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2013 Best Picture Nominees: What ‘Nebraska’ Means for Viacom, Inc.

By Tim Beyers – Mar 1, 2014 at 7:25AM

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Despite six total nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Bruce Dern, the indie drama may still fail to earn profits for Viacom, Inc.’s Paramount Pictures.

Bruce Dern is up for Best Actor honors for Nebraska. Sources: Facebook, Paramount Pictures.

Nebraska may be up for six Oscars but the movie isn't likely to do much for Viacom's (VIAB) Paramount Pictures, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Starring Bruce Dern as an aging father traveling with his estranged son (played by Will Forte) to collect a million-dollar prize, Box Office Mojo places Nebraska in the "Comedy-Road Trip" category alongside such films as Walt Disney's Wild Hogs (2007), Time Warner's We're the Millers (2013), and Universal's Identity Thief (2013). Yet, unlike those films, Nebraska is a potential Oscar winner in the following categories:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Alexander Payne)
  • Best Actor (Bruce Dern)
  • Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb)
  • Best Original Screenplay (Bob Nelson)
  • Best Cinematography

A strong list that resonated at the box office. Nebraska earned 48.2% of its $16.5 million worldwide haul after its nomination to the "Best Picture" list. In the process, U.S. theater showings jumped from 521 to 968.

Yet Tim says that's where the good news ends. Paramount spent an estimated $12 million to produce this contender. Figure another $12 million for marketing and distribution and Nebraska needed at least $24 million in gross profit to break even. Instead, after figuring a 50% cut to cinemas, the film likely earned just $8.25 million in gross profit. Paramount is going to need some big wins in order to get moviegoers to pony up and reverse the equation.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate Nebraska'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 Viacom stock at current prices.

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 and Walt Disney 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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