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A Senior Sweep at Oscars?

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This year’s Academy Awards once more highlights a platform where age only serves to enhance talent, celebrating Hollywood’s most masterful elders. Seniors are represented in the Best Actor/Actress,  Best Supporting Actor/Actress, and Best Picture categories….and one nominee for Best Original Score earned the nod at the ripe old age of 90.

And the Senior Oscar Nominees are…

In the Supporting Role categories, seniors scored especially well – Angela Bassett, 64 (pictured at top), and Jamie Lee Curtis, 64, both nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscars while Judd Hirsch, 87, and Brendan Gleeson, 67, each earned Best Supporting Actor nods.

In the Lead Actor category, Michelle Yeoh, 60, is a keen favorite for Best Actress for her performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once with Bill Nighy, 73, competing for Best Actor for his role in Living.

Beloved for his often funny bittersweet performances, British Nighy has always been nonchalant of success, recently telling The Envelope, “I’ve never felt any pressure to leave a legacy of any kind . . . When you’re my age, you buy a pair of shoes and you think, ‘Wow. How many more pairs of shoes am I going to buy?’ It’s not a morbid thing.”

After so many career highs including Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Crazy Rich Asians and Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar nod was not a matter of if but when. “I am overwhelmed and overjoyed with happiness,” she says. “Playing Evelyn Wang has been one of the great privileges of my 40 year career.”

Here’s a peek at the trailer for Everything Everywhere, All at Once:

Some historic Oscar Firsts

With Angela Bassett’s second Oscar nod (following a nomination for her iconic portrayal of Tina Turner in 1994’s What’s Love Got to Do With It), the actress makes Marvel history as the first actor to be recognized by the Academy for a Marvel movie.

Talking about her regal performance as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, she says, “It was an offer that couldn’t be refused. It was an opportunity to see women who look like me in their resplendent glory. And those opportunities were few and far in between. I’ve come to just love and admire and revere the character.”

Jamie Lee Curtis couldn’t help but think of her Oscar-nominated actor parents – Tony Curtis (1958’s The Defiant Ones) and Janet Leigh (1960’s Psycho) – when she got up at 5.15am for the annual Oscar nomination announcement.

And, despite her pedigree, she says her own Oscar nod for Everything Everywhere All at Once came as a complete surprise, telling Vanity Fair, “I am giddy with excitement about it. The smile has not left my face. I’m kinda curmudgeonly. I’m very careful because I’ve been an actress since I was 19; I’m 64 and I’ve tried not to get my heart broken by the industry.”

Nominated for his performance in Banshees of Inisherin where he portrays a man who suddenly stops speaking to his best friend, ironically Brendan Gleeson hopes this dark comedy can spread a message about friendship, “This is a fascinating subject for me, because I do believe people should be nice to each other,” he says.

For Judd Hirsch, his span between nominations – 42 years since 1980’s Ordinary People – is the longest of any acting contender in history, stealing the show with his eight-minute performance as Uncle Boris in The Fabelmans.

…And Four Best Picture Oscar Nominations 

Baz Luhrmann, 60, Steven Spielberg, 76, and James Cameron, 68, all received Best Picture Oscar nods for their films Elvis, The Fabelmans and Avatar: The Way of Water respectively.

And, although passed over for a personal Oscar, Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick received a Best Picture nod.  (The evergreen 60-year-old was nominated for Best Actor by the Critics Choice Association.)

Meanwhile Lesley Manville, 66, received a nod from AARP Movies for Grownups Awards for her performance in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris while Jean Smart, 71, Emma Thompson, 63, ran lively campaigns for their performances in Babylon and Good Luck to You, Leo Grande respectively.

“This year’s nominees serve as a reminder that storytelling is truly an ageless art form.”

-Janet Yang, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

…And the Oscar Nomination Champion is…

Proving age is no barrier to success, composer John Williams scored his 53rd Oscar nod this year – for The Fabelmans – at the grand age of 90. In the process, he bested himself as the living person with the most Oscar nominations.

If actors once complained that Hollywood was ageist, but today’s older actors are revered.  Studios appreciate that veteran actors are still a box office draw.  Actors like Jane Fonda, Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Sly Stallone, Kevin Costner and Meryl Streep are all still at the top of their game.

Janet Yang, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, agrees, “This year’s nominees serve as a reminder that storytelling is truly an ageless art form.  The film artists the Academy has recognized created inspiring and entertaining stories that will have a lasting impact on audiences worldwide and across generations,” she says.

Let Us Hear From You!

Who do you think will win at the Academy Awards? Let us know in the comments!

Photo (Top): Getty Images

Gill Pringle began her career as a rock columnist for popular British newspapers, traveling the world with Madonna, U2 and Michael Jackson. Moving to Los Angeles 27 years ago, she interviews film and TV personalities for prestigious UK outlets, The Independent, The i-paper and The Sunday Times – and, of course, Senior Planet. A member of Critics Choice Association, BAFTA and AWFJ, she wrote the screenplay for 2016 Netflix family film, The 3 Tails Movie: A Mermaid Adventure. An award-winning writer, in 2021 she was honored by the Los Angeles Press Club with 1st prize at the NAEJ Awards.

Photo credit: Brandon Kamin.

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