Glenn Close turned 74 on Friday, March 19, just four days after receiving her eighth Oscar nomination for her performance in “Hillbilly Elegy.” Once again, Oscar watchers are buzzing about whether this may finally be her time to win or if she will extend her record as the living actor with the most nominations without a win. Should she take home the Best Supporting Actress statuette next month, she would become the third oldest winner in this category in academy history.
Close will be 74 years and 37 days old on the day of the April 25 ceremony. A victory would put her just a hair behind Josephine Hull for “Harvey” (1950), who was 74 years and 85 days old. Both trail Peggy Ashcroft, who won for “A Passage to India” (1984), beating Close for “The Natural,” at the age of 77 years and 93 days old. Only three other women have won Best Supporting Actress in their 70s: Ruth Gordon for “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), Margaret Rutherford for “The V.I.Ps” (1963) and Helen Hayes in “Airport” (1970).
The academy has been kinder to middle-aged/older actresses in this category in recent years compared to ingenues; five of the last six champs have been 45 or older. In each of those cases, the winning supporting actress, from Patricia Arquette to Laura Dern, had worked extensively in the industry for decades. Close fits cleanly into that narrative this year, with the added incentive that she has never won an Oscar.
Ironically, Close almost became the third oldest winner two years ago for “The Wife” in a different category — Best Actress. She was 71 years and 342 days old on the day of the 2019 Oscars, but she lost to “The Favourite” star Olivia Colman, against whom she faces again this year in Best Supporting Actress. Had Close won, she would’ve been behind Katharine Hepburn for “On Golden Pond” (1981) at 74 years and 321 days old and Jessica Tandy for “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989) at 80 years and 292 days old.
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