Gwendolyn Purdom
March 04, 2018 1:02 pm

Winning an Oscar pretty much makes you an automatic contender for that Most Successful title at your next high school reunion. It scores you millions of eyeballs watching as you thank your parents and your publicist. It gives you a chance to show off your ridiculously expensive borrowed gown or tux. But do winners actually get *stuff* for the Academy honor?

Obviously, they get the Oscar trophy itself. Now made by New York’s Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry (the company beat out long-time Chicago manufacturer R.S. Owens in 2016), the prestigious little statuettes aren’t actually worth much monetarily — for the winners, anyway. The Academy legally prohibits recipients, or their family members, from selling their Oscars without offering it to the motion picture group first, and all they’ll pay is $10 for it.

A version of this rule has been in place since 1951, so some older trophies have been sold for big bucks, including the 1939 Best Picture award for Gone with the Wind that Michael Jackson once bought for $1.54 million. Legal restrictions and cultural significance aside, the trophies — made of gold-plated pewter — set their maker back about $400 a piece.

Since the 2010 ceremony, winners have also gotten on-the-spot engraving for their Oscars.

A station is set up at the post-awards Governors Ball reception where stars can watch as their names get carved into their trophies. Before that, it was up to the winners to bring their little gold dudes all the way back to the Academy at some point to get their name on them so the service is quite an upgrade. The ball itself is another perk, though all nominees, presenters, and others involved in the broadcast are invited to partake along with the winners. This year’s party will feature fancy food from chef Wolfgang Puck, live entertainment, and a swanky overall aesthetic courtesy of Academy Award-winning makeup artist Lois Burwell.

A bunch of major nominees are also gifted the famed swag bag, an annual over-the-top tradition from a company called Distinctive Assets (the actual Academy has no ties to the goodie bags and has actually filed a suit against Distinctive Assets in the past for using the Oscar name). This year, the giveaways are estimated to be worth at least $100,000 each. They go out to only those up for the acting and directing categories, so be on the lookout for Margot Robbie enjoying her new Luxura Diamonds “conflict-free” necklace or Guillermo del Toro making the most of his 12-day Tanzanian vacation.

Arguably the biggest prize that comes with nabbing an Oscar, of course, is the moneymaking bump it usually delivers.

And this can be a pretty big bump. One study suggested a male actor can see as much as a $3.9 million salary increase after winning, but — surprise, surprise — women typically only get about a $500,000 boost (a figure that’s hopefully poised to change as the #TimesUp movement works its way through the industry). Studios behind the winningest movies stand to profit big, too, once the envelopes have been opened (and, ahem, read correctly, Faye and Warren).

All in all, winning an Oscar sounds like a pretty sweet deal. And that’s not even counting the stuff your win could earn others: Remember when Julia Roberts won Best Actress for Erin Brockovich and her childhood dentist bought a tube of toothpaste for EVERY KID in town? It was awesome.

The 90th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on Sunday, March 4th.

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