A new ad for Nebraska's highlights the advanced ages of its stars, a strategy which should serve it well during Oscar season.
The ad, which debuted on Deadline, points out that Will Forte is 41, June Squibb is 84, and Bruce Dern is 77, while shilling for their Alexander Payne movie about an elderly man who thinks he won a million dollars. Deadline's Pete Hammond marveled at the spot: "And now Paramount is going to unleash a highly unusual new TV spot that does something I can’t recall ever having seen – it reveals the actual ages of its stars. Whoa. Going where no studio has ever gone before. Now that’s a first for Hollywood!" Of course, Hammond also notes that the ad "ought to resonate with many in the Academy which you may have heard has a few older members itself."
While, yes, it might be striking in "age-phobic" (per Hammond's headline) Hollywood to see the numbers in plan black-and-white, the fact that, say, Dern has had a long and storied career with little recognition in the way of awards has long been part of this campaign. And while Hollywood may not be lining up to throw money at films with older protagonists, the Academy positively loves them. Look no further than recent nominations (and some wins) for Jeff Bridges (64), Alan Arkin (79), Robert De Niro (70), Morgan Freeman (76), Christopher Plummer (84), Tommy Lee Jones (67), Max Von Sydow (84), Clint Eastwood (83), Tom Wilkinson (65), Alan Alda (77), Hal Holbrook (88), and the late Peter O'Toole. And that's just actors in the last ten years.