Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Oscar hangover

February 25th, 2013 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I stayed up to watch the Oscars last night – the whole thing.  I found it to be long and a little dull – disappointing given the amount of talent in that room.  I spent most of the night thinking about the fact that most of the faces are familiar ones and that awards nights such as that one are predictable in a lot of ways.  It is really a small network of people passing out awards to one another.  I even found myself saying, “well she deserves it because she has been nominated so many times and it must be her turn.”  What does that say about the pool that is acknowledged at these types of events?  Are we really awarding talent or are the Oscars another example of the in-group, out-group phenomenon?  

It is important to note that I am not minimizing the talent the Oscar nominated actors/directors/producers/ and make up artists (etc…) posses.  They are hugely talented people.  But there is a point where talent is no longer what propels a career forward.  Talent will get you so far, persistence  (or a useful family name) will take you the rest of the way … and then, if you are fortunate enough, other factors will keep you at the top.  It is the same thing in the ‘real world’ – right?  You can ‘eat out’ on the success of a solid project for months.  You may create the type of social network that buoys you throughout your career.  Or perhaps you create a niche for yourself that makes you indispensable.  

I am rambling a bit here but there is a point.  Talent alone will only get you so far.  If talent were the most important commodity, we would see new faces at the Oscars every year.  There is a great deal of talent in the movie industry and that talent cannot be adequately represented by the 100 or so people who regularly take the stage at this awards show.  As many insightful people have noted, talent is over rated.  Dan Pink says that persistence will always trump talent.  I agree.  Talent will open a door but it will take other skills to keep you there.  


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