Why is Brand Value So Important on Oscar Night?

February 27, 2017

There’s nothing like live TV. Predictions and controversies are all part of the show, folks. It’s what makes the Oscars’ brand value soar. For three years in a row, the front-runner has lost on Oscar night. ‘La La Land’ also lost in one of the biggest and ultra-bizarre Oscar upsets ever. 

What does that say about brand value? The films’ brands? The Oscar brand? And does a film’s visual buzz have sway on the actual winners themselves? In analyzing the visual chatter of the 2017 Oscar nominees, we weren’t too far off the mark. 

 Brand Value

Winners Picked Correctly 

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis
Best Actress: Emma Stone.
Best Picture: La La Land… for 45 seconds, at least.

Winners We Missed and Why (Analyzing Real vs, Projected Brand Value)

Best Actor: Ryan Gosling Casey Affleck 
In terms of visual presence, Ryan Gosling is one of the strongest celebrity brands in Hollywood. His age, good looks and choice of personable roles all have contributed to his popularity across the web and social media. Starring in ‘La La Land’, the season’s front-runner film and opposite the Best Actress’ favorite Emma Stone, increased his visual chatter exponentially.
Casey Affleck’s visual presence is another story. Casey has famously eschewed the Hollywood lifestyle, admitting he isn’t super keen on all the attention that comes with awards season. His role in the critically-acclaimed film ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is a turning point for a career marred by small parts in forgettable films and years of playing second fiddle to his older brother, Ben. As the tabloids dissect the Oscar ceremony, many of them are asking, Casey who?” This win goes against the trend, as life sometimes turns out that way. See Best Picture’ category case in point.
Best Picture: La La Land Moonlight
In perhaps the most unbelievable ending to an Oscar ceremony, ‘La La Land’ was awarded the Academy Award for best picture, a mistake that was eventually corrected to honor the actual winner, ‘Moonlight’. It seems the nostalgic musical’s hype and visual dominance caught up to itself, and with ‘La La Land’s loss, one thing becomes clear: you don’t want to be the early Oscar front-runner. For three years in a row, the front-runner has lost on Oscar night. What’s more, ‘La La Land’ lost in one of the biggest and ultra-bizarre Oscar upsets ever. Nevertheless, they handled the unusual situation with grace and humility.
But what about ‘Moonlight’, the little film that could? It doesn’t star any household names, its director had only directed one other unheard-of feature film, and its budget was a low $1.6 million,  (by contrast, ‘La La Land’ was shot for $30 million).  It wasn’t selling out theaters or breaking box office records and its visual buzz before the Oscars was trailing behind both ‘La La Land’ and ‘Hidden Figures’. Some interpreted the win as a political message, while others thought it was a nod towards inclusivity. Whatever the pundits reflect, it’s definite that this year, more than ever, the Best Picture contest seems to double as a referendum on America’s cultural conscience. 

And the award goes to…

Innovative branding. While ‘La La Land’ enjoyed a hugely successful marketing push from the get-go, ‘Moonlight”s performances and strategic positioning led them to being considered the leading runner-up in the Best Picture category—a huge coup for a low-budget film about a confronting subject
And with regards to the Best Actor award, visual buzz can only take your brand value so far. Substance often conquers style: if it holds up and is innovative in its expression. This won’t be the last we hear of Casey Affleck (or Casey who?).
From the lens here at PicScout, we understand the importance of strong brand value: the Oscar brand, the Oscar nominee brand, and the brand of the winner. If last night’s events are anything to go by, it’s that independent movie marketers can learn a few things on how better to capitalize on the Oscar brand to enhance their client’s brand value.

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