As Tina Fey wrote, in her great New Yorker essay about motherhood, Hollywood, and turning 40, “Thirty-five turns into 40 faster than McDonald’s food turns into cold non-food.” It’s not exactly a secret that Hollywood honors and praises youth and that once you hit a certain age, the roles become limited. But at last night’s Golden Globe ceremony, you wouldn’t have known this as it was the “old” women of Hollywood that took home the awards. Huffington Post editor Emma Gray pointed that last year’s Golden Globes were dominated by discussion of performances by younger stars like Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Anne Hathaway (Love & Other Drugs), Emma Stone (Easy A) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), this year there was hardly a 20-something in sight, with the exception of Rooney Mara. “And it’s especially heartening that these mid-life actresses are being recognized for substantial roles,” wrote Grey.
The nominees over 40 included Juliana Margulies, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Laura Linney, Jodie Foster, Tilda Swinton, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Callie Thorne, Emily Watson, Diane Lane, Glenn Close, Madonna, Meryl Streep and Laura Dern. Dern, Spencer and Meryl took home awards. “This year’s Golden Globe nominees are in good company, surrounded by talented, experienced actresses who have begun to push back on Hollywood’s traditional “four decades and you’re out” attitude. If these women are “over the hill,” then maybe we should all be trying to climb that mountain rapidly,” said Gray. This is especially great to see in light of a certain Texas actress, who recently sued Amazon for $1 million dollars – for listing her age on the popular site IMDb. According to the suit, this “Jane Doe” is concerned about “revealing to the public that the plaintiff is many years older than she looks…In the entertainment industry, youth is king. If one is perceived to be ‘over-the-hill,’ i.e. approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the plaintiff, to get work.” As George Clooney said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “It’s much harder to get a film with a woman lead made. When a man hits 40 is when roles just begin to happen. And for women it doesn’t happen. I find that to be a very concerning issue.”
It was also a great night for Meryl Streep who took home the award for best actress in a motion picture drama for her work in The Iron Lady. She plays Margaret Thatcher in the film, another powerhouse woman who came into her career prime in her 40s. In her acceptance speech she named almost every actress nominated (and even some that weren’t) even though she couldn’t read her speech because she left her glasses at the table. “Any one of these performances in any given year would have been a stand out and award winning performance, but the fact that they all came this year is great news for all of us because sometimes it seems that serious challenging weird movies are like exotic birds, rare near-extinct birds.”
Plus, these older ladies all looked awesome. ”Jane Fonda in that dress. My God,” George Clooney told reporters backstage after winning best actor for The Descendants.”She looked great, didn’t she?”