I'm sure you've seen the melancholy yet uplifting new spot for Nebraska that points out the ages of its principal cast and how long they've been acting. It's inspiring, for sure, as longevity often is. Hollywood and the Oscars often favor the sprinters (note all the stars, particularly actresses, who won too soon and all the films that opened in the rush of awards season that were only hot for two months) but life is a marathon.
Assuming Bruce Dern and June Squibb are both nominated on January 16th (and smart money says they will be) they'll both be among the top three oldest performers ever nominated in their categories. It will break down like so...
OLDEST BEST ACTOR NOMINEES
01 Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story (1999) who was 79
02 Bruce Dern, Nebraska (20) who is 77*
03 Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond (1981) who was 76
04 Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (2004) who was 74
05 Peter O'Toole, Venus (2006) who was also 74
06 Morgan Freeman, Invictus (2008) who was 72
07 Sir Laurence Olivier, The Boys From Brazil (1978) who was 71
08 Frank Langella, Nixon (2008) who was also 71
09 Paul Newman, Nobody's Fool (1994) who had just turned 70
Those are the only 70somethings ever nominated for Best Actor... if Robert Redford and Bruce Dern are both nominated we'll have a perfect full top ten of 70something Best Actor candidates; they're only two months apart in age (with Dern born first). Among these senior men Henry Fonda was the only winner. If Dern wins -- and I've long thought he might with that magic combo of a likely Best Picture nominee, a moving performance, and a stellar campaign -- he'll become the oldest winner ever in the Best Actor category.
OLDEST BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEES
01. Gloria Stuart, Titanic (1997) who was 87... and the oldest in *any* category actually
02. Ruby Dee, American Gangster (2007) who was 85 *but there are conflicting reports on her age*
03. June Squibb, Nebraska (2013) who is 84
03. Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) who was 82
05. Eva Le Gallienne, Resurrection (1980 - recently discussed) who had just turned 82
Those are the only 80somethings ever nominated in Supporting Actress and none of them won. Can June Squibb break the pattern this year? (The current oldest winner ever in this category is Dame Peggy Ashcroft for A Passage to India (1984) who was 77). Speaking of Squibb, have you been watching the American remake of the British nursing comedy series Getting On? Squibb guest stars in one episode as a foul-mouthed cigarette-smoking patient. She and Niecy Nash are pretty great together.
What do you make of Dern & Squibb's Oscar chances?