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3 Career Lessons From the Academy Awards


If you watched the Academy Awards last night, you probably have several opinions on the proceedings, most related to one or more of the following: the relative merit of the winning actors’, directors’, and film makers’ products, the aesthetic value of the outfits, and the length of the broadcast. But unless you’re in the movie business, it probably hasn’t occurred to you that anything you saw last night could offer insight into your career.


(Photo Credit: ebbandflowphotography/Flickr)

Don’t believe us? Consider the following lessons:

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. No one does anything on his or her own.

The Atlantic has a wonderful explanation of why Lupita Nyong’o’s thank-you speech was so touching, but the short version is this: she was both genuinely grateful and cognizant of her win’s ability to remind people of what is really important.

“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is due to so much pain in someone else’s,” said Nyong’o, referring to her character in 12 Years a Slave. “And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.”

Most winners thank their directors, their agents, and perhaps the inspiration for their characters. If they’re lucky, they might also remember to thank their families. It’s rare to be able to communicate anything important, lasting, and moving in such a short period of time. Nyong’o did the improbable.

2. There is no escaping social media.

You probably realized this the first time you logged on to Facebook or Twitter and saw a request from your mom. But Ellen’s herd-of-famous-people selfie got 1 million retweets in 45 minutes — a world record.

When even Oscar hosts are using social media to polish their personal brand, you know it’s no longer a trend, but a tool, and probably one that will be with us for some time.

3. Quality takes time.

One thing that was missing from last night’s telecast: that obnoxious orchestra music, cutting off the winners as they try to gather their marbles enough to make a speech. Sure, by not enforcing a time limit, the Academy ran the risk of people going on too long. But they also arguably got more genuine moments.

Keep that in mind, the next time you’re wishing for your own personal orchestra to play off a colleague in a meeting.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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