Here's How Much Money The Oscar Statue Is Really Worth

Yep, it's that time of the year again: Oscars. When a whole bunch of tuxedoed and gowned celebrities pretend to not be disappointed when the camera focuses on their faces and their names aren't called to win one of those little gold guys. A time for pomp and circumstance, frozen smiles, and speculation about winners in reams of articles. But even though interest in awards shows such as the Oscars has been in "free-fall" (down 44 percent viewership since 2014, per The New York Times), folks will at least tune into following-day listicles to see what movies they should add to their ever-growing watch list.

But that award. It's gold. And gold is expensive, right? Especially since the actual Oscars — the names of the statues — are given to individuals, some of whom are multimillionaires in an industry of fab flair and refined finery. And it's true: the statues are, as Refinery29 says, made from 24-karat gold-plated metal (not solid gold). But they're still somewhat heavy — 8.5 pounds — which might explain why award-winners are always tilted over cradling their tiny gold men. 

So no, the statues aren't bargain-bin cheap, but they're also not as astronomically expensive as you might think. After all, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has to give out at least 24 of these things every year, according to Awards & Shows. Corners need to be cut.

Not cheap, but not as expensive as you'd think

So how much does a single statue cost to produce? According to a 2017 video by Coinage, as cited by the Independent, each statue costs about $400. Multiplied by 24 statues, and not counting extra awards like the Academy Honorary Award, that's $9,600 for all of them. But the whole awards show, including the 16,500-square-foot, $30,000 carpet? $42.8 million, as Refinery29 states. But you know who has the cash? Guests to the Governor's Ball afterparty, which costs $119,800 per couple to attend. And in 2020, as Oscars says, there were 1,500 guests, which means more than $88.8 million.

But don't go thinking that winners could sell their Oscars if they get low on cash. Official academy regulations, as cited by CNBC, state that winners (as well as their heirs) aren't allowed to sell their Oscars directly without first offering to sell them back to the academy for $1 each.

This is a relatively new rule, downgraded from the $10 sellback rule instituted in 1951. In 2015, Joseph Wright's 1942 Oscar for Best Art Direction sold at auction for $79,200. The academy sued the auction house, Briarbrook Auctions, based on their desire to not see Oscars become mere "article[s] of trade," and the LA judge ruled in their favor. They then lowered the sellback value to $1.