See the full list of nominees
Actors over 50 earned 23 nominations on July 13 in the 2021 Emmy race – and will learn if they’ll land a coveted golden statuette when the winners are announced on Sunday, September 19 when televised on CBS and Paramount +. Men dominated nominations in both limited series, movie, or anthology categories (WandaVisionis Paul Bettany, 50, The defeatby Hugh Grant, 60, and Halston‘s Ewan McGregor, 50) and lead actor (Tthe Kominsky method‘s Michael Douglas, 76, Shameless‘William H. Macy, 71, and Blackish‘s Anthony Anderson, 50). Blackish was the only nominated broadcast network comedy – increasingly, most TV hits are on streaming services.
Women in TV often face ageism while men don’t, but the change may be coming: This year, the Emmy Awards recognized 12 male actors and 10 female actors. Half of the supporting actresses nominated in drama and limited series / films / anthologies were over 50 – including Gillian Anderson, 52, and Helena Bonham Carter, 55, in The crown, on the British royal family. Their show, much appreciated by AARP generations, on par with The Mandalorian for the most Emmy nominations of the year: a whopping 24.
Perhaps the most successful star was Jean Smart, 69. Never nominated in her youth for her success Conceiving Women, she won her first Emmy at 49 (as a guest actress on Frasier) and generated a growing buzz as a nominee for Fargo (2014) and Watchmen (2019). But she got him out of the park this year with her 10th and 11th Emmy names, as Kate Winslet’s sardonic mom in the smash mystery. Easttown mare – she and costar Julianne Nicholson, 50, were both nominated for supporting actress – and a nomination for lead comedy actress in Hacks, a delightful intergenerational hit on an aging stand-up comedian who refuses to be washed and her messed up comedy young protégé (Hannah Einbinder, who also got an Emmy nomination – no doubt pleasing her Temple-inducted mother of Academy Television Fame Newman, 69).
Why on earth is Smart’s career more exciting than ever when she’s 70? “I guess that’s the reward for staying the longest!” Smart told AARP. “I don’t feel like I’m better now than when I was 20, but the opportunities that have been presented to me over the past 20 years have certainly become more and more rewarding and stimulating. It’s a great place in my life, compared to what’s going on culturally. I’m not going to question it. “
Just as the growth of streaming is changing the face of television, Hollywood may be starting to recognize that older audiences want to see faces that look like ours.
“That’s the benefit of being an actor,” says Smart. “They still need older actors. You can play up to 100 years old.”
Here are the nominees for the 2021 Emmy Awards: