To rephrase a popular proverb, ‘Movies maketh the man.’ Cinema does indeed have the power to drive, inspire, and influence its audience to a great degree.
The characters become one with the audience and the plot, a parallel journey depicting their lives through a screen. While it is true that certain kinds of cinema are directed at entertainment, entertainment, and more entertainment, the ones that end up making a difference are those that carry strong and relevant messages.
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While the rising interest in startups and entrepreneurship is being portrayed through various mediums today, its roots go all the way back to the 1940s, when Citizen Kane was nominated for the Best Picture in the 1941 Academy Awards.
With the recent gaffe at the 2017 Academy Awards, when La La Land was announced as the Best Picture winner instead of Moonlight, the Oscars were all anyone could talk about for weeks last month. While the error was eventually corrected and the surprised cast of Moonlight walked away with the golden statue, all contenders to the title agreed on one thing – that even by being considered an Oscar nominee, a movie has automatically assumed importance in the world of global cinema.
Here’s a list of Oscar-nominated movies centred around the theme of entrepreneurship, which all entrepreneurs must watch or re-watch for a strong dose of inspiration.
Citizen Kane (1941)
“We never lost as much as we made.”
Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane radically altered cinema back in the 1940s, with its sharp-dialogue, layered messages, and mystifyingly-powerful narrative. Nominated for the Academy Awards in nine different categories, the film examines the legacy of a leading news tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, who following a swift rise to money and fame, died mysteriously after uttering the word ‘rosebud’. On the surface, the plot revolves around examining this case and discovering the meaning of the word, but the real message lay in the story’s flashbacks. These artistically depicted how Kane’s idealistic desire to change the world through journalism was slowly tinted by ruthless greed and an incorrigible pursuit of more power. It traces his transformation from being a ‘citizen of the people’ to an almost autocratic personality, hungered and obsessed by the need to make more money and enhance his status. The story is an eye-opener to the risks that entrepreneurs looking to make it big in the world face when actually granted the golden platter.
“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
This iconic one-liner by Marlon Brando’s character, Don Vito Corleone, has been imitated by the greatest scholars, playwrights, and actors alike, because it never gets old. While Don Corleone did operate outside the confines of legality, he still managed to create an empire from scratch. Being an Italian immigrant in the United States, he managed to become of the most popular (anti) heroes of the underworld and passed on a self-built business to his son, Michael Corleone. Directed by the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, the film was awarded a series of Oscar nominations, even winning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
“First class, that's what's wrong. It used to be a better meal, now it's a better life.”
Inspired by the story of Leigh Steinberg, a famous sports agent with an inspiring story, Jerry Maguire is a story of a man who turned entrepreneur by a complete twist of fate. Chronicling the roller-coaster journey of any amateur entrepreneur, from building up a client-base to forming an independent brand value which will speak out to the people, Jerry Maguire’s story teaches us a valuable lesson in entrepreneurship, that where there is passion and dedication to carry out that passion, dreams have the opportunity to be turned into distinct realities. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards and became a symbol of hope for entrepreneurs everywhere.
The Social Network (2010)
“You know, you really don't need a forensics team to get to the bottom of this. If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook.”
The iconic story of Mark Zuckerberg and how he built Facebook out of a dorm is one that has inspired many entrepreneurs of today. From expanding a networking site initially built for intra-campus communication to being double-crossed by investors, facing legal challenges of copyright issues, and outlasting team-fallouts, all of Zuckerberg’s challenges were effectively portrayed by David Fincher’s The Social Network, which rightly received eight nominations at the Academy Awards, winning for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
“Let me tell you something. There's no nobility in poverty. I've been a poor man, and I've been a rich man. And I choose rich every ******* time.”
The story of a man who kick-started a business from the bottom, only to become one of the richest and most sought-after stockbrokers on Wall Street, Jordan Belfort’s road to fame was fraught with pitfalls, and his monumental decisions won the company its numbers while sending it headlong into the dark side to entrepreneurship. Belfort created a brand value on his own person and used it to win over all the right people to invest in all the right deals to secure the future of his company. Martin Scorsese’s astoundingly realistic portrayal of this journey on The Wolf of Wall Street received a series of Academy Award nominations, including that of Best Picture, and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio.
“I want you to remember something cause a lot of times people get nice things and they start to think differently. We got here from hard work, patience, and humility. So I want to tell you, don't ever think the world owes you anything because it doesn't. The world doesn't owe you a thing.”
This Jennifer Lawrence starrer tells the story of a young woman who, against all odds and beating all barriers, shattered the glass ceiling by creating a million-dollar empire from ground-up. The story of a powerful female entrepreneur who chanced upon a make-or-break idea that changed her life, Joy carries a powerful message for women across the world looking to win in the world of business and form long-lasting legacies. The movie was awarded two nominations for the Academy Awards and received much critical acclaim from some of the greatest business tycoons.
Being an entrepreneur is not easy and the road to creating the next billion-dollar company is even harder. But if anything, these movies prove that with a spoon-fool of creativity, a pinch of dedication, and a basin overflowing with passion, there isn’t really anything too ‘fictional’ about the fact that victory can be yours – if you just reach for it.