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How much actors get paid from winning an Oscar

How much actors get paid from winning an Oscar

In short, it's a lot

For most actors, bagging an Oscar at the Academy Awards is the ultimate dream.

While there's no denying the glory they experience from earning one of those golden statuettes, have you ever wondered how much money they actually make from it?

Much like performers of the Super Bowl Halftime Show, technically the answer is nothing. But in reality there's a lot of bag to be made.

Although movie stars, much like writers and directors, don't get paid a dime to appear at Hollywood's most celebrated awards ceremony, the exposure their work gets leads to a serious impact on their future salaries.

It's a huge marketing opportunity for the talent agents and production companies out there, hence why upwards of $10 million (£8.3m) is spent on advertising campaigns in the run-up to the main event.

According to statistics shared by Business Insider, the Best Picture winners between 2009 and 2014 had an average production budget of $17 million (£14m) and a box office average of $82.5 million (£68.2m) - that's nearly five times the money they cost to make.

Breaking these figures down further, the outlet explained that these movies earned an average of $35.2 million (£29m) before being nominated, $29.4 million (£24.3m) after being nominated and $17.9 million (£14.8m) after winning.

There's a lot of money to be made from winning an Oscar.
Yulia Koltyrina/Alamy Stock Photo

Meanwhile, three of the five top grossing movies of all time were either nominated or won the Best Picture award at the ceremony, while the remaining two were nominated in other categories.

And you can bet these boosts are reflected in both male and female actors' paycheques.

Speaking with Market Watch a few years back, Jo Piazza, author of Celebrity Inc: How Famous People Make Money, explained: "Oscar nominations and wins are like a seal of approval for a brand which in this case is the actress or actor.

"Most agents I’ve talked to say that an Oscar win correlates to a 20% bump in the asking price for their next film.

"But the direct fiscal value add, in terms of a direct correlation between a win and an increase in salary, often ends up more tenuous."

The latter comment is certainly applicable to more famous stars, as they would've already been earning huge amounts for their roles.

Leonardo DiCaprio won an Academy Award for his role in The Revenant.
20th Century Fox

For instance, when Leonardo DiCaprio finally bagged an Academy Award for his role in The Revenant, he had already been paid a whopping $25 million (£21m) a couple of years prior for appearing in The Wolf of Wall Street.

But a study by Money Nation reports that for actors in their earlier careers, their average salary boost can jump by 60 percent or higher.

Hillary Swank, for example, won the Best Actress accolade for her leading role in the 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry.

Though she admitted to earning a measly $3000 (£2500), which I think we can all agree is pitiful, she could command more than $1 million (£830,000) after her Oscars victory.

The study also highlighted Halle Berry, who went from earning an average of $118,750 (£98,146) per role to $6.5 million (£5.4m) following her 2002 win for Monster's Ball.

Tom Hanks, meanwhile, jumped from $700,000 (£580,000) to $10 million (£8.3m) after his first Academy Award for 1994's Philadelphia.

Halle Berry was hailed the Best Actress at the 2002 Academy Awards.
Creative Commons

More recently, Joaquin Phoenix won the coveted Best Actor trophy for his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in 2019's Joker, a film he earned a tidy $4.5 million (£3.7m) for.

According to a Variety report on movie stars' salaries, Warner Bros. is set to pay the actor a whopping $20 million (£16.5m) for his return in the sequel.

Though there are no doubt numerous factors contributing to this massive increase, his Academy Awards win can't have hurt the situation.

In a conversation with Metro, Eric Schiffer, CEO of Reputational Management Consultants, explained: "When an actor is recognised for winning an Oscar it turns into an exclusive and valuable marketing hook for studios.

Will Smith certainly won't be making an appearance this year.
Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo

"Actors, and most importantly agents, know how to weaponise this insight with an iron fist at the studio negotiating table."

As for who's set to bag a win and see a boost in their bank account at the 95th Academy Awards, we'll have to wait and see when the star-studded event kicks off this Sunday (12 March).

Although one thing we can tell you is it definitely won't be Will Smith.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/EllenDeGeneres/Pixabay

Topics: Oscars, Academy Awards, TV and Film, Money, Celebrity