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5 surprising money facts about the Oscars


This weekend marks Hollywood’s biggest night of the year – the Oscars.

More formally known as the Academy Awards, it’s one of the most prestigious events in every A-listers’ calendar and everybody who’s anybody will be there.

With all the glitz and glamour that will undoubtedly be on show, it’s no surprise to learn that the cost of laying on this famous Tinsel Town ceremony carries a hefty price tag, with this year’s event reportedly costing over $42 million.

But did you know there are several other eyebrow-raising money facts associated with the Oscars?

We’ve been delving into the history books to uncover some of the more interesting ones and here, we shine the spotlight on some of our favourites.

An Oscar statuette is worth only $1

Standing at 13.5 inches tall, weighing a robust 8.5 pounds and made from solid bronze, plated in 24-carat gold, an Oscar statuette costs around $400 to make.

More interestingly though is the fact that, technically, its value is just $1.

That’s right. Whilst there have been instances of wealthy individuals parting with huge amounts of cash to buy previously won Oscars – Stephen Spielberg’s purchase of Bette Davis’s 1938 Best Actress Oscar for $578,000 is one – a court ruling in 2015 means it’s no longer possible to wave your cheque book to get your hands on one. To maintain the value and integrity of the Academy’s Award of Merit, signified by the Oscar statuette, under the court ruling winners are not legally permitted to sell or dispose of their Oscar without first offering it to the Academy for the sum of $1.

Tickets for the first ever Oscars were only a fiver!

The very first Academy Awards ceremony on 16 May 1929 were held at the Blossom Room in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and the cost of a ticket was just $5.

But given the fact the ceremony lasted only 15 minutes and all the winners had already been announced three months earlier, it probably wasn’t as good value for money as you might have first thought!

The red carpet by numbers

A staple of the Oscars, the famous red carpet where we see the stars stepping out in all their finery, made its first appearance at the 33rd Academy Awards in 1961.

Measuring 50,000 square feet, it takes a team of 18 workers 900 hours to install. And the cost? A whopping $24,700. But that’s not all. The carpet is only ever used once, with a brand new one having to be made each year!  

Dress to impress

What the stars wear has long been a part of red carpet culture and we’re probably all familiar with that cliched question reporters typically ask, “Who are you wearing?” However, with the ever-growing list of high-end fashion designers queuing up to dress Hollywood’s A-listers, increasingly, the question that’s on everyone’s minds is “How much did it cost?”

The most expensive outfit ever worn to the Oscars is reportedly the ensemble worn by Cate Blanchett when she won Best Actress in 2014. She graced the red carpet in an Armani Prive dress that was embellished with $100,000 worth of Swarovski crystals, teamed with a jewellery set that included opals and a diamond bracelet and ring. The total cost of the outfit was valued at $18.1 million.

However, even that was put in the shade when, in 2019, Lady Gaga wore a 128-carat Tiffany diamond necklace worth $30 million!

Bags for life

Whilst not every attendee at the Oscars gets to take home one of the prestigious awards, all the nominees in the acting and directing categories do receive an Oscars goodie bag. Now, we’re not talking about a balloon, a party popper and a handful of sweets here. The contents of these exclusive gift bags are supposed to enhance the recipient’s life and are said to be worth over $200,000.

The elaborate swag bag typically includes an incredible range of lavish gifts, such as luxury beauty products, life coaching sessions, vouchers for cosmetic treatments and exotic holidays. According to reports, this year’s goodie bag even includes a plot of Scottish land and a title!

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