Turns out 2019 was a good year at the movies for baby boomers. In fact, half of the actors receiving Oscar nominations in 2020, which was announced last week, are over the age 50.
Baby boomer nominees include, my favorite, Tom Hanks, 63, in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, as well as Joe Pesci, 76, in The Irishman, Brad Pitt, 56, in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Jonathan Pryce, 72, in The Two Popes, Antonio Banderas, 59 in Pain and Glory, and Kathy Bates, 71, in Richard Jewell.
Add to those oldsters like Oscar nominated Anthony Hopkins, 82, in The Two Popes and Al Pacino, 79, in The Irishman as well as 50-plus actresses Renée Zellweger, 50, in Judy and Laura Dern, 52, in Marriage Story.
All of the nominated directors are also over the age of 50, with the exception of Todd Phillips, 49, director of Joker. The nominees include Martin Scorsese, 77, for The Irishman, Bong Joon Ho, 50, for Parasite, Sam Mendes, 54, for 1917, and Quentin Tarantino, 56, for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.
The movie Knives Out was nominated for best original screenplay and featured an older cast that included Jame Lee Curtis, 61, Don Johnson, 70, Daniel Craig, 51, and Christopher Plummer, 90.
Cinema has often reflected society’s attitudes toward the 50-plus crowd who in real life are often made fun of or ignored. If Hollywood ridiculed an ethnic group or the disabled in movies, people would be in an uproar. So why do people quietly tolerate the way movies make fun of older people? I keep hoping that Hollywood, and society at large, hasn’t completely forgotten the value of the older crowd with their knowledge, life experience, and insight. Maybe this is a step in the right direction.
Of course, there is controversy that none of the directors were women this year and there are far more older men nominated in the acting categories than older women. While the median age of men nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor is 61.3, the median age of the women nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress is 39.8. Older women in Hollywood have always been judged more harshly than older men. Apparently, there is more progress to made in that regard.