Awards Show Coverage
The Emmys Vs. the Oscars: Actor's Ages
As an award show junkie, Ive been preparing for the upcoming Emmys by becoming familiar with as much of the nominated work as possible: anxiously waiting for Game of Thrones in my Netflix queue, finishing the first season of Boardwalk Empire and watching Modern Family on repeat. The Oscars and Emmys respective Academies nominate a small group of actors to represent all of film and television for the year making snubs, obligatory nods, and a whole mess of politics inevitable. The difference in the types of actors who make up these lists shows what different story-telling mediums film and television are from one another.
Cast of Modern Family at 2010 Emmy Awards
Image: Getty Images
The Oscars love a bombshell-leading lady: typically a young, bodacious, rookie nominee to fill their red carpet with only the most attractive A-listers like Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron and Gwyneth Paltrow. This years crop of Oscar nominated actresses drew an average age of 35 while the Emmys average 44 for lead drama actresses and 43 for the comediennes.
One reason for this is that stars must earn their acting stripes before being offered their own television series like Kathy Bates (63), Edie Falco (48), Laura Linney (47), Tina Fey (41) and Amy Poehler (39). Other roles depict women as the counterpart to a leading male figure, like Melissa McCarthy (41) to Billy Gardell or Connie Britton (44) to Kyle Chandler as both women take second billing to their on-screen husbands. These characters are wives and mothers and must be older than a child actor.
Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights
Image: Jon Kopaloff/ FilmMagic
Television is also unique to film as the same shows can get nominated each year, whereas the Oscars is consistently a new bunch. Timeless beauties and talents like Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife) and Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SUV) will always be favored by The Academy and fans alike, because who could dislike either of these women or their work? Im still missing Margulies as ERs Nurse Hathaway. Then there are the lesser-known actresses like Martha Plimpton (40) and Mireille Enos (36) who fill a sixth nomination slot (the Oscars have five nominees) to recognize and promote other TV content.
Image: Getty Images
The youngest nominee is Mad Mens Elisabeth Moss. At 29, this is her third nomination for her role of Peggy and probably wont be her last but will also most likely never end in a win. Natalie Portman won her Oscar this year at the same age with no previous nominations (she was nominated for her supporting role in Closer).
Image: Ian Gavin/ Getty Images
The same patterns dont necessarily exist for the men, as leading male roles are not written the same way as the female ones. Most hero roles go to older, strapping men who are protectors, conquerors and leaders. All six men in this years drama category fit the alpha male role and average age 45. The Oscar nominees are still younger in general, despite Jeff Bridges (61) there were James Franco (32) and Jessie Eisenberg (27) who brought the groups average age to 42. Perhaps the difference lies in the escapism we search for in a theater and the familiarity we want in our living rooms.
The Emmy Awards air Sunday, September 18th. Tune in for our live blogging coverage.
Annie Howard (@RTNowRadio) for RightNowRadio © 2011