What is an Oscar Worth?

The 2011 Academy Award Nominations are out. What does that mean for the business side of the glitz & glam?

There are two answers to the question “What is an Oscar Worth?”:

1) The Bald Gold Guy

The statuette of “Oscar” is, like everything else besides what you can buy with MasterCard, priceless. However, if you want to impress your friends during the Academy Awards, you can buzz, text, tweet or update them on the fact that the Academy has the right of first refusal to buy back an Oscar from the winner at $1.

Actors who won prior to 1950 or have $1000 an hour lawyers can skirt the contract and have been known to sell the coveted paperweight for ~60,000 to over $100,000 (AKA, the eBay value).

If you want to reverse engineer the value based on the raw materials, each statue is 13.5 inches tall and weighs eight pounds. They are made from steel alloy britannium dipped in 24k gold plating. Since Gold is close to $1150 an ounce but we don’t know exactly how much covers Oscar’s innards, all we can say is they are probably more expensive than last year’s $500 price tag.

2) The Production Company Coffers

Like every great entertainment company, none of them know for sure. Instead, they spend millions marketing and lobbying for an award in hopes that it somehow works out in the end. Such is the offspring of business and art.

Newsweek did a very rough back-of-the-napkin calculation. After getting me to increase pageviews by clicking on Page 2 of their article, they assert the best picture nominees earn an extra $6,663,508 more than other top movies that were not nominated.

The million dollar question is whether the studios spend more than they make. Although each case is different and I can’t be 100% sure, I will note that Miramax went bust even with a nice stable of nominated films.

Enough with the bean counting. Let’s get to judging the celebrity garb and their prized performances …

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