2013 Oscar Nominees: What ‘12 Years a Slave’ Means to Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Nominated for nine Oscars, this historical drama has already earned a tidy sum for the Searchlight imprint of studio distributor Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Mar 2, 2014 at 4:00AM


Chiwetel Ejiofor is one of several up for acting honors in 12 Years a Slave. Sources: Facebook, Fox Searchlight.

Oscar favorite 12 Years a Slave, like several Best Picture nominees before it, boasts an impressive financial profile. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains in the following video.

Based on the real-life memoir of a black man born free and then forced into slavery, 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup and is up for 9 Oscars in the following categories:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Steve McQueen)
  • Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley)
  • Best Achievement in Editing
  • Best Achievement in Art Direction
  • Best Achievement in Costume Design

Online betting sites say the film is the favorite to win Best Picture. If they're right, it would be a boon for studio Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Last year's winner, Argo, went on to add another 4.7% to its domestic gross -- and that's despite a mid-October 2012 general release for the film. All told, Argo grossed $232.3 million worldwide for studio distributor Time Warner (NYSE:TWX).

Fox hasn't been as financially fortunate with 12 Years a Slave. Yet that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when you consider that the film cost just $20 million to make -- less than half of what Warner spent on Argo -- while earning $49.3 at the U.S. box office. Nearly 21% of that came after the Academy named 12 Years a Slave to its "Best Picture" list, Box Office Mojo reports.

Worldwide, 12 Years a Slave has earned $128.2 million as of this writing. Taking half that to account for theater operators' cut of the gross puts Fox's share at $64.1 million. Add $20 million in marketing and distribution to Fox's $20 million production budget and Tim says you're still left with a solidly profitable Oscar contender that, like Argo, could enjoy an extended stay in theaters.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate 12 Years a Slave's chances at the Oscars? Did you see the film? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Fox stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Time Warner at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

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Everything else is details. 

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