BEVERLY HILLS — – Richard Farnsworth, a 79-year-old former stuntman, became the oldest actor to get an Academy Award nomination Tuesday, for his role in The Straight Story.
Richard Farnsworth, a 79-year-old former stuntman, became the oldest actor to get an Academy Award nomination today, for his role in The Straight Story.
"It feels a lot better because I'm getting up there in age and might not have a chance again," the actor said in an interview from his longhorn cattle ranch in Lincoln, N.M.
His best actor nomination gives the field a generation gap. Another nominee, 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment, is the third-youngest nominated for supporting actor. Brandon De Wilde was one day younger when he was nominated for a supporting performance in Shane in 1953. Justin Henry, who appeared in Kramer vs. Kramer, was youngest at 8. (Titanic star Gloria Stewart was the oldest actress to get a nomination at 87.)
It was the second nomination for Farnsworth, who was nominated for the 1977 film Comes a Horseman. Henry Fonda had been the oldest leading actor when he was nominated at 76 for his role in On Golden Pond.
The Los Angeles native was a stuntman for more than 30 years who moved into acting, appearing in The Grey Fox, The Natural, Tom Horn, Resurrection, Rhinestone Cowboy and Anne of Green Gables.
If he wins the Oscar, he said, "I've got a good spot for it here."
The actor lives in a small town he calls "Billy the Kidd country." He got up at 4 a.m. and brewed some coffee to watch the Oscar nominations announcement on TV a half-hour later.
"I had to see it," Farnsworth said, and when they called his name, "I let out a war hoop, naturally. I was sweating it out."