Every year, we at WhoRepresents?com compile a list of the actors, writers and directors nominated across all the key Hollywood awards. We organize it by talent, and then list all the awards and categories in which a person has been nominated. As the list underneath a given name grows, so does the likelihood that we'll be adding an Oscar nomination to the roster, which remains the ultimate goal. Once the Oscars are handed out, however, what happens to the person who was nominated for everything from a Broadcast Film Critics Award to a Golden Globe and came up empty-handed?
Conventional wisdom says that no one remembers who lost, but the representatives for these nominated artists know better than to take the long view on nominations. Think of it this way: the entertainment industry has Predator-style heat-sensing vision, and the warm red glow from a nomination must be seized upon. Actors, writers and directors are constantly placed on lists for jobs—ranked by accomplishments, sure, but also by heat—and a nomination is sure to move an artist up a list with a bullet.
Of course, there are artists, particularly actors, whose entire careers are built on prestige and awards, and may simply not take a job if it doesn't fit the mold (Daniel Day-Lewis, for example). But there is an interesting development of late with actors, which has the heat of a nomination translating into tentpole appeal. Look at our "action heroes" today. They look like the chess club compared to Sly and Arnie and Bruce (who are savvily cashing in on this very fact with the Expendables franchise). While the best actor in an action movie twenty years ago was almost certainly playing the villain, the guy with the chops is now wearing the white hat. Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Depp, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Christian Bale (ok, I think I just stumbled onto a new action franchise called "The Chess Club") are all Oscar nominees (and in Bale's case, a winner), and represent the faces of some of the most lucrative franchises in Hollywood. And it is not the case that these were action stars who took on some indie in order to gain cred—just the opposite, in fact. It was their awards cred that catapulted them into the public eye, and the public has now embraced them as silver screen heroes of one variety or another.
Daniel Craig and Andrew Garfield, who boast BAFTA and Golden Globe noms, respectively, have both chops and a tentpole to call their own. Michael Fassbender is attached to Assassin's Creed for crying out loud. This phenomenon has affected at least one actress' career as well: Jennifer Lawrence went from an Oscar nomination in a low-budget independent drama to starring in The Hunger Games.
This awards season, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for the person whose string of nominations will lead to their landing a life-changing franchise role. It's too bad that Bradley Cooperjust isn't quite right for Wonder Woman.