The Washington Post

Christopher Plummer: Is he really the oldest Oscar winner?

Christopher Plummer, Oscar winner and “naughty boy.” (ROBYN BECK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

After winning the first Academy Award of his long and illustrious career, Christopher Plummer entered the press room and put all of us silly journalists in our place.

The first question came from a reporter who somewhat indelicately asked how Mr. Plummer felt about being the oldest Oscar winner in history.

“I don’t believe that for a second,” said the supporting actor winner for “Beginners.” “I think Charlie Chaplin — wasn’t he 83? It was an honorary Oscar, but an honorary Oscar is an Oscar.”

Actually, let’s fact check that.

Chaplin won an Academy Award in 1973 at the age of 83, but according to one of the handy Academy librarians in the press room, it was a prize for best original score for “Limelight,” not an honorary award. That film was originally released in 1952, but was re-released, with an Oscar-qualifying run, in 1972.

So yes, he was older than Plummer. But the librarian confirmed that, at 82, Plummer is the most senior actor to win an Oscar.

That wasn’t the only thing Plummer had to say. When a reporter sweetly asked what he meant when he thanked his wife for rescuing him, he said: “I’m a naughty boy. I’ve been bad all my life. She puts me in place.”

“What could be clearer?” he added.

Plummer also expressed how “lovely it is to be accepted” by his peers. But he also admitted that he’s starting to lose track of all the awards that are handed out these days.

“There’s so many of them, I can’t keep up with it,” he said. “They’re inventing a new one every day.”

It’s been a long awards season, Mr. Plummer. So we’re right there with you.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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