Here's How Much Actors Are Paid After Winning an Oscar
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 14, 2023. It has since been updated.
Bagging an Oscar at the Academy Awards is the ultimate dream for most actors. A symbol of excellence, recognition and a seal of approval for their hard work and talent. But have you ever wondered how much money actors actually make after winning an Oscar? The answer is not straightforward, as they do not receive a direct monetary award for their win. However, it can lead to a significant impact on their future salaries.
Winning an Oscar translates into a lot of marketing opportunities for talent agents and production companies. Hence, upwards of $10 million (£8.3 million) is spent on advertising campaigns in the run-up to the main event, as per Ladbible. The exposure their work gets from the awards ceremony leads to increased public attention, which can significantly boost their worth.
According to statistics shared by Business Insider, the Best Picture winners between 2009 and 2014 had an average production budget of $17 million (£14 million) and a box office average of $82.5 million (£68.2 million). That's nearly five times the money they cost to make. Further breaking down these figures, the outlet explained that these movies earned an average of $35.2 million (£ 29 million) before being nominated, $29.4 million (£24.3 million) after being nominated, and $17.9 million (£14.8 million) after winning.
The boost in box office performance due to an Oscar win translates into a serious financial impact for actors. Jo Piazza, author of Celebrity Inc: How Famous People Make Money, explained to Market Watch that "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." This increase in their asking price for future roles is because an Oscar win acts as a validation of their talent, which makes them more marketable to producers and investors.
Famous actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who finally won an Academy Award for his role in The Revenant, had already been paid a whopping $25 million (£21 million) a couple of years prior for appearing in The Wolf of Wall Street. Therefore, the direct financial impact of an Oscar win for established actors is relatively limited. On the other hand, for actors in the early part of their careers, an Oscar win can jumpstart their earning potential. The report quotes a study by Money Nation that reported that the average salary boost for actors can jump by 60% or higher after winning an Oscar.
Hillary Swank, for example, won the Best Actress accolade for her leading role in the 1999 film, Boys Don’t Cry. Although she admitted to earning a measly $3000 (£2500), 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 (£5.4 million) following her 2002 win for Monster's Ball. Tom Hanks, meanwhile, jumped from $700,000 (£580,000) to $10 million (£8.3 million) after his first Academy Award for 1994's Philadelphia.
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