Oscar History

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47 days til Oscar nominations and I'm feeling a bit morbid...

by Nathaniel R

Edith Piaf and Judy GarlandPerhaps it was those uninspired Critics Choice nominations? Perhaps it's no critical year-end love for La Pfeiffer in her comeback year? Perhaps it was my anti-depressant prescription running out with no health insurance to renew it with? Or, probably, it's the generally miserable state of the world in which things are so dire that we're watching a kleptocracy filled with proud sexual predators, treasonous pathological liars, greedy overlord billionaires, fact-averse idiots, and blatantly sociopathic racists amass power at a record pace, dooming future generations to have it much much worse than we even do now? Meanwhile the good people of the world stare in disbelief whilst fighting amongst themselves for any number of reasons but the largest, we suspect, is a feeling of impotence against the actual enemies.

But since I was feeling terrible all day whilst trying to come up with our habitual trivia fun with numbers as we countdown, I kept remembering that Judy Garland died when she was just 47. (I'm working my way to a non-morbid point after the hand-wringing...)

People like to make a big deal about it being gay man who always obsess over Judy but I maintain that it has nothing to do with my sexuality just my impeccable taste 😉  because she earned that World's Greatest Entertainer title. And so many people like me, who arrived when she was already an iconic ghost, have still received tremendous joy and catharsis from her work. Curiously her contemporary French counterpart Edith Piaf also died at 47 years of age. Both tragic singers continue to haunt culture and inspire it; Judy Davis famously won both a Globe and an Emmy for playing Judy Garland in a TV miniseries and Marion Cotillard won the Oscar portraying Edith Piaf on the big screen.

47 is way too young to die. It's really so young if you think about it.

Artists can have entire second or third acts to their career after 47. I mean, hell, Katharine Hepburn still only had one Best Actress Oscar statue at 47 (with three more still a long ways off). Consider these amazing talents that turned 47 this year and how much great stuff they'll probably still deliver before they retire hopefully many many many many years from now: Uma Thurman, Taraji P Henson, P.T. Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Octavia Spencer, Matt Damon, Sarah Silverman, Rachel Weisz, Ethan Hawke, Raúl Esparza, Melissa McCarthy, Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Mike White and Martha Plimpton.

Consider Meryl Streep. She was, I'd argue, at the nadir of her altogether amazing career at the age of 47. Around that time she was making movies people didn't care all that much about (at least comparatively to the rest of her career) - things like Before and After, First Do No Harm, Dancing at Lughnasa. Her record-breaking reclaiming of America's Favorite Actress Throne was still a handful of years away; she began to find legions of new and younger fans once Angels in America, The Hours, Adaptation, and Prada all hit it big in her fiftysomething years. Julianne Moore was in a similarly weak frame of her career at 47 until the Oscar FINALLY came in her fifties. Annette Bening had just lost her SECOND Oscar to Hillary Swank around that age and her two (arguably) greatest performances (The Kids Are All Right and 20th Century Women) were several years away still! Sandra Bullock turned 47 on the set of Gravity which became one of her most respected films.

The working-through-the-pain inspirational point is this: Stay alive. Perservere through tough times. Great things may still be around the corner.

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Reader Comments (11)

I too am depressed at the state of affairs in this country. Movies seem to help get me out of that funk, think about something else.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Don't despair. You do such a great job celebrating movies and have become necessary. Focus on ways you can help those around you. It will make you feel better.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

Please sign up for Obamacare. Having been diagnosed with a lot of unexpected and expensive health issues, I speak from experience.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I feel you. Film awards season has never been a more welcome distraction. Look on the bright side: this too shall pass, and will be one hell of a film someday. I can't honestly say the even the prospect of Eva Green winning Best Supporting Actress fifteen years from now as Melania will make up for the horrors of today, but at least it's something.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJosh R

Take care of yourself...your website is a staple in my everyday life and that means a lot to me, more than you can imagine.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJans

I have been visiting your site for 13 years now (since I was 13 years old) and it's still the very best of its kind! Keep up the good work.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBillyBob

Is it weird that Uma feels like a too-often-forgotten "used to be big" actress in need of a boost, yet Taraji feels like an up-and-comer on her way to megastardom (just like she did in Baby Boy in 2001!?)

Nymphomaniac felt like a gem of a performance plucked from obscurity
Hidden Figures felt like another small step up the ladder to Hollywood dominance

Age ain't nothing but a number.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

Thank you for this. I needed to hear this, even if only a tiny shred of me believes it.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Hi Nat,

I don't know if you realise some of us with various issues find a camardarie here especially me,I used to think b4 I found your blog I was the only geek who obsessed over actresses and awards shows.

Please know that you have a friend with similar issues and just keep going on,let the negative balloon fly by and don't grab onto it.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Garland's death at such an early age was a tragedy.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Thank you from me too. The Film Experience is one of my favourite places, online or otherwise.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

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