Magazine article Screen International

Mining Value from an Oscar Win

Magazine article Screen International

Mining Value from an Oscar Win

Article excerpt

Eddie Redmayne's Oscar win has thrown a new potential star into the ring as players in the independent space hustle to package films for Cannes and beyond.

Sales agents have long bemoaned the small pool of marketable talent that can galvanise pre-sales and represent value around the world.

The British actor's Oscar coronation last Sunday for his lead role in The Theory Of Everything offers an opportunity to broaden the range of available star power in non-studio projects.

Indeed Redmayne and Oscar nominee and Birdman star Michael Keaton were on almost every talent list scrutinised by sales agents in the run-up to the EFM in Berlin.

Now every sales agent in the business will be approaching Redmayne's representatives to see if he would be suited to whichever projects they may be sizing up.

Just as agents often demand higher salaries for clients who taste success at the Oscars, so sales agents know they can use the cachet of award-winning talent to boost asking prices on a project.

"I was initially involved in The Hurt Locker and I saw the evolution of something go from a package to six-time Oscar winner," said Nadine de Barros, who founded Fortitude International a year ago.

"We had one buyer who wanted to shelve it and we told them to wait until the nominations. There's a tangible revenue influence that the Oscar has on a movie."

What's next for the winners?

Like all Sunday's Oscar winners Redmayne is yet to choose his next project, although the internet was buzzing on Friday when Working Title tweeted a shot of him as transgender artist Lili Elbe in the upcoming The Danish Girl, a project he committed to last year.

Keaton's upcoming releases this year are Universal's summer release Minions and the Catholic Church abuse scandal ensemble Spotlight, which Open Road will release later this year. He is on board Universal's 2017 release Kong: Skull Island.

Best actress winner Julianne Moore and supporting actor winner JK Simmons are prolific and can expect even more attention from casting agents in the years ahead.

Both are in studio films: the former will reprise her role as President Alma Coin later this year in Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, while Simmons will appear this summer in Terminator: Genisys and joins Keaton on Kong: Skull Island.

Moore is understood to be in the mix on a number of projects that could find their way to the Croisette. The indie darling added prestige to Bankside's hot seller Freeheld and will star alongside Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke on Rebecca Miller's upcoming comedy Maggie's Plan for Protagonist.

Hawke's Boyhood co-star Patricia Arquette triumphed in the best supporting actress category and while her film work is less prevalent she been a TV mainstay in recent years with Medium and Boardwalk Empire and is shooting CSI: Cyber.

Does a win spell box office success?

Given his age and leading man looks, sources agree that Redmayne is the pick of the bunch. While it would appear that he, like Matthew McConaughey, will eschew the elusive profile of 2003 best actor winner Adrien Brody and aim to stay busy, there is no guarantee he will repay the faith of investors with commercial returns.

"It's really it's their ability to carry a movie on their own that commands a price," says Vincent Bruzzese, CEO of research firm C4.

"If you look at the top salaries you have Leonardo DiCaprio, The Rock, Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper and none of them has won. …

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