Now that the 88th Annual Academy Awards has concluded and all the winners have gone back to their lives in the film industry, movie studios are looking for ways to capitalize on their recent wins. While the most visible effects may be in the box office gross for the Best Picture winner, Spotlight, and fellow nominees, awards season can impact creative choices throughout the industry.
A Best Picture nomination has the greatest effect on mid- to low-budget films that create waves during awards season, as opposed to tentpole studio releases from the likes of Disney
Perhaps the biggest incentive for films to be nominated, though, is the stamp of approval that an Oscar nomination gives films. With an increasingly crowded content marketplace, having an Oscar nomination or win gives audiences reassurance that they will have a quality experience at the theater or at home. Additionally, films could negotiate higher streaming distribution deals with an Oscar win on streamers like Netflix
Beyond simply the Best Picture box office effect, top studio executives often look to the Best Director, Writer, and Actor categories for ways to fill their next projects. As original films are a risky business-with many more failing than finding success-bringing on an Oscar winner to headline a film is an insurance policy of sorts for studios. If an executive signs on Jennifer Lawrence to a film then it fails miserably at the box office, executives and studios can blame the failure more on a manner of irregular box office behavior rather than a bad creative direction.
Any Oscar win is a reason for studio heads to brag to stockholders and boards in the coming months. Warner Bros.
Due to the economic boost that studios receive from Oscar recognition, it makes sense that they would invest in strong awards season marketing campaigns. With a successful Best Picture campaign averaging around $10 million in recent years, analysts estimate that Hollywood spends up to $500 million each year on awards campaigning. Studios hire Oscar consultants-publicists who know how to sway the 6,000 Academy voters-to plan their "For Your Consideration" campaigns and bring home the coveted golden statuette.
Despite the large amount invested in awards season campaigns, studios still benefit from any sort of award or nomination. While movies on the Oscar "snub" list are likely to be forgotten years down the line, Spotlight and The Revenant, for example, are likely to hold their places in film history for years to come, giving each studio and distributor a steady flow of revenue through perpetual streaming and re-releases.