Studio and Actors Can See Big Financial, Career Bump from Oscar Nod

March 5, 2010 – In The News
MSNBC.com

Businesses across the country have been hit hard with the recent recession, and Hollywood is no different. The industry's business troubles has turned Oscar nominations into career-saving awards.

"As box office shrinks each year for most film companies, and fewer films are made — which mean fewer jobs for talent — winning or even being nominated for an Oscar, for some, can mean the difference between having a profitable year and bankruptcy,” said Darrell Miller. “For some actors, it can mean having a successful movie career or not.”

In trying to put life back in the awards ceremony and industry, the Academy has doubled its best picture contestants.

"The major studios have been really upset at losing the Oscar over the last few years to smaller, independent films,” Miller said. “So the major studios quietly lobbied for the rule change to increase their chances of winning and to increase their chances of generating more revenues for nominated films.”

The need to increase the studio's reputation and boost sales pushes them to relentlessly promote their films in the hopes of getting an Oscar nod.

“Every year, without reservation, every major studio and independent film company spends hundreds of thousands of dollars for promotions, publicity, press junkets and pressing DVD screeners for every member of the academy ... to increase their chances of getting an Oscar nomination or a win,” said Miller.

What is an Oscar victory worth to a studio — and to the movie’s producer, director and stars?

“That information is highly guarded by the studios,” Miller said.

For Oscar-owning actors, the award can allow certain stars to double or triple their asking prices for future films, Miller estimated.

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