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Little-Known Money Facts About the Oscars

James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

It’s no secret that the movie industry is big business.

In 2019, the motion picture, video production and distribution industry in the United States was estimated at $65.6 billion, just a bit below the previous year’s tally of $65.8 billion, according to Statista. So it makes sense that when the industry comes together to celebrate its achievements, it will be a costly affair.

Read: The Richest Oscar Winners From The Last Decade

That will be the case on April 25 when the 93rd Academy Awards will be held at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. Festivities begin at 8 p.m. EST and will be televised on ABC. The cost to stage the Oscars in 2020 was about $44 million.

But that’s just part of Oscar spending. Between dressing nominees and other stars, the cost of parties (socially distanced, of course), and the amount studios spend pitching their releases for awards each year, millions more go into the affair.

Keep reading to learn more about the serious money that goes into the making of the Academy Awards, as well as the financial benefits of taking home an Oscar.

Last updated: April 23, 2021

BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER, 9 2017: The building for ABC West Coast operations sits across the street from its parent company the Walt Disney Studios.
BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER, 9 2017: The building for ABC West Coast operations sits across the street from its parent company the Walt Disney Studios.

The Price To Televise the Oscars

ABC will broadcast the 2021 Academy Awards on April 25, just as it has annually since 1976, and it isn’t an inexpensive proposition for the Walt Disney Company-owned network. The Los Angeles Times reported that ABC signed a 10-year contract extension in 2016, worth more than $1 billion, to keep the Oscars on the network through 2028. ABC is asking for about $2 million for a 30-second ad, Variety reported, adding that the network took in about $129 million in advertising in 2020.

See: How Rich Are Tom Hanks, Renée Zellweger and More Past Oscar Winners?

Cost of the Oscars
Cost of the Oscars

The Cost of an Oscar...

The first Oscar statuette was given out on May 16, 1929, in Hollywood. Since that first awards banquet, more than 3,000 of the statuettes — an Oscar stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds — have been presented. While it is priceless to the winner, the gold-plated statuette costs about $400 to manufacture. The Oscars are created at the Polich Tallix fine art foundry in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Find Out: Oscar Winners With Surprisingly Low Paychecks

Academy Awards, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Awards, OSCAR, Oscar Awards, STATUETTE
Academy Awards, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Awards, OSCAR, Oscar Awards, STATUETTE

...And Its Value on the Open Market

In recent years, we’ve seen athletes auction off their memorabilia — World Series rings, Heisman trophies and the like — for cash for things such as contributions to charity or to fund the education of a grandchild. The same can’t happen with an Oscar. The official regulations of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science say winners, or someone who has inherited or been gifted an Oscar, can’t sell the statuette before giving the Academy a chance to buy it. For $1.

More: Critically Acclaimed Movies That Bombed at the Box Office

Jennifer Lawrence net worth
Jennifer Lawrence net worth

The Jennifer Lawrence Pay Raise

For up-and-comers, winning an Oscar can translate into millions of dollars.

Jennifer Lawrence made about $10,000 in 2010 when she appeared in “Winter’s Bone,” earning an Academy Award nomination. Two years later, when she appeared in the first installment of the “Hunger Games,” she was paid $500,000.

By 2015, with the best actress Oscar in her hands for “Silver Linings Playbook,” she was the world’s highest-paid actress, earning $52 million that year, Forbes reported.

Read: 24 of the Wealthiest Young Actors and Actresses in Hollywood

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/Shutterstock (9446184pj)Jimmy Kimmel90th Annual Academy Awards, Show, Los Angeles, USA - 04 Mar 2018.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/Shutterstock (9446184pj)Jimmy Kimmel90th Annual Academy Awards, Show, Los Angeles, USA - 04 Mar 2018.

The Host's Share

With all the money being spent at the Oscars, you’d think the host might get a big piece of the pie. But that isn’t the case, apparently. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel revealed in 2016 that he’d be earning $15,000 for the hosting duties in early 2017.

This year, there won’t be just one host. Instead, the Academy has chosen to use an ensemble cast of presenters, which will include Hollywood luminaries such as Halle Berry, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Brad Pitt and Reese Witherspoon.

See: 10 Highest-Paid Movie Roles of All Time

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock (4448556cc)Lupita Nyong'o87th Academy Awards, Oscars, Arrivals, Los Angeles, America - 22 Feb 2015.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock (4448556cc)Lupita Nyong'o87th Academy Awards, Oscars, Arrivals, Los Angeles, America - 22 Feb 2015.

'Who Are You Wearing?' The Price of the Gown

The biggest part of the annual Oscars show happens before the celebrities fill the awards hall. Instead, it happens outside, on the red carpet, as the nominees and A-listers stop to answer reporters’ questions. And the first one is usually the same: “Who are you wearing?” Just the name being uttered by the celebrity can reap rewards for the designer, but the attire — especially for the women — doesn’t come cheap.

Good Housekeeping estimated the price of some of the most expensive Oscars gowns of all time. The publication pegged the one-shoulder silver Armani Prive dress, with Swarovski crystals sewn in, that Cate Blanchett wore in 2007 at $200,000. Lupita Nyong’o walked the red carpet in 2015 in a long white gown, emblazoned with 6,000 pearls, from designer Calvin Klein estimated to cost $150,000. The memorable mint green Valentino gown Kate Winslet wore in 2007 was worth a reported $100,000.

See: How Much Are 2021 Oscar Nominees Worth?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9192556g)Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre, in Los Angeles85th Academy Awards - Insider Red Carpet, Los Angeles, USA - 24 Feb 2013.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9192556g)Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre, in Los Angeles85th Academy Awards - Insider Red Carpet, Los Angeles, USA - 24 Feb 2013.

The Jennifer Lawrence Gown

The biggest stars typically aren’t paying for their expensive wardrobes, and even they might not be able to afford them. Either the actors have a contract to represent a designer, or the designers flock to them, offering to design an outfit for the big night.

That was the case with Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar gown in 2013, which she wore when she accepted the best actress award for “Silver Linings Playbook.” The cream strapless dress with the voluminous skirt was designed by Raf Simons for Christian Dior Haute Couture — and Marie Claire UK said the dress was worth $4 million. That includes the price of the intricate gown as well as the fee Lawrence was paid to wear the stunner. The gown was so much to handle, however, that Lawrence fell, gracefully, as she walked up the steps to accept the Oscar.

Check Out: How Streaming Services Are Benefiting During Oscar Season 2021

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9192561il)Cate Blanchett arrives at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles86th Academy Awards - Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 2 Mar 2014.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9192561il)Cate Blanchett arrives at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles86th Academy Awards - Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 2 Mar 2014.

The Record-Setting Cate Blanchett Jewelry

And then there’s the jewelry. Just as designers are eager to dress the stars, jewelers see to it that the A-list actresses have some of the sparkliest pieces around their necks or adorning their wrists, fingers and ears.

Cate Blanchett is believed to have set a record in 2014 for the priciest-ever Oscars ensemble — $18.1 million. Her Armani Prive gown cost an estimated $100,000 but it was the opal and diamond jewelry that sent the price of her outfit soaring. The designs from Swiss design house Chopard were worth $18 million, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The same year, Charlize Theron accessorized her $90,000 Christian Dior dress with more than $15 million worth of jewels from the Harry Winston collection.

More: How Much Award Show Hosts and Performers Get Paid

The Lavish Gift Bags

The five nominees in each of the five major categories – best actor and best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress, and best director – annually receive a gift bag worth thousands of dollars. In 2020, the nominees each received gifts worth about $225,000. The prize, put together by marketing company Distinctive Assets, included items big and small, from “hydrogen-infused” water to bath bombs to plastic surgery to all-inclusive trips. Just what’s in the 2021 gift bag hasn’t leaked out.

Read: Here’s What an Oscar and Other Award Statues Are Actually Worth

Editorial use only.
Editorial use only.

Bigger Budget, Better Picture?

Eight films are nominated for best picture, and some of them didn’t break the bank to make. One of the favorites, “Nomadland,” was made for less than $5 million with some nonprofessional actors but still won the top prize at the Producers Guild of America Awards. Another, “Minari,” was produced for less than $10 million.

For comparison, “Black Panther” – a 2019 best picture nominee – cost $200 million to film.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Little-Known Money Facts About the Oscars