The Oldest and the Youngest

This year’s Academy Award nominations held a pleasant surprise and new record.  In the Best Actress in a Leading Role category, we have both the oldest and the youngest nominees in the history of the Oscars.  Emmanuelle Riva, nominated for the foreign film Amour, was 85 years old when announcements were made last week.  At the other end of the spectrum is Quvenzhané Wallis, star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, who was 9 years old.  These records will probably stand for a long time to come.
 

But I did start to wonder about past Oscar winners and nominees.  Who were the oldest and the youngest before now?  Below are the actors and actresses who had the records for a while.  A few still do.  And we’re fortunate to have copies of many of the movies that won them so much acclaim.
 

Oldest Winners

Actress in a Leading Role    
Jessica Tandy (80) -- Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Katharine Hepburn (74) – On Golden Pond (1981)
Marie Dressler (63) – Min and Bill (1930/31)
Katharine Hepburn (61) – The Lion in Winter (1968)
Helen Mirren (61) – The Queen (2006)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Peggy Ashcroft (77) – A Passage to India (1984)
Josephine Hull (74) – Harvey (1950)
Ruth Gordon (72) – Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Margaret Rutherford (71) – The V.I.P.’s (1963)
Helen Hayes (70) – Airport (1970)

Actor in a Leading Role
Henry Fonda (76) – On Golden Pond (1981)
John Wayne (62) – True Grit (1969)
George Arliss (62) – Disraeli (1929/30)
Paul Newman (62) – The Color of Money (1986)
Jack Nicholson (60) – As Good as it Gets (1997)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christopher Plummer (82) – Beginners (2011)
George Burns (80) – The Sunshine Boys (1975)
Melvyn Douglas (79) – Being There (1979)
John Gielgud (77) – Arthur (1981)
Don Ameche (77) – Cocoon (1985)
 

Youngest Winners

Actress in a Leading Role
Marlee Matlin (21) – Children of a Lesser God (1986)
Janet Gaynor (22) – 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise (1927/28)
Joan Fontaine (24) – Suspicion (1941)
Audrey Hepburn (24) – Roman Holiday (1953)
Jennifer Jones (25) – The Song of Bernadette (1943)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Tatum O’Neal (10) – Paper Moon (1973)
Anna Paquin (11) – The Piano (1993)
Patty Duke (16) – The Miracle Worker (1962)
Anne Baxter (23) – The Razor’s Edge (1946)
Teresa Wright (24) – Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Actor in a Leading Role
Adrien Brody (29) – The Pianist (2002)
Richard Dreyfuss (30) – The Goodbye Girl (1977)
Marlon Brando (30) – On the Waterfront (1954)
Maximilian Schell (31) – Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Nicolas Cage (32) – Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Timothy Hutton (20) – Ordinary People (1980)
Cuba Gooding, Jr. (29) – Jerry Maguire (1996)
George Chakiris (29) – West Side Story (1961)
Heath Ledger (29) – The Dark Knight (2008)
Jack Lemmon (31) – Mister Roberts (1955)
 


For more complete lists of winners and of the nominees, check Oldest/Youngest Acting Nominees and Winners by Category at the official Academy Awards site.


Flickr:   CC          :  Oscar          Photo by  Kara Brugman