon and roe appetiser, courtesy of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

Puck, who has been at this game longer than most multiplex regulars have been alive, will also be rustling up beef wellington, agnolotti pasta and cod bouillabaisse for some 1,500 guests drained by their night of acceptance speeches and red-carpet small talk.

Everybody else will have to make do with traditional post-Oscar stops such as the Vanity Fair party and Elton John’s annual bash. Then it’s time to fly out of Los Angeles before the losing studios begin their awards season postmortems and talent agencies start taking uncomfortable calls from clients.


In numbers: Chocolate aesthetics


Years that the Matterhorn mountain peak has adorned the packaging of 115-year-old Swiss chocolate brand Toblerone, owned since 2012 by US multinational Mondelez.


Years since Switzerland introduced “Swissness” labelling rules that require milk-based products to be exclusively made in the country if they want to use indicators of Swiss provenance in their design.


Height of the Alpine summit, which will now be replaced by “a modernised and streamlined mountain logo that aligns with the geometric and triangular aesthetic”, following Mondelez’s decision to move some Toblerone production from Switzerland to Slovakia.

Getting to know: Halli Thorleifsson

Haraldur Thorleifsson, known as Halli, ended 2022 with a clutch of person of the year awards in his native Iceland after he sold his design agency Ueno to Twitter in 2021 and chose to be paid the sale price as wages, rather than a more tax-effective mechanism.

Since the sale, Thorleifsson, who was born with muscular dystrophy, has become a philanthropist, with his Ramp Up Iceland fund in the process of building 1,500 wheelchair ramps across Iceland. He’s also opening a restaurant in Reykjavik named after his mother. He is, in other words, an all-round good guy who has overcome obstacles to earn his success – exactly the kind of person who Twitter owner Elon Musk seems determined to detest.

Locked out of Twitter’s systems, Thorleifsson asked Musk if he had been fired. He soon received an email confirming he had been. In the meantime, Musk publicly mocked him, calling him “the worst” and tweeting the lawsuit-magnet of a line that he “did no work” and used his disability as “his excuse”.

Before the day was out, and presumably after some consultation with lawyers and the terms of Thorleifsson’s contract, the world’s second-richest man tweeted he “would like to apologise to Halli for my misunderstanding”.

One-nil to the Icelandic entrepreneur. Now how about a donation, Elon?

The list: Inflation watchers

Anyone hoping that high rates of inflation and the current cycle of interest rate increases – imposed in an effort to keep a lid on rising prices – will soon come to a swift end might be disappointed to read the latest utterings of various central bank policymakers. So what have they been saying?

1. Christine Lagarde: The European Central Bank (ECB) president described inflation as “a monster that we need to knock on the head” during remarks where she also said price pressures would remain “sticky in the short term” and it was “too early to declare victory” in the fight to return inflation to its 2 per cent target.

2. Mary Daly: The San Francisco Fed president, who participates in Federal Reserve policy meetings, said a week ago that it was “clear there is more work to do” to “put this episode of high inflation behind us”. Great.

3. Jerome Powell: Daly’s comment was one of several that laid the groundwork for Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s market-jolting remarks on Tuesday that interest rates will likely wind up “higher than previously anticipated”.

4. Philip Lane: “Momentum for core inflation has not declined,” the ECB’s chief economist said in a speech at Trinity College Dublin in which he also referred to “an awkward situation” where there are “lots of reasons” to expect inflation will fall later this year – but it just isn’t in the data yet.

5. Catherine Mann: The Bank of England policymaker warned this week about the misery of “greedflation”, in which companies exploit the inflationary environment to push through price rises that exceed the increase in their own costs, purely because they can. Cheers, guys.