Is Eddie Redmayne too young to win Best Actor? That question has been on my mind ever since he started generating Oscar buzz for “The Theory of Everything.” It would be hard to deny his technically and emotionally grueling performance as ALS-afflicted physicist Stephen Hawking, but even though Redmayne is on the right side of 30 – he’ll be 33 by the time Oscars are handed out next February – he would still be the eighth youngest winner ever in the category.
And what about twentysomethings like Miles Teller (“Whiplash“), Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken“), and Ellar Coltrane (“Boyhood“), all of whom are 100/1 underdogs in our Best Actor predictions despite their films being major Oscar hopefuls.
The last time the Oscars even nominated a lead actor under 30 was in 2010: Jesse Eisenberg for “The Social Network.” Besides him, only two other twentysomethings have earned nominations in the last decade: Ryan Gosling for “Half Nelson” and Heath Ledger for “Brokeback Mountain.”
And only only man under 30 has ever won Best Actor: Adrien Brody, who was just days shy of his 30th birthday when he won for “The Pianist.”
What do you think of the Best Actor race? Click here to start making your Oscar predictions, and edit them often to reflect the latest changes in the race. Your predictions are combined with those of our experts and editors to generate our racetrack odds, which Hollywood insiders obsessively follow in the hopes of moving ahead in the race. Contest prize for best predictions is $1,000; click here to meet Tim Kressman, who won our contest last year.
I posed the question to our forum posters: Why is it harder for young men to earn Oscar respect than it is for young women? Many argue it’s less about a bias against men than it is about Hollywood sexism against women. Read some of their comments below, then click here to join the discussion:
CAROL-CHANNING: “Movies are made by mostly middle-aged, straight, white men. Middle-aged, straight, white men want to see themselves as the protagonists … Middle-aged, straight, white men also love younger women, so whenever there is a female protagonist or a female playing opposite the protagonist, she is usually around 22-40 years old.”
A Frustrated Everything: “Young male actors have all the privilege they could want except assurance for recognition at award season … Hollywood is a patriarchy. You can’t feel sorry for men in a patriarchal system. They benefit after a certain age. While their female counterparts are shown the door.”
babypook: “Young men don’t have the same pressure when it comes to aging, turning forty, or even wanting to direct, although lady directors are becoming less rare. They still have a hill to climb by comparison.”
VanHeflin: “The reason more women win when they are young is because there is often very little competition from older actresses, since most of the time they don’t get roles.”
Tyler The Awesome Guy: “Because Hollywood is full of horny male jackasses.”
How would you rate the chances of younger actors like Redmayne, Teller, and O’Connell this year? Will their relative youth hold them back, or is the performance all that matters? Make your predictions below, and join the discussion in our message boards.