Considering the beatings most Oscars hosts take from social media, the Academy should at least offer them hefty hazard pay.
Jimmy Kimmel is hosting the 2017 Academy Awards, and he recently told KROQ's Kevin & Bean morning show that he would be paid $15,000 to host the event. "You know why? I think it's illegal to pay nothing." He was asked if his pay was on par with previous Oscars hosts like Chris Rock and Billy Crystal. "That's what they told me," Kimmel said, but he wondered if hosts receive a raise for return hosting gigs. "I'm not sure I was supposed to reveal this, but nobody told me not to. I consider this their fault."
Listen, $15,000 for one event is more than enough from here, but it is the Oscars -- a major production watched by 30-40 million people, just in the U.S. alone -- and they do put months of work into it. So you could argue that it's on the low side of the pay scale.
It's usually not safe to take anything Kimmel says seriously, but this time the facts seem to back it up. This USA Today video from February 2016 also mentioned $15,000-$25,000 as the Oscars host pay range.
In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter posted a breakdown of several Oscars costs:
Host's fee: $15,000-$25,000
The responsibility of keeping the awards show entertaining and ending it on time goes to the host, and for shouldering that burden, first-time host Seth MacFarlane is paid above the $15,000 SAG-AFTRA minimum.
Alec Baldwin got candid about hosting the Oscars in an interview with THR, also in 2013. Here's where he mentions the low pay:
"They need to gamble on the show, and they're not gambling. I am a member of the Academy, but everyone who has done it lately has been crucified. So they're not going to get anybody who is reasonably talented or special to take that chance anymore. They don't pay you any money; the Oscars pay you like chicken feed. It's all about the honor of helping to extol film achievement. But they're going to have a tough time. I'm dying to see who they get to do it next year. They're going to have to go dig someone up from a cemetery. They're going to have to go dig up Bob Hope."
It sounds like hosting the Golden Globes is a more lucrative gig. In 2013, Radar had a report claiming Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would both receive $4 million to host the Globes. But representatives for Tina and Amy told Vanity Fair that "the dollar figure that Radar has printed is grossly exaggerated." According to industry sources, VF reported, the pay for awards-show hosts generally tops out in the low six figures.
Low six figures is still more than $15,000. Either way, it's not money we are seeing, so the actual number Kimmel gets won't change our lives. The 89th Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, February 26 on ABC.
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