What Does It Take To Win An Oscar? Money. Lots Of Money.

Is it just me or are we bombarded with a Hollywood award show every 2 weeks? Seriously, I feel like we’re in a warp of special occasions that re-occur quicker than your monthly insurance bill.

I love it, don’t get me wrong, because it’s more than less an excuse to drink on a Sunday. But these awards are big time for Hollywood and that’s why they’re so abundant. They come off to us ordinary people like it’s the mecca of Hollywood, but what does it really mean for an actor to be there? And why do they invest so much into a one-night production?

Because in order to make money, you have to spend money.

I never quite understand how you exactly vote for these awards. I could watch the same show with someone and have polar opposite views – who’s correct? Can you really judge art? If so, what is it about these movies that the judges look for? Well, the answer, like most things in life, is money.

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Studios spend upwards on $10 million for what’s known as “for your consideration” campaigns. I spent the summer of 2014 in Los Angeles and that is the primary target for these advertisements because that’s where the voters are. And let me tell you, these ads are worse than Dunkin’ in Boston. They. Are. Everywhere. Because. The. Voters. Are. Everywhere…For the Academy Awards there are 15,000 voters, while for the Golden Globes there are only 87.

It seems outrageous to spend such a sum of money on a movie that may not even make that much in total. But according to data, an oscar nomination can boost box office sales by $20 million, while a win can boost it by over $35 million.

When Netflix broke into the battleground of television, nobody took them seriously enough to win any awards. But in 2013, they “painted the town” (LA) with money, literally paying residents $50 each to put campaign signs on their lawn and hosting free lunches and giving away Netflix subscriptions to voters who attended. That year Netflix didn’t only win an Emmy, they won three.

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And the Oscars may be even more tedious about hunting down a voter’s commit. Because with the Emmy’s a campaign is as much an advertisement for the next season as it is an award for the current one, but for a movie, it’s a one and done deal. Here’s an example of the extent the studios go to:

 (Vulture) In Down and Dirty Pictures, former publicist Mark Urman discussed how this was achieved: “They set up screenings at the Motion Picture Retirement Home, because Academy members live there, even if they’re on life support. They find out where people holiday in the period between Christmas and New Year’s, and if it’s Aspen, they have screenings in Aspen. If it’s in Hawaii, they have screenings in Hawaii. They actually called people at home.” It’s a process Harvey has continued ever since.

Absolutely relentless. So, for all the smiling actors you see up on stage tonight, remember the bed of money they derive from.

Let’s let Adam Ruins Everything break down what we just discussed:


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