Oscar Statistics: Is There Ageism at the Oscars?

Katharine Hepburn (“Morning Glory” (left) and “On Golden Pond” (right)”) in her first and last nominations and wins.

Every month, we’re going to be looking at the Oscars in a different way. While most of our content deals with predictions and precursors and reviews and previews and everything in between, the facts and statistics surrounding the Oscars are seldom referenced but in passing. These articles will change that. No more than once a month, we’ll take a narrow (or broad as it suits) look at statistics about and surrounding the Oscars.

One of the myriad controversies that surround the Academy Awards is their comparative treatment of men and women in the acting categories; frequently honoring younger or older actresses while ignoring middle-aged ones and treating their male counterparts differently. There is some truth in this idea as the data I put together for this article shows. While I will mostly be discussing the discrepancy in ages, this article will also look at records regarding age in general, not just in specific to the question of “are the Oscars Ageist?”

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The DVD Report #535

Beggars of Life, not Wings, the first Oscar winner, was the film William Wellman always cited as his favorite among his silent films. It was the Oscar-winning writer-director’s last before turning to talkies, as well as the last Hollywood film made by Louise Brooks before she went to Germany to make the legendary Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl for G.W. Pabst.

Long considered a lost film, Beggars of Life resurfaced in the 1960s and gained cult status in the late 1980s after Brooks’ death. Kino Lorber has released a magnificent Blu-ray of the film, restored by the George Eastman Foundation, with two commentary tracks, one by William Wellman, Jr., and the other by Thomas Gladysz, founding director the Louise Brooks Society.

The film itself is a precursor of Wellman’s beloved 1933 film Wild Boys of the Road, as well as Preston Sturges’ 1942 masterpiece Sullivan’s Travels. All three films feature young girls riding the rails masquerading as boys. In this one, Brooks plays a girl on the run for killing her abusive guardian, with Richard Arlen as her protector. Wellman had given Arlen his first starring role in Wings and was at the time equally as popular as Brooks, but neither was as big a name as Wallace Beery who gets top billing for his supporting turn as Oklahoma Red, the king of the hobos. Beery, who would become an even bigger star in such early talkies as Min and Bill and The Champ, for which he won an Oscar, is a total delight as a heavy with a heart of gold. All three actors do their own stunts, although a double is used for Brooks’ several falls from the trains. It’s based on the memoir of real-life hobo Jim Tully, portrayed in the film by Arlen.

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This Day in Oscar History: September 26 (2017)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released


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Poll: Now That You’ve Seen “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

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Now That You’ve Seen Kingsman: The Golden Circle…?

Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you've seen "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," which Matthew Vaughn film is best?

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Trailer Watch: Wonderstruck (2017) Updated

New Trailer (#2) / New Posters (#2-#4)

Wonderstruck, Updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 22-24, 2017

We had two films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Battle of the Sexes

The story of the legendary tennis match between loutish Bobby Riggs (here played by Steve Carell) and superstar Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), has been translated to the big screen by the directing team behind Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Having played the Toronto and Telluride film festivals, the film has been seen and the reviews are strong with an 86% at Rotten Tomatoes (7.1/10 average rating) and a 73 at MetaCritic.

The film now must face audiences where its subpar opening weekend threatens to keep the film from bridging the gap between critical acclaim and box office success, both factors in determining whether Oscar will take notice. For the most part, there are a few factors that could help net the film sufficient attention even in the face of disappointing box office. Apart from the critical support, Stone is coming off her Oscar win for La La Land. Nominated previously, Stone seems like the kind of actor who will continue to earn the respect of the Academy for years to come.

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The Morning After: Sep. 25, 2017

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

The Lego Ninjago Movie


With the original Lego Movie, Warner Bros. Animation had its first major success in more than a decade and established itself as more of a power player in the extremely competitive computer animated feature marketplace. With The Lego Batman Movie, the studio built on that success. In its third Lego franchise film, Warner Bros. has hit a bit of a snag.

The Lego Ninjago Movie is based on a product line and TV series about a team of six elemental ninjas who must work together to defeat evil. In the big screen version, they take on Garmadon, a ruthless plotter attempting to take over Ninjago City and turn it into his own personal playground. The ninjas have typically stopped him, but now they must embark on a journey across various environments to retrieve the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon that will finally stop him once and for all. The only problem: Garmadon is the father of Lloyd, the Green Ninja.

While much of the humor here is juvenile and the frustrating real-world elements that plagued the original Lego movie are employed here, but for the most part it’s an entertaining journey. A number of actors not particularly well known for their vocal work, take on the sextet and their cohorts. The most familiar name in the cast is Jackie Chan who plays their Master Wu. His vocal work is stronger than his in-person acting, which he gets to do as a book-end to the story. That story is set up interestingly enough, but that setup is intensely predictable, as is the rest of the film.

Kids are sure to enjoy it, but the adult audience that has helped make the franchise a success aren’t likely to be as enthused or excited about the final product.

This Day in Oscar History: September 25 (2017)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.

Born

Died

Released


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Poll: What Are You Most Anticipating? (Oct. 2017, Limited)

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Cinema Sight Asks: Which October 2017 limited release are you most anticipating?

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Trailer Watch: Flatliners (2017) Updated

New Trailer (#2) / New Posters (#2-#8)

Flatliners, updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Weekend Preview: Sep. 29-Oct. 1, 2017

Below are five previews for films opening next weekend.

 

American Made (Wide)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Flatliners (Wide)

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Til Death Do Us Part (Wide)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Literally, Right Before Aaron (Limited)

Cinema Sight Preview
 
 
 

Super Dark Times (Limited)

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Film Preview: Super Dark Times (2017)

Page Revisions:

(September 24, 2017) Original

Release Date:

September 29, 2017

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.”

Poster Rating: C+

SEE ALL POSTERS BELOW
Review: The photography in this design is wonderful, but the lack of context doesn’t help sell the film. What’s the film about other than staring into a dark recess of some kind. Mystery can sell, but not for a film like this.

Trailer Rating: C

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Review: A more sinister version of Stand by Me that explores growing up in a more grim manner. That might not play well to the type of youngsters that are at the heart of the film’s narrative, so what kind of sales this trailer will generate is uncertain.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Literally, Right Before Aaron (2017)

Page Revisions:

(September 24, 2017) Original

Release Date:

September 29, 2017

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “A young man attends the wedding of his ex-girlfriend.”

Poster Rating: C+

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Review: That pink background is awful, though the cake-topping groomsman concept is at least interesting, especially when it seems to suggest that the live-girl is with a cookie-cutter compatriot rather than the protagonist.

Trailer Rating: C+

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Review: There are only a couple of mildly amusing bits in the trailer, which hinders this romantic comedy from feeling fresh or attractive. There are some elements, though, that make the film look like it might be a little fun.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Film Preview: Til Death Do Us Part (2017)

Page Revisions:

(September 24, 2017) Original

Release Date:

September 29, 2017

Synopsis:

From IMDb: “Michael and Madison Roland had planned to spend the rest of their lives together, until one day Michael’s controlling ways turned their perfect marriage. With the help of her best friend, Madison decides to get away. After adopting a new identity, she meets Alex Stone and learns to love again. All is well, until Michael discovers Madison’s whereabouts, and recreates the nightmare she once lived all over again.”

Poster Rating: C-

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Review: The milquetoast black-white-red aesthetic for horror film and thriller poster design is too often unimpressive. Here is a perfect example. It doesn’t even have any dramatic lighting or tension.

Trailer Rating: B-

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Review: A convincing thriller is what the audience is fairly presented in this trailer. It gives away too much of the story, setting up almost exactly what will happen by film’s end, but it is engaging enough to be interesting.

Oscar Prospects:

None.

Trailer #1

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Review: The Dark Tower (2017)

The Dark Tower

Rating

Director

Nikolaj Arcel

Screenplay

Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinker, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel (Novel Series: Stephen King)

Length

1h 35min

Starring

Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Dennis Haysbert, Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Katheryn Winnick, Nicholas Pauling, Michael Barbieri, Jose Zuniga, Nicholas Hamilton,

MPAA Rating

PG-13 for thematic material including sequences of gun violence and action.

Original Preview

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