Zoomer Oscar Nominees
Of the twenty stars nominated in the acting categories at this year’s Academy Awards many are seasoned Oscar goers, but one surprising nominee will be making their first trip to the fabled Kodak Theatre. Morgan Freeman, (who, when asked if there is a movie he should have won an Oscar for, replied, “All of them!”), Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and Jeff Bridges have been down this road before, but for Canadian born acting legend Christopher Plummer, it is, unbelievably, his first invite to the ceremony.
At age 38 Meryl Streep thought her career was dead. She assumed the juicy parts she had played in movies like Sophie’s Choice would dry up and go to younger actresses. That was 22 years and 10 Oscar nominations ago, including her Best Actress nod this year for her portrayal of Julia Child in Julie and Julia. “She broke the glass ceiling of an older woman being a big star,” said Mike Nicols, “it has never, never happened before.” She’s just as surprised as anyone at her late career success. “It’s incredible,” she says. “I’m 60, and I’m playing the romantic lead in romantic comedies!”
Jeff Bridges earned his first Oscar nod in 1972 when he was just 23 years old. He didn’t win then, or in 1975 or 1985 or 2001 but his Best Actor nomination this year for Crazy Heart looks to be the charm. If he wins (and he is the odds on favorite) he’ll be in good company. Only three other actors have waited longer between their first nomination and win-Henry Fonda (41 years), Alan Arkin (40 years) and Jack Palance (39 years).
Dame Helen Mirren is no stranger to the Oscars but her Best Actress nomination for playing Leo Tolstoy’s wife in The Last Station, coming just four years after her win for The Queen, was exciting. “I think Tolstoy himself would have been perplexed by all this,” she said, “but Sofya, his wife, would have been over the moon. So, in that spirit, I am too.” The granddaughter of a Tsarist aristocrat, however, isn’t letting the honor go to her head. The Academy Awards, she says are “the creme-de-la-creme of bulls**t.” She does, nevertheless, admit to getting emotional after her first win. “I cried [when baggage handlers at Heathrow airport applauded her]. I had my Oscar in my bag, so I got it out. I was shameless, but they loved it.”
Mirren’s The Last Station co-star Christopher Plummer is someone you would assume has an Oscar, but look it up; not only is his house an Oscar free zone, but, until this year, he’s never even been nominated! Not that he has any hard feelings about the delayed Academy acknowledgement. “Charlie Chaplin had to wait until he was in his 80s to get it,” he says. “Can you believe that? I’m in good company.” Not that he thinks he’ll win Best Supporting Actor. His money is on Inglourious Basterds star Christoph Waltz. “He’ll get it,” says the actor who turned 80 last year.
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