Time to rejoice—2019 is finally the year of the mature thespian (and if we have our say, it’ll be the year of the mature woman too). While there used to be much less work in Hollywood for actresses over 40, thankfully, the tide seems to be changing and we got confirmation of this at Sunday night’s 76th Annual Golden Globes Awards.
Many of the big winners of the night, were uh…not ingenues. For starters, Glenn Close—visibly surprised to have won a Golden Globe for Best Actress, Motion Picture for her role in The Wife—received a standing ovation for her emotional tribute to her mother and her call for women, especially older women, to pursue their passions. “To play a character who is so internal, I’m thinking of my mom who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life. In her 80s she said to me, ‘I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.’ And it was so not right,” she said through tears. “We [women] have our children, we have our husbands if we’re lucky enough, and our partners. But we have to find personal fulfilment.”
My mom…really sublimated herself to my father her whole life.
Backstage, at the HBO after party and the Gold Meets Golden soirée, Close and other outspoken Globes winners such as Patricia Arquette and Patricia Clarkson talked to Next Tribe about ageism.
“The advantage of all the places where these wonderful stories are being told now is a whole different landscape,” said Close. “I think we are getting to a point where women are taking control and developing—starting production companies and nurturing stories that will give them good roles themselves and good roles for women.
“And I really long for the day when it is not a woman’s movie, just a good movie. I am very excited about what’s to come and all the different adventures and possibilities.”
Patricia Arquette, who won a Golden Globe for Best Actress, Limited Series in Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora” was “so excited” about her role. “I mean, I never thought I would get a part like this in middle age. I’m 50 years old. I get to play a woman without a typical body type in Hollywood, who’s a sexual person, unapologetically sexual, complicated.
“And I have friends who are—who don’t have the typical body type, they’re bigger women, and one of them has said to me very clearly, `Hey, I really want to thank you for this project, everyone involved, because it’s the first time I as a big woman felt like I’m allowed to be a sexual being and not fetishized in a joke-able way.’”
Finally, people are realizing we sell tickets, we win awards, we actually make you money.
Patricia Clarkson, who won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made For Television, for HBO’s “Sharp Objects,” is thrilled to see this change happening.
“Everyone isn’t 25. It’s the best thing that’s happening in Hollywood right now. Finally, people are realizing we sell tickets, we win awards, we actually make you money.”
Getting to 50 Percent?
Olivia Colman, who won a Golden Globe for a Best Actress, Motion Picture for The Favourite, considers herself lucky in attracting quality roles. “I have always found work, and I feel very fortunate. I don’t know why, but there are more and more parts being written. The older you get, the more you have to say. Women want to hear our stories.”
Veteran actress Regina King, who picked up a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture in If Beale Street Could Talk, discussed the importance for female actors to be very vocal.
“The reason why we do this is because we understand that our microphones are big and we are speaking for everyone,” she said. “I’m going to use my platform right now to say, in the next two years, everything that I produce…is [going to be made up of] 50 percent women.”
The older you get, the more you have to say. Women want to hear our stories.
King added: “And I just challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power—not just in our industry, in all industries—I challenge you to stand with us in solidarity and do the same.”
With age comes wisdom, as noted by Carol Burnett, who received a Golden Globe TV Achievement Award. Reflecting on her life she said: “Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over, and then I bring myself up short when I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time because, what we did then, it couldn’t be done today.”
Older Men Had a Moment Too
Mature actors are equally in demand. According to stereotypes, a 74-year-old man should be on a beach in Florida, but actor Michael Douglas just won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series, for his starring role in Netflix’s comedy series about aging, “The Kominsky Method.”
“Truth be told that I owe all of this to one man out there, [creator/executive producer] Mr. Chuck Lorre. Chuck thinks getting old is funny,” Douglas said in his acceptance speech. Lorre is also the visionary behind television series like CBS’ “Young Sheldon,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom.”
Anybody who says, ‘I find getting old funny,’—that’s what I want to be involved with.
Backstage, Douglas elaborated on his win, describing the experience of acting at this age with co-star, Alan Arkin, as special. “When Chuck Lorre sent me this script, I wasn’t thinking about getting involved, but it was such a good script. And anybody who says, ‘I find getting old funny,’ to drink that Kool-Aid—that’s what I want to be involved with.”
Lovingly referring to his dad, Kirk Douglas, he quipped: “I guess this has got to go to my 102‑year‑old father, Kirk! Alta Kockers rule!” If you don’t know Yiddish, an “Alta Kocker” is an affectionate term for an old person!
In the pressroom, Douglas acknowledged the invaluable advice he got from his dad. “Stamina, tenacity. He was out of a school where you give it your best shot. You want to walk away and you’ve done the best thing you can, and then fuck it.”
Susan L. Hornik is a veteran entertainment and lifestyle journalist. She is an expert at making lemonade from lemons.