The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds its annual awards ceremony on March 27. For most of us, that means nothing, but say that's the night of the Oscars and everyone tunes in. Oscar holds a certain fascination; 8.5 pounds of bronze and a coating of 24-karat gold make the 13.5-inch-tall trophy a real standout. But despite Oscar's value in boosting the careers of winners, some Tinseltown folk still manage to end up in bankruptcy. Let's stroll down Hollywood Boulevard to reminisce.
Oscar winner Kim Basinger made so much money from movies like “Batman,” “9 ½ Weeks,” and “L.A. Confidential” that she could afford to buy the Georgia town of Braselton for $20 million. Her star turn in “L.A. Confidential” brought her the Oscar.
Then she stumbled into an $8.5-million lawsuit over an oral agreement she may or may not have made to star in “Boxing Helena.” A Hollywood jury found for the production house suing Basinger. Wisely, after being handed the judgment, Basinger immediately filed for bankruptcy protection. That single move did three things:
- It kept her house from being fair game in the lawsuit
- It safeguarded her personal possessions
- It compelled her to share some rather eye-popping expenses in the bankruptcy filing
While it is unlikely most Texans will have expenses similar to Basinger's, they do reveal what a star needs to, well, live as a star:
- $43,000 in monthly expenses — including $6,100 for clothes and $7,000 for pet care and personal expenses
- $9,000 in monthly alimony payments
- $900,000 in debt for the purchase of Braselton
Basinger eventually got the judgment reversed; “Boxing Helena” was a box office bomb.
Though mostly known for his light roles in vroom-vroom movies, Burt Reynolds was honored with a nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for 1997's “Boogie Nights.” Though he did not win, Reynolds still proved himself to be far more of a class act than his movies.
After a series of disastrous, ill-advised investments, Reynolds filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996, citing $6.65 million in assets against $11.2 million in liabilities.
What juicy gossip did the bankruptcy filing reveal? Only one notable item:
- $121,797 owed to his personal toupee designer
Reynolds responded to the setbacks in typical tough-guy style: he threw himself into movies like “Striptease,” “Boogie Nights,” “The Longest Yard,” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Reynolds appeared in more than 45 movies after the bankruptcy, completely repaying his debts and accumulating an impressive canon of work.
Rhythm and Hues
Not every Oscar goes to the rich, powerful, and famous. Many awards are for technical achievement, such as the Oscar nod to visual effects company Rhythm and Hues.
The 2013 Academy award went to the visual effects firm that made “Life of Pi” such a stunning film. Yet in accepting the award, company founder Bill Westenhofer tried to announce the sad news: the company filed for bankruptcy and laid off more than 250 employees.
We say “tried to announce” because the Academy orchestra played over him and his microphone was turned off. The sad reality (that some 21 visual effects companies shuttered their doors in a decade) was not on the program that evening.
Rhythm and Hues bounced back: it was sold at a bankruptcy auction and currently has around 300 employees. Its credits include movies like “The King's Man,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
Though compared to Hollywood Texas has only a fledgling film industry, it has no shortage of everyday Texans who get into serious financial trouble. Oh, probably not on a scale of Kim Basinger or Burt Reynolds, but trouble nonetheless. After all, everything is relative.
- Medical bills
- Job loss
- Unsecured debt
- Creditor harassment
Though celebrities like Basinger and Reynolds naturally attract publicity with their personal bankruptcies, Texans can conduct their legal proceedings relatively unnoticed, resolve their financial conflicts, and return to peaceful days and restful nights. No, you won't win an Oscar for “Best Resumption of Normal Life After Bankruptcy,” but you'll feel like you did.
Whether you are a celebrity, Oscar winner, or one of our neighbors here in Frisco, The Page Law Firm stands ready to help you through bankruptcy. Contact our offices today or telephone us at (214) 618-2101 today to schedule a strategy session with our Frisco bankruptcy lawyer.