Why do the Oscars Matter? And how have Black Oscar Nominated Films performed at the Box Office?

By Dapo Oshiyemi

12th February, 2018

Another year of Oscar glitz, glamour and drama is almost upon us and the Studios and Producers have been spending millions of dollars campaigning and promoting their films, while Actors and Directors are spending an insane amount of their precious time globe trotting to promote the films they appear in. So why do the Oscars matter so much? Well, while the glamour of the Oscar ceremony and the joy of being recognised by your peers is great, the real reason the Oscars matter, is because getting an Oscar nomination or win means a film and its talent get unprecedented global exposure and that normally translates into BIG MONEY!

According to Reuters, an Academy Award nomination can boost a films box office performance by 33% and when you add VOD, PayTV, Free to Air and other ancillaries the monetary rewards can be very substantial indeed.

Moonlight made for a budget of $4m went on to take $65m at the Box office

For talent Actors, Directors, DoP’s, Editors, Writers etc a Oscar nomination can boost their pay by as much as 20% according to  many Agents and Managers, so its big money for talent too,  they are not in it just for the glamour of the red carpet, parties or even the win, money matters to them too.

Viola Davis, Oscar 2017 winner for Actress in a Supporting Role for “Fences”

The Oscars have an even greater impact on Black films and Black talent as the Oscars give them that global platform they would otherwise not get to punch well above their weight in the money game. To put this in some perspective, if we look at the four films that can be considered black because they had black lead cast or dealt with black, lifestyle, culture, history or politics which were nominated for the 89th Oscars in 2017, the figures show an impressive commercial performance with each film doing better than it otherwise would have done without an Oscar push.

FILM                           BUDGET                     BOX OFFICE

Hidden figures           $25m                          $235m

Moonlight                     $4m                             $65m

Fences                             $24m                          $64m

Loving                             $9m                             $13m

I think we are now seeing a trend where Black films feature consistently in the yearly Oscar conversations and this is something which really kicked off in 2013, when 12 Years a slave a small film made for just $20m which  started out as a limited release targeted mainly at the Black and Art House audience, went from an initial projected Box office of  $30 million worldwide but  after receiving 9 Academy Award nominations, the revised estimate was $50 million then after winning the Oscar for best picture, its worldwide box office smashed past $100m and eventually reached $188m and it did very well for its talent too making an unknown Lupita Nyong’o a household name and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Steve McQueen even bigger names.

After all, is said and done, all the Oscar nominations and wins matter but box office success matters more to the film industry and the fact that ‘Get Out’ has already won majorly in the money game even before it got its nomination for this year’s  Oscar’s means the commercial future of Black Films is looking very good indeed.

‘Get Out’ on a Budget of just $4.5m as taken $255m at the Box Office



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