The Biggest Youthquake Since 1977 Hits the Oscars
Critic Carrie Rickey surveys the flood of young blood: Almost half the acting Oscar noms are 40 or under.
Take a look at those numbers, writes Rickey:
Hailee Steinfeld: 14
Jennifer Lawrence: 20
Jesse Eisenberg: 27
Natalie Portman: 29
Anne Hathaway: 28
James Franco: 32
Len Klady tells her it's the biggest youth infusion since 1977. Exclude the Coens (53, 56), says Rickey, and "the average age of this year's director contenders is 40. When the Coens, long the class clowns of the Academy, look like its elder statesmen, something is happening, right?"
But why is it happening? Rickey quotes my theory: Studios try to pack young buns in theater seats by packing movies with young 'uns. And the irony is, this is the year of the grown-up movie.
Rickey doesn't think the youth infusion is comparable to the good old days when punks like Dustin Hoffman made Frank Sinatra flip his antedeluvian wig. But no matter which movie wins best picture -- Tom Hooper's The King's Speech or David Fincher's The Social Network -- the winner will be one of the youngest in history: 38.
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Scott, whose THR coverage appears both in print and online, is one of the film industry's most experienced and trusted awards analysts, and possesses one of the strongest track records at forecasting the Oscars. His best showings came in 2006 (when he called 21 of 24 winners) and 2004 (when he called 20 of 24 winners); he was also the only pundit to project long-shot best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011). An alumnus of Brandeis University, he previously ran "The Feinberg Files" blog for the Los Angeles Times. He is now a voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and is writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 350 high-profile Hollywood figures.
Gregg contributes awards news, features online, and "The Race" column in print.
Tim contributes awards news and features, both in print and online.