For those who follow such things, the The 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards for television arts and sciences will be handed out Sunday evening on CBS-TV. That would not be remarkable except - would you look at this: the average age of all 80 nominated performers in acting categories is 54 years.
Hollywood is generally more obsessed with youth than the culture at large. It is well-known that when women stars reach 40, few are likely to land a leading film role again. And writers of either gender have trouble getting work after age 40. But it appears – at least this year - that the television industry has taken a more - well, mature - approach.
Ray Richmond, writing last month in Backstage magazine, reported the results of his research into the ages of the Emmy nominees. He crunched those numbers and came up with these figures:
“…the average age this year of a lead acting nominee in the six drama series, comedy series and movie/miniseries categories is 45…
“Now let’s look at the six supporting acting categories. Suddenly the age average jumps 11 years to a fairly eye-popping 56. Of the 30 nominated actors and actresses, 16 – or more than half – are over the age of 60 and five over 70...
“If you merge the lead and supporting acting category ages [with] the nominees for series guest actor/actress…The average age there is just shy of 64. In one category, three of the five [nominees] are over 80…
“There is precisely one nominee below age 30. That would be 18-year-old Jonathan Rhys-Meyers for the CBS miniseries Elvis.”
Keep in mind that because actors notoriously shave a few years off their ages, so these averages, if truth be told, are likely even higher.
Mr. Richmond attributes the number of older Emmy nominees to the television academy’s penchant for ignoring cable programs that skew toward younger audiences. He cites such omissions as Rescue Me, The Shield and Nip/Tuck on FX, Entourage on HBO and Gilmore Girls on The WB.
I don’t know anything about the internal politics of the Academy, nor if this year is an anomaly that will have disappeared by next season’s awards. But for now, we can celebrate that in one, tiny little segment of life, older folks rule.