Golden Globe-winning actresses campaign against Hollywood Ageism

A special edition of the Golden Globe Awards, with three award-winning sexagenarian actresses – Angela Bassett (64), Jennifer Coolidge (61) and Michelle Yeoh (60). The 80th edition brings into the spotlight a problem that is not much discussed in public – the professional marginalization of actresses who are over 40 years old, based on criteria of aesthetic canons that no longer correspond to the public’s expectations.

A real performance, having in mind that the percentage of male actors in their 60’s cast in leading roles is twice that of actresses of the same age decade.

„According to research, at age 40, female characters begin to disappear from TV and movies. These Golden Globe winners are setting a new industry norm”, says Female Quotient.

Discrimination against actresses over the age of 40-50 is a global problem. The tight beauty patterns, the multitude of aesthetic surgery techniques forced the actresses to enter into a never-ending fight against aging. Many actresses would do anything to look younger in the eyes of movie producers and directors. Most of them are men. They claim that the public wants to see young and beautiful women, with flawless figures, with perfectly toned skin, perfect eyebrows, and artificially augmented lips. No wrinkles, no excess weight, no signs of aging. But who is the audience? Is it true that is the audience’s expectances? I doubt it.

I know many people who love movies starring Meryl Streep (her characters after her 40’s), Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Diane Keaton, Emma Thompson, Cate Blanchett, and Angela Lansbury. They have a unique sense of humor, wisdom, astonishing vitality and a zest for life. Authenticity. They proudly and gracefully wear their wrinkles, extra pounds, and grayed hair. In an era where most Hollywood stars are victims to the pressure of aesthetic surgery – in order not to show their age – these senior actresses proudly and worthily expose their wrinkled faces that confer to them even more expressiveness.

I admit that I cannot forget the famous Katharine Hepburn, playing towards the end of her life, in On Golden Pond (1981), with deep wrinkles and gray hair, her head shaking slightly – movements that betrayed Parkinson’s disease. While Hollywood is unforgiving of aging actresses, Hepburn continued to play with savoir fair and savoir vivre, emphasizing exactly the features of a mature woman. It can even be said that the defining features of her acting game have refined with age. What an awful lot of guts to play an old lady with an obvious essential tremor but laser-sharp and intelligent lines! No wonder this role brought her a new Oscar – the fourth. Her gentle seniority, complemented by Henry Fonda one’s, her partner in the movie, is the reference in movie history that proves that age should not kill talent. Fonda was also rewarded with an Oscar for the role in which he was the partner of the sensational Katharine Hepburn. And their daughter in the film, played by Jane Fonda, became recognized as one of the actresses who fought for women’s rights.

Some considered this Oscar to be a final award, a consolation for her acting longevity. Others believe that this would actually be the right direction.

There is also the generation of 50+ actresses who seem to be making significant efforts to disguise their age – Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sandra Bullock, Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, Viola Davis, Nicole Kidman. Certainly, a very careful lifestyle was important in their preserving look – with lots of exercise, customized diets, anti-aging treatments and surgeries to keep them in shape.

I’m not crazy about Cher, although I don’t deny her talent and acting performances. In her most recent movies, I only admired her unique and defining voice, the only one that escaped the pattern of cosmetic surgery. Her cyborg figure with transhuman accents doesn’t impress me at all. I want to see real women, women I can identify, with whom I can discover my fears, and anxieties, with compassion and humor.

The other day I watched a wonderful interview by Cătălin Ștefănescu, from Garantat 100% show, with the Romanian actress Tora Vasilescu, who is in her seventies. The actress admitted that after 40 years, a moment that coincided with the entry into the post-Revolution transition, the invitations to perform in films or theater decreased a lot. The actress assumed that “in acting, the good bits are for the young actresses, the mature ones are composing just the sauce.”

In this context, the 80th edition of the annual Golden Globe Awards comes with a sign of normality. Three actresses in their sixties were awarded for their performances. This means that they mattered and their talent and place in society was recognized.

Jennifer Coolidge’s speech, who accepted an award for “The White Lotus” during the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards, was impressive:

“You’ve given me a new beginning. Even if this is the end, because you did kill me off, it doesn’t matter. Even if this is the end, you changed my life in a million different ways,” she said, referencing her character’s fate in the acclaimed anthology series. “My neighbors are speaking to me and things like that. I mean it. I was never invited to one party on my hill, and now everyone’s inviting me

Michelle Yeoh accepted the best actress in a motion picture — musical or comedy award for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the Golden Globe Awards

“This movie for me was such an homage to so many women like that around us who are sometimes invisible, who we take for granted,” she said. “There are so many relatable things, and all because they were chasing the American dream.

Forty years not letting go of this. So quickly, thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press, for giving me this honor. It’s been an amazing journey and incredible fight to be here today, but I think it’s worth it. As time went by—I turned 60 last year—and I think all of you women understand this: As the days, years, numbers get bigger, the opportunities get smaller as well,” she continued. “I probably was at a time where I thought, Hey, come on, girl, you’ve had a good run and you’ve worked with some of the best people … it’s all good. Then along came the best gift: Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Angela Bassett’s speech: „On January 22, 1994, I stood on this stage and accepted the Golden Globe for What’s Love Got to Do with It. The late Toni Morrison said, ‘Your life is already a miracle of chance just waiting for you to order its destiny. In order for destiny to manifest, I think that it requires courage to have faith, it requires patience. And it requires a true sense of yourself.”

The complete list of 2023 Golden Globes winners:

• Best film – drama: “The Fabelmans”

• Best film – comedy/musical: “The Banshees of Inisherin”

• Best Director: Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)

• Best Actress in a Movie – Drama: Cate Blanchet (“Tar”)

• Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Austin Butler (“Elvis”)

• Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical: Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

• Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical: Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

• Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Angela Besset (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

• Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

• The most foreign film: “Argentina, 1985” (Argentina)

• Best Animation: “Pinocchio”

• Best screenplay: Martin MacDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin)

• Best Soundtrack: Justin Hurwitz (“Babylon”)

• Best Original Song: “Naatu Naatu” – Composer M.M.Keeravani (“RRR”)

• Cecil B. DeMille Honorary Award: Eddie Murphy

• Best series – drama: “House of the Dragon”

• Best Series – Comedy/Musical: “Abbott Elementary”

• Best Actress in a Drama Series: Zendaya (“Euphoria”)

• Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical Series: Quinta Brunson (“Äbbott Elementary”)

• Best Actor in a Drama Series: Kevin Costner (“Yellowstone”)

• Outstanding Actor in a Comedy/Musical Series: Jeremy Allen White (“The Bear”)

• Best TV Miniseries/Feature: (“The White Lotus: Sicily”)

• Best Actress in a TV Miniseries/Feature: Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropoud”)

• Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Miniseries/Feature: Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”)

• Best Actor in a TV Miniseries/Feature: Evan Peters (“Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”)

• Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a TV Miniseries/Feature: Paul Walter Hauser (“Black Bird’)

• Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Series: Julia Garner (“Ozark”)

• Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series: Tyler Williams (“Abbott Elementary”)

• Carol Burnett Honorary Award: Ryan Murphy

Photo: Female Quotient

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