And the nominees for Most Ageist Jokes by presenters at last night’s Oscars are…
Jimmy Kimmel’s repeated digs at Best Supporting Actor Nominee Christopher Plummer (age 89): Kimmel’s opening monologue included this gem — “How does Lin Manuel-Miranda compare to the real Alexander Hamilton?” (Some people didn’t get this joke. Kimmel was implying that Plummer was alive when Hamilton was.) And Kimmel made fun of Plummer’s age again later in the show.
Sandra Bullock, 53, introducing the Best Cinematography nominees, by asking the Oscars producers to turn the lights down due to her age: “Wow, it’s bright. It’s really bright. Guys, the set looks amazing, everything looks really great. The lighting is really well lit, but can we just dim it just a little bit so I can go back to my 40s?” (The winner for Best Cinematography: legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, 68, for Blade Runner 2049. It was his 14th nomination.)
Jane Fonda, 80, presenting the Best Actor category with Helen Mirren, 72, and comparing their ages to “Oscar:” After Mirren said “Jane and I are very, very honored to have been asked to present together on Oscar’s 90th birthday,” Fonda said: “Yeah, especially when we found out he’s older than we are. Right?” (The Best Actor award went to Gary Oldman, 59.)
And the winner is… Well, of course, there is no winner.
Quite a few people on Twitter noticed the ageist remarks at the Oscars, too. A few examples:
Jessica Bruder, author of the excellent book Nomadland (about itinerant American workers in their 60s, 70s and 80s), tweeted:
First Sandra Bullock, then Jane Fonda…what’s up with all the tacky cracks tonight involving women and the supposed impropriety of age? That’s the next wall to fall! Why not stand on the right side of it? #oscars #ageism
— Jessica Bruder (@jessbruder) March 5, 2018
Katherine Brodsky, a writer for Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Playboy, Vulture and Mashable, tweeted:
I love how the #Oscars tried to be about inclusivity, yet ageism was so rampant…
— Katherine Brodsky (@mysteriouskat) March 5, 2018
Allene Quincy, an actress, songstress and standup comedian, tweeted:
Why did @Janefonda ruin a great #oscarmoment w #helenmirren by putting down her age? #she looks #amazing!!!! #ageism sucks! #ageisjustanumber #HollywoodLegend #Oscars2018stream #oscars live stream link #Oscars #oscars2018 #Oscars90 #womeninarts #womenwhoworkout #womenwholift pic.twitter.com/UG9rPBSO2E
— #QUINCY (@allenequincy) March 5, 2018
The remarkable thing about the tone-deaf jokes by celebrities (and joke writers) who should know better: this was a stellar year for Oscar nominees, and winners, over 50.
Impressive Talents at Any Age
In addition to Plummer and Deakins, there were talents like James Ivory, 89, who won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (Call Me By Your Name), becoming the oldest person to win an Oscar in any category, and French director Agnes Varda, 89, nominated for her documentary Faces Places. (On Saturday’s Weekend Edition, NPR’s Neda Ulaby offered a smart tribute to Ivory, Varda and Plummer, “The Oscar Elders: 3 Octogenarians Make Academy Award History.”)
And did you catch the Oscars presentations by former Best Supporting Actress winners Eva Marie Saint, 93 (On the Waterfront), and Rita Moreno, 86 (West Side Story), and actors Christopher Walken, 74, and Wes Studi, 72? Not to mention closing presenters Warren Beatty, 80, and Faye Dunaway, 77, who were classy while poking fun at their famous faux pas during last year’s Oscars.
Maybe before next year’s Oscars presenters take to the stage, they can listen to Nicole Kidman’s anti-ageism speech at the 2018 SAG awards.
Upon winning the award for her role in HBO’s Big Little Lies, Kidman, 50, said: “I want to thank you all for your trailblazing performances you have given over your career and how wonderful it is that our careers today can go beyond 40 years old. Twenty years ago, we were pretty washed up by this stage in our lives, so that’s not the case now. We have proven [that] these actresses, and so many more are proving, that we are potent and powerful and viable.”
Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
- What Celebrities Say About Ageism in Hollywood
- Building an Anti-Ageism Movement: The Time Is Now
- This Art Gallery Is Winning the Fight Against Ageism
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