Renee Zellweger is all but certain to win the Best Actress Oscar for “Judy.” She is slated to be feted for her portrayal of the mercurial talent that was Judy Garland. If Zellweger prevails as we predict at the Oscars on February 9, she’ll be 11 weeks shy of her 51st birthday.
In youth-obsessed Hollywood, that will make her the 10th oldest Best Actress winner in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards. She will bump Shirley Maclaine, who was just two weeks from turning 50 when she won in 1984 for “Terms of Endearment,” out of the Top 10. (By comparison, 20 of the Best Actor winners have been over 50.)
Only two women were in in their 50s when they collected Oscars for their leading roles. Both Shirley Booth (“Come Back, Little Sheba”) and Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) were 54 when they won. Booth was the older of the two by 120 days when she added an Oscar in 1953 to go with the Tony she had taken home for creating this role.
Another Tony champ, Jessica Tandy, ranks as the oldest-ever winner of the Best Actress Oscars. She was 80 years and 292 days when she took home the Oscar in 1990 for “Driving Miss Daisy.” That eclipsed the mark set by Katharine Hepburn, who was 74 years and 321 days when she won her record fourth Best Actress Academy Award for “On Golden Pond” in 1982.
Hepburn racked up her third win at age 61 years and 337 days for “The Lion in Winter” in 1969 and her second the year before for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” (Conversely, she ranks as sixth youngest for her first win at age 26 years, 308 days for “Morning Glory” back in 1934).
Five other women were in their sixties when they walked away with the Best Actress Oscar:
Frances McDormand was 60 years and 254 days old when she won her second Best Actress award two years ago for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to join the one that she picked up for “Fargo” in 1997.
Helen Mirren was 61 years and 214 days when she reigned over the 2007 Oscars for her performance in “The Queen.” That puts her in sixth place as she was 92 days older than Geraldine Page was when she won in 1986 for “The Trip to Bountiful.”
Meryl Streep had to wait till she was 62 years (and 249 days) in 2012 to finally win her third Oscar (for “The Iron Lady”), having claimed her second (for “Sophie’s Choice”) in 1983.
And Marie Dressler was just a day over 63 when she won this award at the 4th Academy Awards way back in 1931 for “Min and Bill.”
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on February 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.