The Oscars: How to Win Even When You Lose


Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix and Denzel Washington.

What do these distinguished actors have in common?

On Sunday night at The Oscars in Los Angeles, they all lost for Best Actor.

The four men could only watch as Daniel Day-Lewis captured his record third Oscar for Best Actor.

Four brilliant performances, and they were all for nothing. Right?


No one likes to lose. It hurts (a lot) and makes us feel like we’re falling short of our goals. There are two ways to view a loss: a perfect reason to quit or a blueprint for what it takes to claim the top prize.

Here are three reasons why even the losers at The Oscars walked away winners.


The Oscars: How to Win Even When You Lose


1. A loss exposes weaknesses

Let’s say you had your eye on a promotion at work, but your boss chose someone else. Total bummer, no doubt. Again, nobody said losing is fun.

Rather than stew over the setback, think about it this way:

- why did I get passed over?

- what are my perceived weaknesses?

- what do I need to do differently?

If you’re being honest, you can likely identify where you need to improve. You could also ask someone you trust for feedback and critiques. A loss is a perfect opportunity to make the necessary tweaks and prove to the higher-ups that you’re ready for more responsibility.

how to win
Bradley Cooper nearly won Best Actor for his role in ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ What does he do now? Push himself that much harder in the next film, fine-tune his acting and compete again next year at The Oscars.

2. Don’t get even, get angry

So you applied for an award through your job and fell short. No fun at all. Again, you could pack it in and give up the dream or you could treat the loss as fuel for the fire. On Sunday night, Academy Award-nominated actors and actresses were this close to tasting victory. Why stop there?

Losing should make you focused, inspired and yea…maybe a little angry. Harness the energy, pore it back into your work and next time around show everyone what they got wrong.

Also see: The Professional Quality That Led Seth MacFarlane to Host the Oscars


3. Losing: A true test of character

If you want to witness grace and humility in action…watch Ben Affleck’s acceptance speech after his film ‘Argo’ won Best Picture.

In a word: class.

The biggest story coming into The Oscars was the Ben Affleck ‘snub’ for Best Director (‘Argo’). Now, Hollywood chooses his film as the best of the year? Huh?

Affleck could have ripped the judges for overlooking his directorial performance. Instead, he stayed above the fray.

‘You can’t hold grudges,’ he said. ‘It’s hard, but you can’t hold grudges.’

Bingo. If you don’t win an award — or aren’t even nominated — the best course of action? NBD

If Affleck had lashed out at the crowd, people would have said ‘Well, serves him right for not being chosen. He’s a poor sport.’


‘This is the first Academy Award and second nomination for…’

Throughout the night, it was obvious that many people had been nominated — and lost — at past awards shows. Yet during the 2013 Oscars, they held their trophies high, thanked everyone they could before the music cut in and walked off the stage as champs.

For these people, the path to victory began after a crushing defeat.

What will you do when life hands you a loss?


Did you think ‘Argo’ deserved Best Picture? Which film did you want to win?

Share below!


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© 2013, Danny Rubin


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