Hot Topics: How Boomer Oscar Nominees Got Started
Boomers are well represented in Sunday's Academy Awards competition, proving once again that cinematic virtuosity isn't necessarily a function of youth.
Perhaps the biggest boomer luminary is 61-year-old Jeff Bridges, nominated for best actor for his performance in the Coen brothers' remake of True Grit. Bridges, who previously won Best Actor in 2009 for his performance in Crazy Heart, has developed such cinematic gravitas that we've forgotten how far he's come as an actor over the past four decades.
This entertaining Third Age slide show reminds us that Bridges debuted as a student in a racially tense ghetto high school in an obscure 1970 flop, Halls of Anger. (The New York Times review, while generally panning the flick, praised the performances of Bridges and James A. Watson, Jr., who went on to a long and successful TV career, playing Carl in the TV series Touched By An Angel and other roles.) Bridges' second role, in the critically acclaimed Peter Bogdanovich-directed drama The Last Picture Show, did a lot more for his career. The Third Age pictorial also gives us a look at the now-amusing first roles of boomer nominees Annette Bening, Colin Firth, Melissa Leo and Geoffrey Rush.
Researchers Want to Study Job Flexibility at Your Company: Boston College's Sloan Center on Aging and Work is conducting an ongoing study of companies that provide flexible working arrangements for older employees. The center plans to publish the research next spring in a project titled "Flexibility and the Older Worker." Find out more about the project here.
Green Celebrities Circa 2011: Tonic has this list of 10 environmentally conscious celebs who are making a difference with their eco-activism. Predictably, the list includes the 70-something granddaddy of Hollywood environmentalism, actor-director Robert Redford. But boomers are ably represented by Darryl Hannah (born in 1960), Wendie Malick (born in 1950), and Gloria Reuben (born in 1964). The list, however, overlooks one of the most conspicuous and vociferous green celebrities, actor Ed Begley, Jr. (born in 1949), who is currently starring in an eco-oriented reality show, Living with Ed, on the Planet Green cable channel.
Apple's Fortunes Tied to Boomers? In an interesting blog post on the investment website SeekingAlpha, Adam Gefvert touts the future prospects for consumer electronics giant Apple, despite the nervousness over the health of co-founder and head visionary Steve Jobs. Gefvert makes the case that the Apple's success stems not from the Gen Y users courted in its commercials, but from the brand's strong and enduring appeal to the oldest segment of the boomer generation, now in their 60s. "The iPhone is the perfect opportunity for the baby boomer generation to stay hip and current," he opines. Additionally, he explains the iPad's appeal to older boomers as a way to bridge the generation gap with their grandchildren. "They can be a nice bonding tool for a family of any age," he says.
Comics Pioneer Dies: Dwayne McDuffie, 49, a Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based comics writer, publisher and TV producer credited for bringing racial and ethnic diversity to both print comics and animated TV, died from complications from heart surgery this week. BlackVoices offers this lengthy tribute to McDuffie, whose most famous creation was Static, a mild-mannered black teen who used his secret electromagnetic powers to fight evil. Interestingly, Static's real name -- Virgil Hawkins -- was inspired by the real man whose legal struggle to gain admittance to law school despite his race led to the desegregation of Florida's university system.
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