Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Academy Award for Most Successful Nominees ...

Click on the thumbnail for a larger view

... goes to animation and visual effects.

Our anonymous friend VFX Soldier posted this chart showing the average grosses of this year's Oscar-nominated films by category.

Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards were announced yesterday. A reader forwarded me some numbers with this message:

Just wanted to point out the discrepancy in the $$$ area in regards to VFX vs ANY other category this year. And, this is non-Avatar $$ year too! Pretty damn fascinating.

Pretty sure all the other Categories having some union or guild does not hurt them.

While everyone is fighting over who got snubbed and who will win best picture, one thing seems abundantly clear:

VFX is the heavyweight champion when it comes to making money for the film industry.

It’s also important to note that the Animated Feature category would have been higher were it not for the low grossing film The Illusionist getting a nod.

I find it remarkable that the highest paid groups: Writers, Directors and Actors, are all in the bottom half of the graph. While VFX and other technical and artistic craftspeople are in the top half.

Even though the VFX category dominates the film industry, I still hear stories of people in our industry not getting paid, not getting overtime, illegally misclassified, and not having health insurance.

I doubt any of this is true for any writers, directors, or actors. After all, it’s all about fairness and usually that depends on how you define it.

Is it fair that first class VFX artists are the last in line?

A few observations on the numbers that VFXSoldier used for his chart. First, his observation is correct -- substituting any of the other highest-grossing 2010 animated features* for The Illusionist would have kicked the Best Animated Feature average into first place. Get rid of the (imho arbitrary) three-nomination rule, and the difference would certainly have been even more pronounced.

Even more significant, the numbers BoxOfficeMojo used were for domestic gross only. As anyone who reads our box office posts know, animated features always make more dinero overseas, whereas only three of the five Visual Effects nominees took in over fifty percent of their gross outside the U. S.

* The top five domestic-grossers for 2010:

  1. Toy Story 3 ($415 million)

  2. Shrek Forever After ($238 million)

  3. How To Train Your Dragon ($217 million)

  4. Tangled ($186 million)

  5. Megamind ($146 million)

The Illusionist has grossed $370,000 in the U.S., $2.9 million worldwide.


Anonymous said...

That's a pretty meaningless chart. If say, Despicable Me had been nominated, then the average gross of the animated features would have been $295m. Way to let down the side Illusionist!

Anonymous said...

is that only this year or all time?

Anonymous said...

this year -

Anonymous said...

To be fair, animated/ vfx heavy films also cost a lot more to make...

aarrrgh! said...

Great chart. Obviously, animators and vfx artists deserve a bigger piece of the pie. But forces above keep pushing our salaries lower and lower. Some animators I know live in borderline poverty...

Anonymous said...

You can dream all you want to about getting a bigger slice of the pie, but the fact remains artists are BTL and we get paid BTL wages. Actually we get pretty decent BTL wages when you compare it to other BTL people.

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