Why this year’s Oscar nominees skew older «

    Why this year’s Oscar nominees skew older

    It looks as though Jennifer Lawrence and her generational peers have hit a speed hump on the road to cinematic domination. As Rachel Dodes observes this week in the Wall Street Journal, the average age of this year’s Academy Award nominees for best actress is 55, and for the first time since 2006, there are no actresses in their 20s on the list.

    ReutersStreep: Recommended for maturing audiences.Among the best-actress nominees announced yesterday, Meryl Streep, 64, and Judi Dench, at 79, are the two most venerable. (They’re nominated for their roles in “August: Osage County” and “Philomena,” respectively.) The youngest nominee this year, Amy Adams (“American Hustle”), is 39—which was the average age of the nominees last year.

    No self-respecting statistician would declare proof of a trend based on a data sample that includes only five people a year, as Dodes acknowledges. Last year’s best-actress average, she notes, was brought down by the nomination of Quvenzhané Wallis, who was only nine.

    But there may be a correlation between the aging of the nominee pool and a growing maturity of the crowd in the cinema seats. Dodes notes that in 2012, people aged 40-49 were the fastest-growing demographic among moviegoers; the share of people in that age group who said they went to the movies more than once a month nearly doubled, to 6%. She also points out that the average age of voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is 63.

    Among the best-actor nominees, the average age is 47. Four of the five picks this year are bunched between ages 36 and 44—but Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), at 77, bends the curve.