With the frequency of a blind clock or a stopped squirrel or Tom Friedman, President Obama is right once in a while (okay, forget Tom Friedman).
Last year, the Academy spent $38.3 million on the awards show and its satellite events, up nearly $3 million from 2011. Using a combination of figures publicly released by the Academy during the past six years as well as estimates and price quotes from comparable vendors, THR has calculated the distribution of funds and highlighted a few line items from the Oscars’ annual ledger.
Producers’ honorarium: $100,000-plus
As a token of gratitude for overseeing the massive enterprise, the Academy sends the telecast’s producers (this year: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron) a thank-you card and a check in the low-six figures.
Host’s fee: $15,000-$25,000
The responsibility of keeping the awards show entertaining and ending it on time goes to the host, and for shouldering that burden, first-time host Seth MacFarlane is paid above the $15,000 SAG-AFTRA minimum.
Oscar statuettes: $45,000
The value of the 24-karat-plated mini man is tied to the price of gold, currently about $1,600 an ounce. THR calculates that each of this year’s 50 statuettes from manufacturer R.S. Owens is worth about $900.
The set: Less than $1 million
The cost of the Dolby Theatre set is comparable to that of a major musical: at least several hundred thousand dollars. The Academy saves by renting equipment that vendors are loath to loan to open-ended Broadway runs.
Winners’ envelopes: $10,000
Stationery designer Marc Friedland spends 110 hours laminating, hand-folding, goldleaf-stamping and embossing 488 nominee cards, but only the 24 bearing the winners’ names will be revealed onstage.
The red carpet: $25,000
Unaffiliated L.A.-based Red Carpet Systems quotes $1.50 per square foot for the priceless experience of walking the world’s most famous crimson corridor, which is 500 feet long and 33 feet wide.
Sounds like the only people doing well in the ObamEconomy are Hollywood luvvies and federal workers (whose pay raise, ordered by Obama, kicks in next month). Figures: politics is just show business for ugly people, as the saying goes.
At least show business pays off the investment:
The city also benefits: The Los Angeles Economic Development Council says Oscar fever injects $130 million into the economy every year.
The Academy reported $89.6 million in Oscar-related revenue in the financial statement it released in June. The bulk of that income is from the Walt Disney Co., which pays $75 million annually for the rights to broadcast the awards show through 2020.
But when you open your paycheck today, and see that extra deduction for the payroll tax, I hope you think of that $25,000 red carpet and the 100k each two guys earn for one night’s work.
And think of Obama’s guys’ golf outing with Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon while you’re at it. As long as somebody’s enjoying himself, right?