The 2015 Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning across all categories, with the best movies of 2014 receiving nods from the Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Science. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Birdman" received the most nominations with nine each, while "Boyhood" and "The Imitation Game" also received numerous nominations.
Even though the Academy Award nominees were just announced, the Oscars have been on the minds of filmmakers, actors and directors for months. Studios began "campaigning" for Oscars in the last quarter of 2014, making cases for their films as pieces of superior craft that deserve the highest recognition the film industry has to give. Here's a look at how much Hollywood is spending this awards season to take home the gold at the 2015 Academy Awards.
By the time the golden statues are handed out and taken home, the Oscar nominated films will have dropped a whopping $100 million on Oscar campaigns combined, estimates writer and producer Stephen Follows. Another estimate from Tom O'Neil of GoldDerby.com puts the average annual costs of all Oscar campaigns even higher.
"Hollywood spends on average about $150 million dollars a year to win an Oscar that costs $400 to manufacture. Now that's proof that Hollywood is crazy right there," O'Neil said to KPCC Southern California Public Radio.
The absolute bare minimum cost to get an Oscar is $200,000, Hollywood publicist Ziggy Kozlowski told KPCC. Studios' budgets for Oscar campaigns have a wide range, too, from $3 million up to $25 million, reports E! Online. Follows says that best picture winners spend an average of $10 million on campaigns.
Actors, writers, directors and other filmmakers often get in on the action, too, putting in their own time and money, especially if their studios aren't making as strong a push as they might like. They will often do this through promotional efforts, like personal appearances and interviews, in which they can talk about their work in the film. But these extra appearances come with extra expenses, like travel, lodging and food on the road.
According to E! Online, it's not uncommon for actors to double their publicity budgets during the awards season as they're chasing an Academy nomination or award. Plus publicists typically get a $20,000 bonus for each successful Academy Award nomination or win, reports Follows. And some will pay out of pocket for other, more expensive campaign efforts like advertising.
So what's all this Oscar campaign money spent on? A large portion goes to advertising. A common tactic is to take out an ad in The New York Times, which typically costs $50,000 to $100,000, according to KPCC, because this effectively targets the Academy voters who tend to be older (the median age is 62), white and male. A one-page advert in The Hollywood Reporter is almost equally expensive, costing $72,000, reports Follows.
Other costs of an Oscar campaign can include DVD mailers, which send copies of the film to Academy voters, which KPCC reports can run from $3 to $14 apiece and are sent to tens of thousand of recipients. Past Academy Award winner for best picture "Crash" spent $250,000 to send out DVD mailers, Follows said. Parties, advanced screenings and special screenings of Academy Award hopeful films can also add to Oscar campaign costs.