Is Creativity Really Quantifiable?

By Natasha Sabour, Jr. Copywriter

January is a special time of the year, not simply because everyone is still doe-eyed and awash with the determination that this will be the year they stick to their New Year’s resolutions, but also because it’s awards season, y’all.

This is the month where we are bombarded with not just one but three live telecasts of film and television award shows. The season kicks off with perhaps one of the most famous award shows (behind the Oscars) and everyone tuned in this year to watch the historic 75th Golden Globe Awards. A proud moment for gender equality awareness, this year’s show was packed with a lot of great moments. One of my favorites being when the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won Best Picture in the drama category. Oprah’s speech was monumental and could not have been followed by anyone other than Natalie Portman, but the spirit of awards and recognition were in full display when Martin McDonagh’s film secured the Best Picture win.

A week after the telecast, I went to see Three Billboards at my local cinema and was amazed to see the theater at full capacity. This movie isn’t a Marvel-tent pole-blockbuster starring two out of three Hemsworth brothers. It’s an independent film that tells a story about pressing societal issues and the grittier sides of life. And there were lots of people there to see it. It was barely on anyone’s radar up until it won the Golden Globe, and because of the HFPA’s recognition, this well-deserved film had people going in droves to see it.1 The creators of this film who worked tirelessly on a piece of art they believed in were then recognized by a panel of experts in their field for making exemplary work. This recognition, in turn, influenced the masses into also recognizing the film as worth watching. In the end, it was a win-win situation. Three Billboards won the award and audiences got to watch an amazing work they likely would never have gone to see. This is the “awards system” operating at its finest.

But the nature of awards in the world of art is a finicky one. Advertising is a creative calling and there are armies of artists and creators behind the works we see on some of the most visually arresting and thought-provoking campaigns. Art, however, has always been and will always be subjective, which has made me question the nature of accolades. There are design parameters and aesthetics that govern the way artists work, which makes it very clear how those components can be judged or measured. But if the driving force that turns ‘really good art’ into ‘great art’ is its creativity, how can that be judged? Is creativity even quantifiable?

Then there’s the flip side to this coin, which regards art that does not rack up awards but is just as immeasurable in its cultural valence as its award-winning counterparts. Star Wars: A New Hope was nominated for best picture at the 50th Academy Awards but lost to Annie Hall. Lacking an Oscar has done nothing to hamper the legacy of the legendary, intergalactic saga. There are compelling and beautiful campaigns out there that convey the right message but may never go on to win the Grand Prix at Cannes. And that’s okay because it should always boil down to the work. Why are we doing the work? Because we believe in it and because we are trying to tell a story with it that will make people take a second to think. If we are successful in achieving that, then we have already won.


Natasha lives off of good movies, Shakespeare, and her Spotify premium account. She is an ardent believer that ‘the world is but one country and mankind its citizens’. It takes her 2-3 business days to respond to text messages and she’s not sorry about it.

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