The 2023 Oscar nominations proved the clout of grownup talents, and the grownup audience, in the art and business of film.
Nine out of 20 nominations in the acting categories went to actors over 50, and Jamie Lee Curtis, 64, Brendan Fraser, 54, and Michelle Yeoh, 60, show it’s never too late to be at the top of your career, receiving their first Oscar nominations.
Two of the biggest hits among the best picture nominees, Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick, were made hits by viewers over 50. About two-fifths of the viewers who gave Tom Cruise his first billion-dollar hit at 60 were over 45, one-fifth over 55.
All of the best picture noms were substantially driven by older audiences and their good taste. The other contenders: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Triangle of Sadness and Women Talking.
Here’s a look at how grownups did in the Oscar nominations:
Jamie Lee Curtis nabs first Oscar nod
Curtis, who will accept the AARP Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award on Jan. 28 (watch the ceremony on PBS’s Great Performances Feb. 17, 2023, at 9 p.m. ET), earned a nomination for best supporting actress in Everything Everywhere All at Once, in which she plays Deirdre Beaubeirdre, the hilariously awful IRS investigator who torments the heroine, Yeoh — who was nominated for best actress.
Their beautiful personal bond in real life enriched their performance as enemies in the film, and a picture of Curtis exultantly congratulating Yeoh for her recent Golden Globe Award win became a huge internet meme. “It was a little miracle of a movie,” Curtis told AARP. “I fell in love with Michelle Yeoh and never let go.” Curtis became an overnight star at 19 in the scare flick Halloween, and she’s a far bigger star now. “I feel very fortunate that I’m having more creative opportunities than I did as a youngster,” she says.
Michelle Yeoh smashes two Hollywood barriers at once
Yeoh, who broke out 23 years ago in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and helped make 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians a historic hit, made history again, not only for earning an Oscar nod at 60 but as the first woman who identifies as Asian nominated for best actress in the 95-year history of the Oscars. (Merle Oberon was nominated for The Dark Angel in 1936, but she hid her Sri Lankan ancestry to succeed.) “It’s taken a long time,” Yeoh told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think this is beyond just me. It represents so many who have hoped to be seen in this way, to have a seat at the table.”