Vol. 1 No. 4 (2020)
Research Articles

Do Family Members of Oscar Winners Win Too? A Status-Shift Spillover Effect Analysis

Yasaman Gorji
Concordia University

Published 01-12-2020


  • Reputation Spillover,
  • Career outcome,
  • Family Support,
  • Mathew Effect,
  • Oscar Award

How to Cite

Gorji, Y. (2020). Do Family Members of Oscar Winners Win Too? A Status-Shift Spillover Effect Analysis. Nordic Journal of Media Management, 1(4), 481–493. https://doi.org/10.5278/njmm.2597-0445.6360


Purpose: Theory on the social and psychological impact of significant status shifts demonstrates that award winners attract a disproportionate share of notoriety and resources at the expense of equally deserving near winners. Due to this achievement audience may have biases to evaluate winners’ performance more favorably than their peers of comparable achievement or equal standing. On the other hand, positive status shift has been shown to lead to negative spillover effects which appeared to divert attention away from works and actors in the vicinity of the prize winners’ professional neighborhood. The current study aims to address the question of whether status shifts generate positive or negative spillover effect on the career of their family members in the same field; in terms of access to higher status roles, more professional visibility, or more favourable evaluations leading to better positions within the industry?

Methodology:  To test the contradicting theories, we used a quantitative method and analyzed a longitudinal data of 50 years Academy Awards. We collected winners and nominees of the Oscar in main categories. Multiple platforms such as IMDB and IMDBPRO were used to identify close relatives of winners and nominees who are also active in the movie industry. We performed ANCOVA analysis on the performance of 330 Oscar winners, nominees, and their active family members before and after the award.

Findings: Our study shows that, for career outcomes, the effect is mixed for family members of Oscar nominees’ post-event, they tend to appear in fewer but slightly better-quality movies.