Penn Study Finds Social Ties Influence Awards Given by Peers, Not Critics

March 13, 2014

When it comes to winning Oscars and other awards to gain recognition and success in Hollywood, whom you know matters just as much as who is judging, according to a new University of Pennsylvania collaborative study lead by Professor of Sociology Paul D. Allison.

Film awards generally fall into two categories: those given by peers actively engaged in making movies and those given by critics who review movies for newspapers, magazines, or other media outlets.

The research showed that awards given by peers more often go to people who are heavily embedded in the “core” of the social network. These core members have many social ties to other filmmakers. Critics, on the other hand, show no favoritism toward core members and may even prefer those on the periphery of the industry.

Titled, “Insiders, Outsiders, and the Struggle for Consecration in Cultural Fields: A Core-Periphery Perspective,” the study by Allison and his co-researchers Gino Cattani of New York University and Simone Ferriani of the University of Bologna is scheduled to appear in the April issue of the American Sociological Review

The researchers used data from the Internet Movie Database and Alan Goble Film Index covering many different awards and nominations given to actors, directors, screenwriters and others between 1992 and 2004. While the study focused on the film industry, the researchers believe their findings may be useful outside of Hollywood.

Read the full story here.