Here are some numbers. Can you guess what they represent?
64, 60, 45, 42 and 36.
They are the ages of the most-nominated actresses of this awards season. In descending order: Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Mo'Nique (Precious) and Vera Farmiga, (Up in the Air), all women of a certain age.
This is news because 20 years ago the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) found, to its horror, that actresses over 30 were underemployed and underpaid compared to their actor colleagues. In 1990, females constituted only 29 per cent of the lead roles in movies. The SAG report also noted that "after the age of 10, men consistently make higher average earnings...than women do." That state of affairs prompted Streep, then 40 and hitting a cinderblock ceiling in Hollywood, to quip, "From birth through age 9, actresses can make a pretty fair living." She advised, "Little girls, hold out for the big money, invest wisely and investigate other carers, because after fourth grade, it's all downhill." Good for Mirren, Mo'Nique et al for showing that women of a certain age have box office viability and vitality.