Do Actors Get Money For Winning An Oscar? No, But Yes

Oscar statues

Do Oscar winners get any money when they win an Academy Award? The direct answer is no, but the longer answer is yes. There's huge value in winning an Oscar, even beyond bragging rights and feeling valued in your chosen career. For actors and actresses in particular, getting that statue is often tied to a pay bump.

Do You Get Paid For Winning An Oscar?

No, it's not like Survivor or anything where there's a literal cash prize to win the competition.

How Much Is An Oscar Statue Worth?

According to EW, it costs about $400 to make an Oscar statue. However, don't go thinking you can just sell the Oscar if times get tough. Per an Academy rule (upheld in a 2015 court ruling), before a statue can be put up for bid, it must first be offered to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for just $1 -- down from $10 previously.

Swag Bags: It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated

It really is an honor just to be nominated if you show up at the Academy Awards and walk away with a swanky "swag bag." Oscars gift bags are notoriously over-the-top and the 2020 bags have items totaled to be worth around $215,000. The gift items are incredible, but you can probably sell that vape pen with 24K gold finish and pocket the money if you want.

How Much Extra Money Can An Oscar Win Give A Star?

There's no one set amount, but Money Nation noted an average salary boost of 60%, higher for some winners and lower for others. It depends in part on where the actor or actress already was in their careers. Like Brad Pitt winning for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood probably wouldn't change his ask much, since he's already an A-list catch getting the big bucks. There's not much higher he could go.

But some examples in the past include Halle Berry getting a 98% boost after her 2002 Oscar win for Monster's Ball -- going from an average salary of $118,750 before her win to $6.5 million after. Tom Hanks also saw a 93% boost after his first Oscar win for 1994's Philadelphia, going from an average of $700,000 per movie to commanding $10 million. Some boosts are more subtle, like Kate Winslet "only" going from around $2 million to $2.5 million after winning Best Actress for The Reader in 2009, per Money Nation.

Jennifer Lawrence reportedly doubled her salary after winning Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, and Hilary Swank said she was only paid $3,000 to make Boys Don't Cry but after winning her Oscar she could command more than $1 million. But the Oscar buzz doesn't last forever and as it fades, so can the paycheck. (That could be good news for Judy star Renée Zellweger, who had something of a "comeback" last year.)

Jo Piazza, author of Celebrity Inc: How Famous People Make Money, broke down the Oscars value to MarketWatch:

Oscar nominations and wins are like a seal of approval for a brand which in this case is the actress or actor. Most agents I’ve talked to say that an Oscar win correlates to a 20% bump in the asking price for their next film. But the direct fiscal value add, in terms of a direct correlation between a win and an increase in salary, often ends up more tenuous.

The Oscars Bounce

We see it every year at the multiplex after a movie gets an Oscar nomination. Suddenly that movie gets a boost in ticket sales or -- in this day and age -- a boost in streaming. Last year, Green Book rode that Best Picture Oscar win at the theater for a while, making a lot of extra money. For Oscars 2020 weekend, Adam Sandler's Uncut Gems expanded into more theaters, despite Sandler being "snubbed" for an Oscar. He still won a Spirit Award and made quite a spirited speech about it, and the buzz about his "snub" provided a boost for Uncut Gems on its own. So you can win without even winning an Oscar.

Having an Oscar winner in your movie can add name-value that helps the film get financed. Studios love to market films as starring Academy Award Winner X or even Academy Award Nominee X. Just getting that branding helps the entire production, which is part of why studios work so hard in their For Your Consideration campaigns.

The 2020 Academy Awards air Sunday, February 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.