Oscars: How much is a nomination worth? ‘La La Land’ & ‘Hidden Figures’ cleaned up at the box office

An Oscar nomination for Best Picture is good for business. That’s according to an analysis by Variety to determine which films had the highest return on investment, but that return isn’t equal for all nine of this year’s contenders. And the analysis can’t account for every dollar since studios are cagey about marketing costs — not to mention the hefty price tag of Oscar campaigning. But based strictly on production budgets, you can’t beat the profit margin for “La La Land.”

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As of this writing “La La Land” has made more than $300 million worldwide against a $30 million budget. And because the film opened in December, late into the awards season, it has made a sizable chunk of its sum since it earned a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations. And with the film expected to win the lion’s share of Oscars this Sunday, February 26, its box office could increase substantially in the weeks to come.

No film comes to close to “La La Land’s” cost-to-gross ratio yet, but “Hidden Figures” could come close. Out of this year’s Best Picture nominees, it has the highest domestic gross with $144 million against a $25 million production budget, and it has picked up another $21 million overseas early in its international run. Since the film opened on Christmas Day, a great deal of that sum can be attributed to the Oscar bump.

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“Lion” also owes much of its success to Oscar, earning more than half of its $37 million domestic box office total after it picked up a nom for Best Picture. To date it has made $76 million worldwide, and it cost a mere $12 million to produce.

Those are the biggest profit margins of this year’s Best Picture contenders, but they’re hardly the only commercial success stories. See how the rest of the nominees stack up here.

Predict the Oscar winners now; change them till February 26

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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