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2023 Academy Awards: How much money do actors and directors get for winning an Oscar?

The Oscars take place on 12 March, but how much do the winners take home in addition to the glory of picking up a statuette?

The Oscars take place on 12 March, but how much do the winners take home in addition to the glory of picking up a statuette?
AS English

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The 95th edition of the Oscars will be, as ever, one of the main events of the year with 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 quick 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, if not an immediate one.

The ‘Oscar Effect’

The actors who win an Oscar need to wait until 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 to give actors a 20% boost in their pay packets for their next role, and the effect can last for several movies, or possibly their entire career.

That said, experts 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.

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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.

“The Oscars bump is not a new phenomenon,” said Brandon Katz, an industry strategist at Parrot Analytics. “For decades, we’ve seen contenders pick up extra box office ticket sales once the picture nominations were announced. But what has changed more recently, particularly as the Oscars have taken place a month later than usual in recent years and they’ve been impacted by Covid, is a streaming bump.”

For this year’s nominations,‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ saw the biggest percentage bump between the week before nominations and the weeks after, with ticket sales jumping 381%. However, with films releasing at different points of the year it is difficult to link a causality-link between a nomination and ticket sales. For instance, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ saw ticket sales decline after its nomination.

The gender pay gap

In terms of actors, the effect of winning an Oscar also has a marked difference in the boost to earnings depending on whether the actor is male or female. A study by the University of Colgate revealed that men can expect to earn some $4 million more after their Oscar win, while the bonus for women only equates to around $500,000.