What’s an Oscar Worth?

Feb 26, 2012 by

To celebrate the annual Oscars, let’s take a look at the value of an Academy Award.

Scrap Metal

The Oscar statuette—an Art Deco knight standing on a reel of film—is 24-karat gold-plated Britannium. A pewter-like alloy, Britannium consists of 93% tin, 5% antimony, and 2% copper. The statuette is 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds.

The mass of the gold that comprises an Oscar’s plating is a secret, which likely means that, if revealed, the amount would disappoint expectations. Plating is, by definition, thin. I’m going to assume here that the gold plating on an Oscar statuette weighs one-half ounce.

So what’s an Oscar statuette worth, based on the today’s metal values?

Components

Composition

Mass (lbs)

$Value/Lb

Total $Value

tin

93%

7.91

$11.00

$86.96

antimony

5%

0.43

$5.35

$2.27

copper

2%

0.17

$3.85

$0.65

gold

0.37%

0.03

$28,400

$888

$977

 

Effect of an Oscar Win on Box Office Receipts

In an only slightly dated February 27, 2011 post, the blog BoxOfficeQuant presented a compelling quantitative analysis of the impact of an Oscar win in various award categories on a film’s box office receipts. Here’s a chart of the results, borrowed from BoxOfficeQuant.

 

Evidently one should not aspire to the Best Supporting Actress award.

Effect of An Oscar Win on Actors’ Fortunes

This one’s tough to quantify, but I think you’d agree it’s real. A few examples can give us an idea.

  • Nicolas Cage won the 68th Academy Award’s Best Actor Oscar for his role in Leaving Las Vegas, for which Mr. Cage earned a reported $240,000. In 1996 he earned a reported $4 million for 1996’s The Rock. If accurate, that would be about a 17-fold jump in earning power for Mr. Cage, post-Oscar.
  • After winning the Best Actress Oscar at 2002’s Academy Awards for Monster’s Ball, Halle Berry commanded top dollar—a reported $14 million each—for Gothika and Catwoman. (For her work in the latter, Ms. Berry merited the Razzie award for Worst Actress).
  • Jamie Foxx won the Best Actor Oscar for 2004’s Ray. He’s rumored to have earned $10 million in 2006 for Miami Vice.

No doubt the expertise of an actor’s agent plays a major role in leveraging the earning power of an Oscar win.

Were you happy with the 84th Academy Award results? Any particular disappointments for you?

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