How much is an Oscar worth to this pair?
$15 million dollars?
The consensus among Hollywood insiders is that Oscar’s hard-dollar value is potentially much higher for best-actor winner Jamie Foxx than for two-time best actress Hilary Swank, whose box office draw is regarded by many as less certain.
Foxx, crowned for his portrayal of soul music legend Ray Charles, could double his earning power — by some estimates boosting his asking price to between $10 million and $15 million a picture.
Swank, too, is certain to make more money. But she’ll likely trail Foxx by a several million dollars at the bargaining table, in part because some see her as pigeonholed by two gender-bending “butch” roles that have so far defined her career — a cross-dressing youth in “Boys Don’t Cry” and a female boxer with a heart of gold in “Million Dollar Baby.”
I’d say also that her value is less to Hollywood because the value of non-Julia Roberts actresses is so very little (relatively speaking). Only Julia among today’s actresses can open a movie. Ask yourself, would Mona Lisa Smile have been a hit with anybody else? On the male side, there’s a long list of stars who have demonstrated again and again that they can put butts in seats. Is this because women want to see Brad Pitt and men don’t mind seeing him either? Or is it a little bit of what Chris Rock put so bluntly in his HBO special: Women hate other women.
I haven’t had time to really probe it scientifically and I’d hate to end up in Larry Summers territory. But, all things being equal, my gut would rather see a movie starring Foxx than a movie starring Swank. Go figure.