Monday, February 28, 2011

The Oscars

In an article from The Economist, the Oscar's most coveted award, The Year's Best Film, is discussed. The article notes out that in recent years the number of films nominated for the award has risen to ten in total. The article's author goes on to talk about it being a two-horse race for the award between "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network". But there is one statement that stands out to me and should be discussed. (I have bolded the important part)

"I’M NOT a gambling man, but I’d put money on this year’s Best Picture Oscar going to a film with a three-word title, the first word being “The”. I’d also bet on “127 Hours”, “The Kids Are All Right”, “The Fighter”, and “Winter’s Bone” not winning. As nice as it is to see them acknowledged, the policy introduced by the Academy last year of having ten films in the Best Picture category means, inevitably, that several of them are there to make up the numbers. And at the moment what we have is a very exciting, very close two-horse race."

A majority of "the several that are there to make up the numbers" are among the highest grossing films of 2010. The Academy has definitely given many of these movies an added boost to their popularity. These movies came out last year but people seem to be advertising them more than when they were released. For example, go home, click your "on demand" button on your remote control, then listen and see what comes to the screen. You will hear "The Social Network", "The King's Speech", "Toy Story 3", and the list goes on. These movies have been out for months yet this company advertises them. They do this because The Oscars presentation brings added attention to the films and makes people want to see them. The Oscar's on ABC is a historic event and every year movies step into a realm not only of prestige and honor but they get to make money for a long, long time. Have you ever seen the movie "Gladiator" with actor Russell Crowe. If you pay attention the cover of the movie's casing says "NOMINATED FOR ______ (fill in the blank) AWARDS" and "WINNER OF _____ (fill in the blank) AWARDS". And then there are quotes like "TERRIFIC" and "BRILLIANT" by The New York Times and other credible sources. These simple words are a marketing tool and so is The Academy Awards. Now I'm not at all saying that the films are not deserving of the Oscar awards they receive. Think of it like an added revenue bonus. If your film is good enough and makes the "Movie of the Year" ballot, then that movie is going to make a lot more money than the movie who didn't make the ballot.


  1. The movies nominated for Oscars are not necessarily the ones that make the most money at the box office. How do you think producers weigh the initial box office draw with the longer term value of awards?

  2. Great analysis! Do you think the Oscars have shifted over time from an awards ceremony to a revenue producing event put on by the film industry?
    How do you think the declining ratings in the Oscars will affect the extra revenue brought on by the nominations/awards of the films?

  3. I really enjoyed reading your analysis because it all made logical sense. I would have to agree that if a film makes it as a nominee for the "Movie of the Year" ballot, then the films are most likely to produce more revenue than the films that did not. Even though films that are not in the ballot always come up with an idea to keep the money coming. For example, many movies advertise a new edition with added scenes with excellent ratings or years later advertise the release of the same movie but better quality like most Disney movies to pursue revenue.

  4. Kern:

    Today's society doesn't care about long term, they care about what they can get right now. I'd say big time producers are more interested in high profile actors in comfortable roles that will attract crowds. They are more worried about box office money rather than Oscar awards. They'd rather make money quick rather than when the Oscar's are on ABC.

  5. ABBY:

    That's a great post ABBY, I completely agree with the Disney movie example. Movies whether they make any ballots for awards or not will find ways to make money. The reason for this is that you wouldn't see movies that don't make profit because they would never have received funding. Consider this, if you are a producer and you are funding a film would you continue to fund it if the predicted outcome had the film making no money? The economic term for this is future expectations, if you predict nothing to come out of your investment why would you make it?