How much money do actors and directors get for winning an Oscar?
The Oscars 2021 takes place today, Sunday 25 April from 8pm EDT, but how much do the winners take home, in addition to the glory of winning?
The 93rd edition of the Oscars will be as ever, one of the main events of the year, and likely THE event in the world of showbiz, as the eyes of the world are on Hollywood to see who will lift the coveted golden statues.
The nominated directors, actors, composers, scriptwriters and designers are all desperate to win an Oscar, but in addition to the statue, and the glory that goes with it, do the Oscar winners receive a cash prize from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?
The simple answer is no. There is no direct cash prize for winning an Oscar, no cheque is made out to the winners… but the those lucky enough to lift the 13 and a half inch tall golden statuette, crafted by Polich Tallix fine art foundry in New York’s Hudson Valley will certainly see a boost to their bank account, just not straight away.
The ‘Oscar Effect’
The actors who win an Oscar need to wait till they sign their next contract to see the cash benefit of winning the award. What has been called the ‘Oscar Effect’ means winners are highly desirable for directors and studios, meaning they can demand more cash in future films as the paying public are keener to watch films in which they star. The ‘Oscar Effect’ has been estimated at giving stars a 20% boost in their pay packets for their next role, and the effect can last several films, or possibly their entire career.
That said, experts have weighed to point out that the effect can be very different for Black actors. Frederick W. Gooding, author of "Black Oscars: From Mammy to Minny, What the Academy Awards tell us about African Americans", says: "The bottom line is, the race of the winner ultimately influences their marketability by Hollywood."
A tired old trope remains, for example, that Black-led films struggle at the box office overseas, despite that myth being busted over and over again with actual cash receipts.
Box office effect of a nomination
Another uplift in earnings comes for the nominated films themselves, with a nomination being enough to see the paying public seek out the films. Ignoring the pandemic effect, which has seen cinemas closed, a study from IBISWorld last year calculated that since 2014 the films nominated in each category saw a boost of 247.2% to earnings. In 2010, for example, the King’s Speech brought in $16 million more than expected after winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
The gender gap
In terms of actors though, in addition to the different impact an Oscar can have on an actor's career depending on their race, the the effect of winning an Oscar also has a marked difference in the boost to earnings depending on whether the actor is a man or a woman. A study by the University of Colgate revealed that men can expect to earn some 4 million dollars more after their Oscar win, while the boost for women would be only around $500,000.
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