It’s the ultimate honour, the artistic pinnacle, the culmination of childhood dreams.
But what’s the real value of an Oscar?
It’s different for everyone who wins one, of course — maybe it means more work, maybe it means better work, and maybe it means a bump into the next salary bracket. And for some, curiously, it doesn’t do much of anything.
Five years out from their podium moment, here’s how six winners from the 2006 Academy Awards have fared.
Haggis's interwoven stories of a diverse L.A. group won him huge buzz -- and the award for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Since then, the Scientology whistle-blower has had no trouble getting work. He's the go-to writer for Bond flicks ('Casino Royale,' 'Quantum of Solace') and Clint Eastwood joints ('Letters to Iwo Jima,' 'Flags of Our Fathers'). Combined, those four films made over $400 million.
Hoffman won Best Actor for his intensely accurate portrayal of Truman Capote in 'Capote.' Now, we know Hoffman has never been about obvious blockbusters -- but his subsequent films have been financial flops, even for indies. His latest, 'Jack Goes Boating,' only took in $539,000 at the box office. But his luck may change with this year's 'Moneyball,' the much-anticipated adaptation of Michael Lewis's book.
Miss Witherspoon had Best Actress locked up for her turn in 'Walk the Line' -- and she's been lining up successful roles in commercial bonanzas ever since. 'Four Christmases' made $120 million; the animated 'Monsters and Aliens' made nearly $200 million. And just at the right time, Witherspoon is returning to critically interesting parts -- she'll be in 'Water for Elephants' this year.
Best Director winner Ang Lee was hailed as a visionary for 'Brokeback Mountain.' But he's been a quiet visionary since. 'Lust, Caution' was liked by critics but made barely a blip at the box office. And 'Taking Woodstock' was a costly flop -- it didn't even earn back a third of its $30 million budget.
Weisz snagged Best Supporting Actress for her part opposite Ralph Fiennes in 'The Constant Gardner.' But her career since has been constantly, thoroughly average. 'Eragon,' 'Fred Claus' and 'The Lovely Bones' were lukewarm underperformers. It looks like Weisz is ready to make bolder choices, though -- she's slated to play Jackie Kennedy in a movie about JFK's final days.
Packing on the pounds paid off when Clooney won Best Supporting Actor for his role in 'Syriana.' Now, America's most famous leading man has never had trouble booking lucrative jobs. But the Oscar bump did help to bring box office dollars to his quirkier choices. 'Michael Clayton' doubled its budget at the box office, 'Up In the Air' made $84 million -- and both earned him Oscar nominations. That's three in five years -- so we'll give him a pass on 'Leatherheads.'
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