WHAT, one might ask, do the Oscars have in common with the government’s ill-fated Project Merlin – other than a lot of sound and fury?

“Big four” accountants might know, because the answer to this missing link puzzle is PricewaterhouseCoopers. As the government’s regular box-tickers, the firm has been recruited to act as a tight-lipped go-between for banks to thrash out commercially sensitive lending targets.

But meanwhile, in the more glamorous practice of the business, chief PwC ballot-leaders Brad Oltmanns and Rick Rosas are gearing up for the firm’s 77th year as balloting managers for the Oscars.

Their privileged positions means that they will be the only lucky humans in the world to know the results of the vote before Colin Firth takes another one on the chin for British pride by losing – or scores a triumph for our obsession with royalty by taking home the treasured prize.

Their colleagues working on Merlin, by contrast, will be the first to know just how many millions David Cameron can counttowards funding of his Big Society bank.

On the latter score, at least, The Capitalist wouldn’t recommend holding your breath.

Oil & gas nerds everywhere scrambled to join an impromptu conference call yesterday as Energees Investments proudly announced a higher bid for Regal Petroleum. But in their haste to make the fact known to all and sundry, Energees forgot to take the crucial precaution of muting most of the lines.

It seems that somewhere during a long explanation of Ukrainian competition law, they lost the attention of one careless Reuters hack: the Reuters on-hold music suddenly started to blare into everyone’s ears, forcing Smart Holding finance director Denis Rudev to continue for the rest of the call at shouting volume.

It’s all in a day’s takeover, eh?