Hugo Award “Finalists” and “Nominees”

We have once again received word of persons who are describing themselves as “Hugo Award nominees.” The term “Hugo Award nominee” does not have any official meaning. The term for a person or work that receives sufficient nominations to appear on the final Hugo Award ballot is “Hugo Award Finalist.”

Historically, the works and people shortlisted for the Hugo Award were once called “nominees,” and you may still find people using the term in that way. However, in 2014, WSFS deprecated the term “nominee” except in the technical sense relating to the counting of ballots as defined in the WSFS Constitution. The only official terms are “finalist” and “winner.”

Any of the thousands of members of the World Science Fiction Convention can nominate up to five works/people per category for the Hugo Award. Hundreds, and sometimes thousands of different works/people are in fact nominated each year. However, only a small number make the shortlist and can legitimately claim the name of “Hugo Award Finalist.”

Past Hugo Award Finalists are listed in each year’s Hugo Award History. Only those works/people listed there are Hugo Award Finalists.

6 thoughts on “Hugo Award “Finalists” and “Nominees”

  1. Not unlike the continuing amusement I have for those who describe themselves as “Nobel Peace Prize Nominees”…

    Keep up the good fight, sir.

  2. If you want to avoid the use of the term “Nominee” perhaps a good start would be to stop using it in your website. On following the above link to Hugo Award History there is a further link to past nominees and winners!

    1. Because when the site was built, the official term was “nominee,” it is challenging to retroactively change all references. However, when we notice them, we try and correct them.

      When you see references to the older terminology, please let us know. Thanks for pointing out that the landing page for Hugo Award History still had the older term in place. We have since corrected it.

  3. This makes more sense than the reverse practice, which (correct me if I’m wrong) I understood was the rule before (i.e. if you made it in the top 15 but not on the ballot, you were a “finalist” and if you made it on the ballot, you were a “nominee.”)

    There should be a term for a person/entity that gets a lot of nominations, even if that person/entity doesn’t make the top 5. “Recommendee?”

    1. There has never been (nor is there currently) an official term for those people/works that are on the “top 15” list. There are many recommendation lists, so that doesn’t seem like a good term either, for the same reason that we have deprecated “nominee.”

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