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 Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, is one of the entertainment industry's most experienced and trusted experts about the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys. He started on the awards beat in 2001, writing for independent websites including his own ScottFeinberg.com before joining the Los Angeles Times and then THR, for which he writes “The Race” blog, which won the LA Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Award for best entertainment blog of 2012-2013. A voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics' Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association, he is also writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 500 high-profile Hollywood figures whose careers span the silent era through the present.
Follow Scott on Twitter at twitter.com/scottfeinberg.