The Big Dollar Figures Behind Hollywood's Biggest Night
The 87th Academy Awards, being held on February 22, is heavy on film nominees that were made on (relatively) small budgets, with (relatively) meager box office grosses to match. Even so, like any Oscars, a small fortune will be spent on the buildup to this year's awards ceremony, as well as the big night itself.
Here's a breakdown of some of the big and small dollar amounts—OK, mostly BIG—behind the Academy Awards.
1: Number of 2015 Best Picture nominees to earn more than $100 million at the box office, in what's shaping up as an especially blockbuster-light Oscars ceremony. Clint Eastwood's war drama American Sniper walks away with the honor, but it hardly compares to Avatar, which earned a whopping $2.8 billion in 2010, the highest on record for any BP nominee. Ironically, Avatar lost out to The Hurt Locker, which is the lowest-grossing movie to win Best Picture, pulling in only $14.7 million at the box office before the awards.
$400: The surprisingly low estimate for what one of the Oscar statuettes is actually worth. Mind you, an Oscar isn't solid gold but is merely gold-plated. Besides, the real value comes with the name connected to the statue: Joan Crawford's only Oscar, which she received for her performance in Mildred Pierce, sold at auction for $426,732 in 2012, while Orson Welles' Best Screenplay Oscar for Citizen Kane sold for $861,542 at auction in 2011.
$25,000 - $30,000: The cost of the much-hyped 16,500-square-foot red carpet that Hollywood stars stroll down before the Oscars, according to Red Carpet Systems in Los Angeles. (Installation's included in the figure.)
$85,000: The per-ticket price scalpers were trying to command by selling seats to the awards show in 2008. Since attendees sign a contract that prohibits them from selling or even giving away their seats, scalped Oscar tickets are all but unheard of today.
$125,000: The value of the swag bag given to Academy Award nominees in 2015. Besides lavish vacations and accessories, this year's bag includes a $20,000 gift certificate to have Olessia Kantor, the founder of Enigma Life, meet with the nominees to discuss their 2015 horoscopes, analyze their dreams and teach them... mind control techniques.
$500,000 vs. $3.9 million: Hollywood agents estimate that winning an Oscar results in a pay increase of about 20% for the performer's next project. However, much like in the real world, there's reportedly a notable gender wage gap. Actors can expect a $3.9 million increase, on average, while actresses may only take home an extra $500,000.
$1.9 million: The cost of a 30-second commercial airing during this year's TV broadcast of the awards ceremony.
$3 million: The average bump in earnings at the box office for an Oscar-winning film. It's impressive, but nothing compared to the Golden Globes, where a win can supposedly help pull in an extra $14.2 million in ticket sales.
$18.1 million: The cost of Cate Blanchett's ensemble at the 2014 Oscars, the most expensive of the night. Her Armani Prive gown was valued at $100,000, while Blanchett wore some $18 million worth of jewelry. More "normal" designer gowns worn at the Oscars run anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, and celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch estimates that jewelry completing the outfit can easily hit $750,000.
$100 million+: The amount spent collectively by Hollywood for the purpose of campaigning for Oscars during awards season. Studios often pay Academy PR consultants $10,000 to $15,000 to run their campaigns; in 2013, Harvey Weinstein actually hired President Obama's former deputy campaign manager to push Silver Linings Playbook. Meanwhile, the going rate to advertise your film in the Hollywood Reporter during Oscar season is $72,000. It all adds up, and the average campaign for a Best Picture winner costs $10 million on its own.
$130 million: Filmmakers and Hollywood stars aren't the only winners during the Oscars. Greater Los Angeles is the beneficiary of an economic boost of $130 million thanks to increased spending on everything from florists to limo drivers.
$1 billion: The estimated value, in terms of equivalent advertising dollars, of Ellen DeGeneres' famous A-list selfie taken during the 2014 Academy Awards.