Golden Glaze, Or After the Awards Turn Into Ad Campaigns, What Will You See?

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If you’ve noticed the Oscar wins have now turned into ad campaigns, you’re right, but there’s more to the story. Because Boyhood did not sweep the Oscars, IFC Films will underplay Patricia Arquette’s Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress, and sell the movie’s three Golden Globe Awards.

Shh, Girlhood & Sisterhood Trump Boyhood, lol...

Shh, Girlhood & Sisterhood Trump Boyhood, lol…

That would be her Golden Globe for Best Supporting, one for Best Picture (Drama), and the third for Director Richard Linklater.  Now consider Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which reaped Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, but lost a key award – Best Actor to Eddie Redmayne, instead of Michael Keaton. Birdman’s marketing team will have to stop the clock, at the nine Oscar nominations, and tout that figure to get people to see their movie.


At approximately $37.9 M USD, give or take a few thousand, Birdman has yet to flip the gold into cash, with that figure on $77 M USD for international box office take. Boyhood has a meager $25 M USD on $49 M USD international box office tally. Ironically, The Imitation Game, which fell off the winners map almost completely (due in part to Benedict Cumberbatch’s stumbles in the press), has less work to do post-awards. Less work because the tally for that film is $84 M USD domestic on $183.9 M USD international. This is the reality of parlaying awards into cash for all the nominees for 2014. First quarter 2015 means creative use of a film’s nom and win totals to make bank.

Who Unplugged My Oscar Campaign?

Who Unplugged My Oscar Campaign?

And, in keeping with tradition when expectations fall away, Imitation Game touts three SAG Award Wins, and the movie’s eight Oscar nominations since they were also required to stop the clock when the wins didn’t break their way at the Academy Awards.


The figures out there for an Oscar campaign run a middle-budget movie $10 M USD, and upwards of $30 M USD for a big budget tentpole. To justify these numbers, besides win totals, studios require actors, directors, producers, and writers to put on the dog-and-pony show for not only pre-awards coverage, but during, post-press, as well as festival appearances. Hence Keira Knightley shows up at the WGA Awards; Ethan Hawke with Patricia Arquette get feted in Santa Barbara; and Jennifer Aniston shows up for festivals, the SAG Awards, and The Golden Globes, where her movie Cake, snubbed by the Oscars, found some love. And Richard Linklater shows up literally everywhere, from Nov. to Feb., the entire awards season.

Boyhood Bank & 'Can't See the Money, Dad...'

Boyhood Bank & ‘Can’t See the Money, Dad…’

But one of the unaccounted factors that drives viewers away is ‘nominee fatigue.’ Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette swept the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, BAFTA, Spirit Awards, and the Oscars for Best Supporting Actress with a “rousing speech” on equal pay for women – all great news for her personally. Boyhood, the movie however, much-dissected for its decade-plus production schedule and revealed to be plotless or “like real life” was badly overexposed to viewers. In other words, fans were willing to cheer on Arquette, but clearly had little interest in the movie at $25 M USD box office and scant change immediately after the awards bump.

Michael Keaton, whose Oscar future seemed a shoo-in even to him, had shown up in so many practice speeches, from the win at SAG for Ensemble to the Golden Globes that the veteran actor was literally caught on camera as he tucked his Best Actor Acceptance Speech back into his tuxedo jacket when Eddie Redmayne was announced as the actual Best Actor Oscar winner for 2015.

Keaton Tucks in His Loss, Makes Headlines for It

Keaton Tucks in His Loss, Makes Headlines for It

This harsh pullback, caught in hazy slow-motion by long lenses, became the Birdman story – not the Best Picture, Best Director winner, but the Lost Oscar for Michael Keaton. This sad punctuation (watch for Spolier Alert next) for a dark comedy about a “washed up” actor is not a huge incentive to rush out to movie theaters to ponder whether he leaps out the window with superpowers or without.


Warner Bros. has had a long-time collaboration with Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Production Co., and that includes this year’s Oscar-nominated box office barn-burner, American Sniper (Bradley Cooper). Cooper is also a producer owning some of the backend of this $323 M USD domestic on $433 M USD international behemoth. In other words, Warner Bros. doesn’t need your pity for having their film with six Oscar noms get overlooked in almost every category, not to mention Bradley Cooper’s fourth time as an Oscar nominee who goes home empty-handed. Warner Bros. got exactly one (1) win for Sniper, but their numbers outstrip other winning studios by huge totals.

Wins? Noms? No One Cares If You Make Bank, ps

Wins? Noms? No One Cares If You Make Bank, ps

In fact, the Top Oscar wins by Studio goes to Fox Searchlight (Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel) for eight (8) wins; Sony Pictures Classics, which has just been gutted and retooled after #SonyHack, came in second with four (4) wins, and Walt Disney Pictures, The Weinstein Company, with Paramount split third place for wins at two (2) each. IFC Films, Music Box Films, Focus Features also clocked in at one (1) win each like Warner Bros. Now here’s the studio’s reality check they would like to share with you. For the period ending Feb. 26, 2015, the number one gross earner total at the box office with 26 percent market share is Warner Bros., followed by Universal at 14 percent market share and no Oscar showing. Paramount is #3 at 13.9 percent, and a so-so Oscar year; 20th Century Fox is #4, at 13.3 percent, but Fox Searchlight is back at #10 with 1.9 percent market share. Sony Pictures Classics, at #2 for Academy Award wins, actually accounts for a mere 1.4 percent of market share. These numbers are culled from Box Office Mojo’s latest rundown on studio totals, that rounds in quality banner Focus Features, which literally ranks one notch below sterling Sony Classics, with .08 of market share, and a corresponding low income total to coincide with its share among the studios.

Put That 'Loss' in Quotes Please, Still an Oscar Nomination

Put That ‘Loss’ in Quotes Please, Still an Oscar Nomination

So, Michael Keaton shouldn’t feel bad about missing out on his Oscar, but Fox Searchlight Pictures should be fairly aggrieved that their gold statuette bounty from Birdman and Grand Budapest Hotel has yielded them so little at the box office after the surprise wins or losses of 2015 become history. At least Grand Budapest has $59 M USD domestic on $164 M USD international for box office, considering the budget was only $31 M USD; and Birdman, or the unexpected virtue of Oscar-caliber actors signing on for scale or next to free, only cost them $18 M USD. These are Fox Searchlight Pictures’ out-of-pocket expenses not counting the Oscar campaign budgets. With this final analysis of the long awards season for 2015, at least those of us in the media can shelve these nominees and winners, whereas moviegoers still have to decide what to salvage with their ticket sales.

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