• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

The Biggest Youthquake Since 1977 Hits the Oscars

Jennifer Lawrence
Charlie Gray

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.

Follow THR's The Race Awards blog @timappelo.
Feedback, brickbats, shameless lobbying to: Tim.Appelo@thr.com.