This year's Academy Awards are expected to bring in big money for Hollywood, and not just for the winning pictures, but for nominees and advertisers as well.

Even though viewership of the annual Oscar broadcast has fallen 23 per cent in the past 10 years, the audience of 37.9 million people that watched the telecast last year was above the low of 32 million that tuned in back in 2008.

Advertisers hoping to appeal to the desirable demographic the Oscars attract — largely female and higher-income — are sending the cost of advertising on the telecast higher.

A 30-second commercial spot for the Academy Awards broadcast on ABC costs an average of $1.7 million this year. A commercial of the same length on this year's Super Bowl cost advertisers more than twice that — $3.5 million.

Samsung, Hyundai, and Diet Coke are among the brands advertising on the broadcast this year.

Best picture boost

An Oscar win for Best Picture will net the winner a healthy bump in the form of increased box-office and home video sales.

But for many of the films, just being nominated was enough to produce a big jump in ticket sales.

Of the nine best picture nominees this year, five were still in theatres when nominations were announced in late January. All but one received a significant boost in their box-office take after the nominations were announced.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close made the biggest gain following the nominations, earning 63 per cent of its box office after receiving a surprise nod.

The Artist's surprise success

The Artist, considered by many to be the front-runner to win the Oscar for best picture, has grossed $28.6 million in Canada and the U.S. — 57 per cent of that coming after the nominations were announced. The film cost $15 million to produce.

If it wins, it will be just the second silent film to ever win the Oscar for best picture. The first such award went to the silent film Wings in 1929, a World War I flying epic that cost an inflation-adjusted $25 million to make.

Oscars by the numbers

  • 30-second commercial spot: $1.7 M
  • 2011 viewership: 37.6 M
  • Cost of Oscar statuette: $500

If The Artist does win best picture, it will be one of the lowest-grossing winners ever. The lowest-grossing best picture winner of all time was The Hurt Locker, which won the top honour just two years ago. It took in just $17 million in Canada and the U.S.

The highest-grossing best picture winner was Titanic, which made $600.7 million dollars in North American. It remains the second-highest grossing movie of all time, after Avatar.

This year, the best picture nominees range from The Help, which has grossed $169.7 million in Canada and the U.S. to The Tree of Life, which has made just $13.3 million at the box office.

Combined, the nine best picture nominees have taken in $597 million from Canadian and American audiences, the lowest since the Academy expanded from the traditional five-nominee format in 2009. The average gross of $66 million is the lowest since 2005.

All box office numbers are from BoxOfficeMojo.com.