Natalie Kfoury- Co-Editor-In-Chief
Whether or not you care about them, you most likely heard about this year’s Academy Awards. You probably heard about how beautiful and great Jared Leto looked, how many awards “Gravity” won, what Jennifer Lawrence wore, and Ellen Degeneres took selfies with and ordered pizza for the stars in the audience.
But let’s be real, do the Oscars even matter? What kind of impact do they have on a film’s, actor’s, or actress’s success? After all the statues are given out, the speeches are cried over, and the after-parties celebrated, what kind of impact do the Academy Awards actually have?
In an article on this subject posted by by Hollie McKay of Fox News a year ago, actress Octavia Spencer said, “The reality for me is that I thought my phone would be ringing a lot, and it wasn’t. My phone wasn’t ringing off the hook; I didn’t feel like anything was changing.” Spencer took home to Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Help” in 2012.
In addition, the article states Reese Witherspoon, who won Best Actress in 2006 for “Walk the Line,” acted in many flops after taking home her Academy Award. This is similar with Cuba Gooding Jr. (Best Actor, “Jerry Maguire,” 1996). It doesn’t help that actors, actresses, and directors may feel pressure to repeat their shining, Oscar-winning performances and are panned when they do not meet expectations.
Mark Pennell of Beacon Pictures explains in the article that Oscars do not guarantee more money for actors. This was seen with Russell Crowe (Best Actor, “Gladiator,” 2000), who was making $10 million a movie right after winning his Oscar. However, today he makes around $2 million due to the poor performance of his films. “An Oscar could help with better roles and these roles may deliver box office success. But it is this box office success that leads to more money,” said Pennell.
So who does the Academy Awards help out in the long run? While films, directors, actors, and actresses may not necessarily benefit directly from the awards, movie studios thrive from the awards.
After “Zero Dark Thirty” was nominated for five Academy Award categories, the film went from a limited release to grossing $24 million, according to the article. Likewise, a report by Randy Nelson, professor of economics and finance at Colby College, shows that Oscar-nominated films hang around in theaters twice as long and a Best Picture win lifts sales by $18 million.
That’s not even counting the prestigious Academy Award winning or nominated label that comes on the DVDs of the films.
It’s discouraging when you take apart a magical night like the Oscars like this and even more so when you think of the underdog winners that may go on to not have the success you feel like they deserve. But maybe, just maybe, this gave you the assurance that it really doesn’t matter that Leo DiCaprio hasn’t won one just yet.