How much is an Oscar Award statuette worth?

The Oscar trophies are one of the most coveted awards in the world. No surprise as the statuette is regarded to be the highest accolade given in the industry. It serves as a small ensemble of countless alluring stories and narratives behind it.

But, while the Oscars trophies are plated in 24-carat gold and take around $900 to make, you might be surprised that they aren’t actually worth that much when studios spend so much more than that to get the award.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that governs and hosts the annual awards, set firm regulations in terms of the statuettes. The ruling states that any winner cannot sell his or her Oscar trophy without selling it first to the organization for $1. That, technically, makes each Oscar trophy worth only a dollar.

If the actual winner dies, the same regulation applies to all relatives that may inherit the trophy.

However, the Academy, initially required $10 for the statuette should a winner or their heirs decide to sell the trophy. The ruling was changed in 2015 when Joseph Wright’s Oscar for color and art direction in 1942 was sold to Nate D. Sanders, a collectible and memorabilia company. They bought the statue for $79,200 from Briarbrook Auctions, which the latter got from Joseph Tutalo, Wright’s nephew, in 2014.

The Academy filed a case against Briarbrook as an enforcement of its $10 rule, which took effect in 1951. Though Wright got the award prior to the creation of the regulation, the court in Los Angeles sided on the Academy as Wright was a current member of the organization through 1951.

The case was critical as it enlivened the Academy’s aim of preventing the statuettes from being treated as an article of trade. They believed that selling an Oscar award would undermine the value of the accolade. The price then dropped to a mere dollar.

Some statuettes, however, were sold for a substantial amount of money. Michael Jackson bought the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture won by the movie ‘Gone With The Wind for $1,542,000.

Steven Spielberg, who has won three Oscars himself, bought the Best Actor award of Clark Gable for the movie ‘It Happened One Night’ for $607,500 and the Best Actress trophy of Bette David for the movie Jezebel for $578,000.

Spielberg, who was one of the supporters of the 2015 upholding the regulation, then returned the statuettes back to the Academy.

So, despite the prestige and glamor of the Oscars and the priceless and unsurmountable feeling of winning one, the trophy itself isn’t worth that much, monetarily speaking.

For reference, the Academy doesn’t give cash prizes to the winners either but, they receive money in some other ways. Actors who covet a trophy take up to an 80% increase in their salary. Actresses, however, see a less significant hike in their pay after taking home an Oscar statue.

Meanwhile, studios that produce Best Picture winners take boost through name recognition and more projects, turning into bigged box office revenue.

More Readings:

Academy Awards (Wikipedia)

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