I started thinking those breakthroughs could simultaneously happen if both Quvenzhane Wallis and Emmanuelle Riva get nominated for Best Actress on January 10, when the Academy’s list of chosen folk is announced.
Wallis, now 9, has gotten acclaim for her startling turn as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild, while Riva, 85, has won her own raves and trophies for brilliantly playing the dying woman in Amour.
A nomination would be extra sweet for Riva because, according to Wikipedia, her birthday is February 24–the date of the Oscars!
In other words, she’s turning 86 on the day she could win a golden boy!
This could be a major record-breaking moment–the youngest and oldest acting nominees ever, facing off against each other–but there’s just one problem.
Justin Henry was only eight when he prodigiously bagged a supporting nod for 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer!
And Gloria Stuart happened to be 87 when she was nominated for 1997’s Titanic, the old coot!
Still, I hope Wallis and Riva get the noms, just to show that Oscar can still foster diversity.
PS: If you want to go by how old the actors were when they filmed their roles (as opposed to how old they are when nominated), maybe Wallis has an edge because she was a mere five when she tried out for the part. And she lied and said she was six!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 18, 2012