They say that with age comes wisdom — and for some octogenarians, a date with Oscar.
At the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4 (ABC, 8 ET/5 PT), three venerable nominees have the potential to make history. Film icons James Ivory and Agnès Varda, both 89 and born a week apart, could become the oldest Oscar winners ever if they score in their respective categories: Ivory, vying for best adapted screenplay for gay coming-of-age drama Call Me By Your Name; and Varda, competing in best documentary feature for her heartwarming French travelogue Faces Places.
Christopher Plummer, 88, is already the oldest acting Oscar winner ever, after taking home best supporting actor for dramedy Beginners in 2012 when he was 82. He could extend his streak this year if he upsets in best supporting actor for Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World, which he rescued last fall by replacing Kevin Spacey amid sexual assault allegations. (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri nominee Sam Rockwell is heavily favored to win the category by pundits on awards site Gold Derby).
But it's not only Hollywood vets who might earn spots in the record books come Oscar night. Awards season breakout Timothée Chalamet, 22, could become the youngest best-actor winner ever if he clinches a win for Call Me — besting Adrien Brody, who was 29 when he triumphed in the category for 2002's The Pianist. Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya, who turned 29 on Sunday, would similarly make history if he won best actor. (Brody celebrated his 30th birthday a couple of weeks after his win.)
12 youngest and oldest Oscar winners
Other nominees who could reach new milestones:
- Octavia Spencer, 45, is an Oscar darling, with one award for best supporting actress for 2011's The Help and back-to-back nominations in the category for Hidden Figures and this year's The Shape of Water. She ties Viola Davis as the most nominated black actress in the awards' 90-year history — and if she wins for Shape, she'll become the first African-American woman to win two acting Oscars.
- Jordan Peele, 39, is only the fifth black man to be nominated for best director. (No black women have been nominated in the category.) He joins Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Lee Daniels (Precious) and John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood). If Peele wins for his racial horror movie Get Out, he'll be the first black man to earn the prize.
- Rachel Morrison, 39, whose dizzying camerawork elevates box-office champion Black Panther, already made history as the first woman nominated for best cinematography, for Netflix drama Mudbound. A win would only further cement her trailblazing status behind the camera.
- Mudbound could also have a historic victor in director/co-writer Dee Rees, 41, who is the first black woman to be nominated for best adapted screenplay. She stands a shot at becoming the first African-American woman to win a writing Oscar, 46 years after Suzanne de Passe lost best original screenplay for Lady Sings the Blues.
- Yance Ford is already the first transgender director nominated for an Academy Award, for documentary feature Strong Island. A win would make him the first known trans person to triumph in one of the Oscars' 24 competitive categories (not including software engineer Abigail Brady and visual effects artist Paige Warner, who have been recognized with scientific and technical awards).