The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, airing March 4th, 2018, will be hosted by ABC late-night host, Jimmy Kimmel. Millions of viewers will be watching to see if Timothee Chalamet beats frontrunner Gary Oldman for best actor or if Get Out or Call Me By Your Name will go home with the prettiest date of all, a little gold man. While the Oscar is the pinnacle of an actor and actress’ career, it’s not worth as much as you think.
The Actual Cost of an Oscar
Just under 3,000 Oscars have been awarded since the first Academy Awards in 1929. The first statuettes were gold-plated solid bronze. Now the awards are made of britannia metal and then plated in copper, then nickel silver, and finally, planted in 24-karat gold. It takes three months to make 50 of the eight and a half pound statuettes.
In 2017, the value of making the statuette was said to be around $400 based according to the entertainment experts at EW.
The Resell Value of an Oscar
Some Olympian winners have sold their gold medals for a “pretty penny,” but Oscar winners cannot resort to the same fortune if they find themselves in a tight spot financially. According to the Academy Awards regulations, Academy Award winners have no rights when it comes to the future ownership of the Oscar statuette.
The site says, “Award winners shall not sell or otherwise dispose of the Oscar statuette, nor permit it to be sold or disposed of by operation of law, without first offering to sell it to the Academy for the sum of $1.00.” This is to keep the honor of the statuette in high respect and not cheapened with a sale.
This hasn’t stopped some winners from getting rid of theirs or just losing it entirely. During an interview at Sundance Festival in 2018, Academy Award winner Nicholas Cage claimed that he’s not sure where he put his Oscar, while Tom Hanks claims to proudly display one of his in his bathroom, as do Sean Connery and Kate Winslet.
The Past Value of Oscars
Despite the Academy’s ban on selling, Oscars have been sold in the past. The pre-1950 Oscars are not under the same laws as Oscars today.
The late pop star, Michael Jackson, paid the most for an Oscar statuette, spending $1.5 million for the 1939 Best Picture Oscar for Gone with the Wind. Magician David Copperfield paid $232,000 for the 1943 Best Director Oscar for Casablanca, which he proudly displays in his bedroom.
Other directors and actors have been adamant about buying statuettes and returning them to the Academy. Steven Spielberg, Oscar-winning director, purchased Bette Davis’ 1938 Best Actress Oscar for Jezebel for $578,000 and returned it to the Academy.
If you want to get your hands on a prized Oscar, it looks like your only hope is to win one yourself or somehow attach yourself to the family line of an Oscar-winner.