Oscars accused of being ageist

A new study has found that the majority of Best Picture Oscar nominees over the last few years don’t have characters over the age of 60.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is facing a fresh backlash after a study found the majority of Best Picture nominees are under 60.

The prestigious prizegiving ceremony, which honours the toast of Hollywood every year, may be synonymous with 20-times nominated Meryl Streep, 67, but a new study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism found that the Oscars seems to ignore older stars.

While race diversity has finally been addressed after the Oscars so White movement last year (16) in response to two years of all-white Best Actor and Actress nominees, trouble could be brewing elsewhere.

“When we think about diversity, we often talk about including the usual suspects of race, gender, sexual orientation, people with disabilities, but age is often left out of the conversation,” Stacy Smith, the study’s co-author, explained. “It’s a missed opportunity for Hollywood. These are people with disposable income and time on their hands to view and stream and download films.”

Stacy and her team found that from the 25 Best Picture nominees from 2014, 2015 and 2016, less than 12 per cent of the 1,256 speaking or named characters were 60 years of age or older.

In America, senior citizens make up 18.5 per cent of the population and account for 14 per cent of cinema ticket sales.

The study further found that when older people are portrayed in movies, it’s often as a sickly character, with six of the 14 films that cast an actor as the lead or supporting including ageist comments, such as one character telling another to "sit here and let Alzheimer's run its course".

Race and gender inequality were also highlighted; of the 148 older characters in the Best Picture category, 77.7 per cent were men and 89.9 per cent were white, 6.1 percent of the characters were black, 2 per cent were Asian and none were Hispanic or Latino.

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