Sometimes It’s Better Not To Be Nominated

The latest development in this year’s awards season has just occurred with the announcement of the 2014 Academy Awards nominees. And while every actor, director, costume designer and song writer would like to be on that list, could it actually be more beneficial to miss out?


At some point in our childhood, usually when we are competing in an activity that doesn’t play to our strengths, we are all told that ‘Winning isn’t Everything’. Such a funny phrase because if winning isn’t everything, why does anyone bother to keep score?

Well, the 2014 Academy Awards nominations may be able to shed some light on this paradox.

While awards are definitely worthwhile, they are not the only goal for movie production companies. In fact, they are probably not even within the main focus! The main focus for these movie production companies is to get people into the cinemas to see the film. By getting people through the cinema doors they are able to recoup their investment (and make a ton of extra money in most cases).

Any extra awards are just a bit of icing on the already profitable cake.

The same rings true for the actors, directors, costume designers and song writers. The more people who fall in love with their work and vocalise how much they enjoyed it – the more popular they become. But that requires lots of people to go through the cinema door.

So what does this have to do with the Academy Awards?

Broadway shows love to get awards because they generally experience a large surge in ticket sales following the presentation and they can plaster their banners, marquees and social media pages with big pictures of a Tony Award. But the same doesn’t necessarily ring true for movies.

Movies have a rather short shelf life staying in cinemas for a couple of weeks. And the opening weekend is where they see the biggest return on investment. If voting closes in early January and the awards ceremony isn’t until March, chances are winning the award isn’t going to massively increase the number of people who watch the film because there are a dramatically reduced number of consumption opportunities.

They can go out and purchase the DVD (if it has been released yet). They can download the film from iTunes. Or they can rent it from the few remaining rental agencies. So winning or getting a nomination for this awards ceremony is great – but that isn’t necessarily the best position to be in.

If you type ‘Academy Awards’ into Google News a whole stack of articles come up about the nominations. Actually that is incorrect. A whole stack of articles come up about who was snubbed at the nominations.

As a result, there is a whole media frenzy promoting great performances and great films that missed out on a nomination today. And a lot of these films are still running in cinemas albeit less frequently as they come to the end of their run. With all this extra promotion focussing on why these actors, directors, costume designers and song writers are award-worthy, the movies that missed out – like Saving Mr. Banks are suddenly at the top of consumers’ minds as they look for some weekend entertainment.

And with the glowing reviews that emphasise why they were snubbed spurring journalists to churn out more articles, consumers are being exposed to glowing reviews of films that missed out!

So I guess it proves that winning isn’t everything . . .