Hollywood Insider Exposes ‘Dark Art’ Of Buying Oscars & How Much A Win Costs

Clue: it's ludicrously expensive.

Hollywood Insider Exposes ‘Dark Art’ Of Buying Oscars & How Much A Win Costs

Image: Zac Johnson

We’re all excited for the upcoming Academy Awards after a slate of massive movies hit our screens in 2023. From Barbie to its inimitable box office nemesis Oppenheimer, there really was something for everyone. Now, we look forward to the Oscars being a moment to see which films are rewarded with the ultimate accolade…But, is the process for picking award winners as fair as we’re led to believe? Or is there a hidden cost to clinching a golden figurine?

Making movies isn’t just about the art of cinema, it’s also a high-stakes financial war where studios spend millions to sway the Academy’s vote. It turns out that “Oscar campaigning is kind of a dark art,” according to Chris Palmeri of Bloomberg, and the secrecy behind this expenditure makes it a massively murky business…

WATCH: Oppenheimer’s Glorious Trailer

In the Bloomberg Originals mini-documentary “How to Win an Oscar“, the shadowy world of Oscar campaigning is laid out before our very eyes, unveiling the four essential pillars for a successful bid. While the exact financial “investment” remains elusive, Michael Schulman, author of Oscar Wars, estimates that a decided victory in the battle for Oscar glory can cost up to US$25 million. This price tag has given rise to a highly specialised industry of campaigners, strategists, and publicists, all vying for a piece of the decidedly juicy Oscar pie.

The Academy claims it has attempted to curb some of the more aggressive campaigning tactics by implementing new rules but, despite these regulations, the competition for Oscars shows no signs of slowing down. Studios continue to invest heavily in campaigns, hoping to secure not just a statuette but the prestige, increased box office returns, and elevated industry standing that come alongside it.

2024 Oscar Predictions

In this year’s heated race to the top, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is widely considered to be a frontrunner across the board and could, if he gets lucky, end Nolan’s streak of Academy Award disappointments. Despite the widespread acclaim for movies like The Dark Knight, Inception, and Dunkirk, Nolan has often been left empty-handed on Hollywood’s biggest night.

Image: Universal

The best barometer for Oscar success lies in the results of Hollywood’s Screen Actor’s Guild awards and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honours. Their voting membership shares significant overlap with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making their choices highly indicative of potential Oscar winners.

Given that Oppenheimer swept the board at the BAFTAs — taking home seven awards from thirteen nominations — including the most sought-after Best Picture gong.

Critics’ awards, while not the most consistent predictors, are also vital in building momentum ahead of the big night. Not only do they influence marketing strategies and voter perceptions, but they ultimately impact the decision-making process for Academy members and viewers alike.

As the awards season continues to unfold, all eyes are on Nolan and Oppenheimer to see if they can translate critical acclaim into Oscar gold…