10 Actors Who Took a Pay Cut for an Oscar

An Academy Award or the chance to work with an acclaimed director can often be worth more than a star’s big pay cheque. You are only as good as your last film, and the following actors chose to took a pay cut – or no salary at all – for a chance to star in a critically-acclaimed movie.

Take a look at the 10 actors who took a pay cut for an Oscar.

1. Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill
image via theskinny.co.uk

Jonah Hill stated he would sell his house and give away all his money just to work with Martin Scorsese, so when the opportunity to star in Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street arose, he was willing to take a pretty big pay cut.

How much did he make from the movie? Just $60,000 (£36,200). To put that into perspective for you, Leonardo DiCaprio made $10,000,000.

The pay cut paid off, though, as the movie earned Jonah Hill his second Academy Award nomination.

2. Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan
image via www.theguardian.co.uk

According to reports, Lindsay Lohan made just $100 (£59.83) per day to star in movie flop The Canyons. It was, however, rumoured that she would receive an equal share of the profits.

3. Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt
image via www.hollywoodreporter.com

Brad Pitt is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, starring in hit movies such as Fight Club and Seven, making him one of the highest paid actors in the industry, commanding $30 million per movie.

His fee, however, wasn’t so significant when starting out, as he earned just $6,000 for the film Thelma and Louise.

4. Ethan Hawke

the purge
image via thefilmstage.com

Ethan Hawke is a household name in the movie industry, and recently starred in the Oscar-nominated film Boyhood. So you might be surprised to learn he earned next to nothing for horror film The Purge.

In exchange for the role, he simply received a share of the movie’s profits. He stated in an interview: “There were no perks. No trailer, no driver, no BS. Just a great role, a great director. Hell, on The Purge, I slept on his couch the whole shoot”.

5. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey
image via www.fanpop.com

Jim Carrey is one of the greatest comedy actors in the business and, confident in his own ability and the screenplay, he traded his salary for the movie Yes Man for a share of its profits.

The move paid off, as he earned £35 million (£21 million) following the success of the film, which grossed $226 million (£135 million).

6. Chris Evans

Chris Evans
image via www.frontpagemag.com

Robert Downey Jr may have earned an envious $50 million (£30 million) for his role as Iron Man/Tony Stark in The Avengers, Chris Evans was not so lucky. He earnt just £2 million for his role as Captain America. We almost felt bad for Chris – but then we remembered he still earned £2 million.

7. The Monuments Men Actors

Monuments Men
image via www.artjuice.net

George Clooney, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and the rest of the big name stars in 2014’s The Monuments Men all took pay cuts to star in the film to reduce its budget to just $70 million.

Geogre Clooney stated: “If you pay everyone a full boatload, it’s a $150 million film. You just can’t do it. Everybody worked for super cheap, like crazy cheap.”

8. Matthew McConaughey

Dallas Buyer's Club
image via www.haaretz.com

Matthew McConaughey turned his career around in 2011 when he starred in the 2011 movie Killer Joe, and has since gone on to star in Academy Award nominated films such as The Wolf of Wall Street.

Once offered a role for $15 million to star in Magnum PI, the southern actor took a massive pay cut to star in The Dallas Buyer’s Club, taking home just $200,000.

While the sum may have hit his bank balance, the role won him a large number of fans, who finally realised what a talented actor McConaughey really is. Now you can’t put a price on that level of respect!

9. Adam Levine

Adam Levine
image via www.huffingtonpost.com

Adam Levine, the frontman for Maroon 5, will be the first to tell you that he is an inexperienced actor – and despite his million dollar bank balance, the singer chose to star in Begin Again for no money whatsoever.

He simply wanted to learn the craft and to take little or no money for work he enjoys.

10. Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling
image via veblenesquegorge.tumblr.com

After starring in the hit 2004 film The Notebook, Ryan Gosling had his pick of roles that would bring a flurry of girls into the cinema. Instead, he opted to take on material he felt passionate about, and so was paid just $1,000 a week to star in the indie movie Half Nelson.

It turns out Gosling isn’t just a pretty face, after all, as the role resulted in his bagging his first Oscar nomination.