By the Numbers: The 90th Academy Awards

The 90th Academy Awards will take place on March 4and with last year’s noted lack of diversity, record-low ratings, and that awkward AF Best Picture mix-up, the staple of Hollywood tradition has some ground to make up this year. So how is this year’s ceremony stacking up against years past? To find out, we turned to the research-wizards at WalletHub, who just released their 2018 Oscars Facts Report, complete with a Q&A with a panel of entertainment experts.

The Money

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

You need only watch the first few arrivals on the red carpet to know that the Oscars are kind of the Awards-ceremony equivalent of that big vault of gold that Scrooge McDuck likes to reverse somersault into. But between the red carpet, lavish outfits, insane goodie bags, over-the-top after parties, and the gold-plated awards themselves, just how much is the Academy Awards’ price tag? Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers:

  • $130 million: L.A.’s average annual economic boost from the Oscars
  • $44 million: the total cost of this year’s ceremony (the amount Hollywood spends on awards-season lobbying every year is over twice this amount, at around $100 million)
  • $2.6 million: the cost of a 30-second ad spot during the Oscars broadcast (sure, that sounds pricey, but it’s peanuts compared to the cost of the same length spot during the Super Bowl, which is nearly 50% more)
  • $1.5 million: the cost of the average attendee’s awards-night ensemble (for first timers it drops closer to $266,000, but some A-list actresses rock red-carpet looks that can cost up to $10 million)
  • $300,000: the total cost of mailing screeners out to Academy voters prior to the awards
  • $100,000: the estimated value of those infamous Oscars goodie bags
  • $75,000: the cost for two to attend the Vanity Fair after-party (the most expensive post-awards party)
  • $24,700: the cost of the Oscars red carpet alone (which measures 16,500 square feet)
  • $900: the comparatively measly estimated value of little Oscar himself, the gold-plated statuette handed out to award winners

The Films

In stark contrast to the hefty cash that goes into the Oscars ceremony itself, this year’s Best Picture nominees are proving that the biggest budget doesn’t necessarily lead to the best reception: the four Best Picture picks with the lowest budgets (Get Out, Call Me by Your Name, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) have the highest Rotten Tomatoes ratings (with Get Out topping the list at a truly impressive 99% positive).

If you’ve got stakes on the winners, you can try your luck at taking cues from the Golden Globes: Of the ten most recent actresses to take home the Best Actress Golden Globe, nine have gone on to win the Oscar as well. Don’t take their word on everything, though: The Globes only have a 50% success rate at predicting Best Picture winners.

The film with the most nominations this year is The Shape of Water, with 13 total.

Netflix claims its first ever nominations for an original feature film this year (for Mudbound), racking up four in total.

The Noms Disney | ABC Television Group/Flickr
Disney | ABC Television Group/Flickr

So, what about the nominees themselves? After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, this year’s field of performers indicates that the Academy has made a little bit of headway when it comes to better representation, though there’s still ample room for improvement:

  • Rachel Morrison, who received a nomination for Netflix’s Mudbound, is the first woman ever to be up for Best Cinematography
  • This year, Octavia Spencer receives her 3rd nomination, tying her with Viola Davis for the most ever nominations for a black actress
  • 2018 sees the eighth nomination for Denzel Washington, a record for any black actor
  • The best director nominees this year include both a woman and a black man, for only the second time in Oscars history
  • Jordan Peele is the first black person ever to be nominated for directing, writing, and producing in the same year
  • 774 new members were added to the Academy this year, with 39% of them being women and 30% being people of color. This does make the current class the largest and most diverse ever, but the overall percentage of women in the Academy is still at an awfully low 28%, and non-white members make up a mere 13% of the total.
  • Only two of this year’s Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role nominees are first-timers: Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out and Timothée Chalamet of Call Me By Your Name. The rest of the field has a combined 41 previous nominations and 9 wins.
  • At 22 years old, Timothée Chalamet is the youngest Best Actor nominee in over 20 years. The oldest acting nominee ever is Christopher Plummer, who is nominated this year for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the age of 88 for his role in All the Money in the World.
  • Meryl Streep, who earned her 21st Oscar nomination this year, holds the record for the most nominated performer ever. The record for most nominations ever for a living person is held by John Williams, who has been nominated 51 times throughout his career. The all-time record for most nominations ever received is 59 and belongs, not too surprisingly, to Walt Disney.

About that Best Picture Snafu from Last Year …

After the dumpster fire that was 2017’s Best Picture Winner announcement, you can bet the Academy has put some new rules in place to make sure the audience doesn’t have to experience that sort of second-hand cringe again:

This year, the celebrity presenter and stage manager will specifically confirm that they have the proper envelope just before the reveal (perhaps more surprising is that they weren’t always doing this). PricewaterhouseCooper (the firm responsible for making sure all the envelopes are in the right hands at the right time) partners are banned from using cell phones or social media during the show. The accountants holding the envelopes – along with a third strategically stationed in the control room – will have the winners’ list completely memorized, and PwC chairman Tim Ryan has promised he will be personally involved with the ceremony this year to make sure the announcements are flub-free.

To see WalletHub’s full rundown, and to see what their panel of entertainment experts has to say about this year’s awards and the state of Hollywood in general, check out the report in its entirety here.

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