Inside the Oscars 2024's $56.9 million price tag



Ryan Gosling may be “just Ken,” but the Oscars are never “just” an award show. The grand finale to the highest-grossing year in film since the pandemic is upon us—and it comes with a hefty price tag.

Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony carries a total cost of $56.9 million, according to a recent report from personal finance company WalletHub based on its own projections, news reports, and data from the Academy.

While the awards themselves tend to be a guessing game, the extravagant cost of the ceremony is a given. From pricey goodie bags for Cillian Murphy and Lily Gladstone to a (relatively) small payday for host Jimmy Kimmel, here’s a cost breakdown of the biggest night in film.

A-list prices

The estimated total cost of an A-list actress’ Oscars outfit is $10 million, according to WalletHub, but a number of stars have outdone that figure. Lady Gaga wore a Tiffany & Co. necklace worth more than $30 million to the 2019 Oscars, Harper’s Bazaar reported.

A few years earlier, in 2014, Cate Blanchett wore a $100,000 Armani gown and $18 million worth of Chopard jewels, while Charlize Theron adorned her $90,000 Dior dress with $15.8 million worth of Harry Winston jewelry. The cost of an Oscars outfit is a more humble $1.5 million for the average attendee and $266,000 for a first-timer, WalletHub estimates.

Not only are the celebrities’ ensembles expensive—so is the very ground they walk on. The 50,000-square-foot red carpet beneath their feet costs $24,700, according to WalletHub. And that doesn’t even include wages for the crew of 18 workers required to install the carpet over the course of two days.

No cash prize—but a wealth of goodies

There’s no cash prize for winning an Oscar—and the 24-karat gold-plated statuette that winners take home is only valued at about $400, according to WalletHub. But the lucky winners of the Best Actor or Best Actress awards can command a 20% pay bump on their next project.

Some Oscar “losers” still get a consolation prize in the form of the notorious goodie bag. The 25 nominees in the acting and directing categories, plus host Jimmy Kimmel, will take home an “Everybody Wins” gift bag worth over $180,000, CNBC reported. Notably, the bags are not affiliated with the Academy—instead, they will be distributed by Los Angeles-based marketing company Distinctive Assets for the 22nd year in a row.

The most lavish gift in this year’s gift bag is a $50,000, three-night stay at Chalet Zermatt Peak, a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Nominees can invite up to nine guests for private use of the chalet. Other pricey experiences included in the bag are a seven-night stay at the California spa Golden Door, worth $24,000, a $25,000 live show from mentalist Carl Christman, and a $10,000 microneedling treatment from Cynosure.

The gifts on the (relatively) lower end of the price spectrum include a $1,350 portable Schwank Grill, a skincare set from Miage valued at $515, a $139 red-light sleep therapy device from Helight, and finally, a $15 retro-themed Rubik’s Cube.

It ain’t much, but it’s honest work

In 2022, Kimmel revealed on his late-night show that he was paid $15,000 the first time he hosted the Oscars in 2017. It “sounds like a lot for one night, but it’s months of work leading up to it,” Kimmel added.

That’s less than “scale”—or the minimum that SAG-AFTRA union members get paid—Kimmel said. But 2024 will mark the fourth time Kimmel hosts the Oscars, and if the Academy factors in inflation as well, he could very well command a raise. 

Alec Baldwin, who hosted the Oscars in 2010, similarly lamented the “thankless job.” “The Oscars pay you like chicken feed,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. “It’s all about the honor of helping to extol film achievement.” Meanwhile, the telecast’s producers got paid an “honorarium” of at least $100,000 in 2013, according to THR

Oscarnomics

The Oscars cost a fortune to host—but they bring in even more. Advertisers shell out $1.85 million for a 30-second ad during the award show. That’s much less than the $7 million CBS charged for the Super Bowl this year, but the Oscars bring in a respectable $120 million in ad revenue for ABC on Oscar Sunday.

And there’s a chance advertisers get the bang for their buck. During the 2022 telecast, the Oscars audience increased by 555,000 after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, according to Nielsen data released by NBC, helping it draw 16.6 million total viewers that year.

WalletHub estimates that the annual ceremony boosts Los Angeles’ economy by an estimated $170 million, while films that win the Best Picture award get a $7.8 million average increase in domestic sales. The financial impact of the Oscars may not be on par with the billions-dollar boost of Taylor Swift or the Super Bowl—but the show is just as popcorn-worthy.

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