It’s all over but the shouting. This means it’s time for chatting at the watercooler. The Oscar subjects may include: one’s favorite gown, who took a tumble on the steps, the winners from left field and the best acceptance speech. Let’s be honest, everything is fodder for a wildly diverse discussion.
That said I’ve elected to concentrate on the backstory of the Oscars. Namely: what goes on behind the scenes, how the movies profit from the barrage of Oscar publicity and who pays for this hullabaloo.
The New York City Yellow Cab Vote
But first, let’s take a look at an Oscar subject we touched on before: New Yorkers voting for their favorite Oscar contender in a yellow cab in advance of the February 24th awards ceremony. Almost 100,000 taxi riders took part in the survey, which popped up on a TV screen in the back of each cab. That’s far more than the 5,800 members of the Academy who voted for the real winners.
So how did we do? Take a look.
Best Picture: Us: Lincoln Oscar: Argo
Best Actor: Us: Daniel Day-Lewis Oscar: Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Actress: Us: Jessica Chastain Oscar: Jennifer Lawrence
Best Director: Us: Steven Spielberg Oscar: Ang Lee
Oscar Publicity Makes a Difference
Most of the best picture nominees have experienced box-office success. Six of the nine best picture nominees have taken in more than $100 million at the domestic box office. Here is the lineup: Lincoln, $176.8 million, Django Unchained, $157.5 million and Les Misérables, $145.8 million.
Argo, Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook all broke the $100 million mark while Zero Dark Thirty wasn’t far behind with $88.7 million. “These numbers are phenomenal,” says one veteran marketer.
Hollywood Studios Spend Lavishly
With the race for best picture thisclose, the studios launched a marketing assault on the Academy voters that resulted in one of the priciest campaigns ever. “Based on frequency, I’d say Warner (Argo) and Sony (Zero Dark Thirty) spent the most,” says one in-the-know source. One estimate had the Warner film studio spending close to $18 million – much of it on an endless round of pre-Oscar Hollywood parties to fete director/actor Ben Affleck and producer George Clooney.
Typically, studios usually spring for $10 million but, this year the studios spent big bucks at media outlets in New York, Los Angeles and London, where BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) has an influence on Oscar voters.
Obviously big buzz rakes in big results.