Anthony Hopkins hits the dancefloor at the Oscars after party
Becoming an Oscar winner is a prestigious moment in any actor's career that secures their place in the history books, but now research has shown actors who win an Academy Award are more likely to live longer compared to their fellow nominees and un-nominated co-stars.
In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, there were 2,111 actors from 1929 to 2020 who were nominated for an Oscar or appeared opposite a nominated actor and researchers from the University of Toronto led by Donald Redelmeier based a model of analysis on this figure.
According to the model, actors who have taken home the prestigious prize have a life expectancy of 81.3.
Meanwhile, those who were nominated but didn't win have a shorter life expectancy by nearly five years at 76.4, though un-nominated co-stars are the worst off, coming in at 76.2 years old.
"Academy award-winning actors and actresses show a positive association between success and survival, suggesting the importance of behavioral, psychological, or other modifiable health factors unrelated to poverty," researchers in the study said.
After identifying every one of the 934 nominees from 1929-2020 as part of the methodology, they then identified another cast member who performed in the same film as the nominee, "with closest-possible matching on age and exact matching on gender."
If we take a look at Hollywood legend, 72-year-old Meryl Streep as an example, who was nominated for a leading actress award in 1988 for her performance in Ironweed, the researchers identified the late Margaret Whitton among the different actresses who starred in the film but were not nominated as she shared an age gap of less than a year with Streep.
Out of all of the 2,111 actors who were analysed, 1,122 of them has passed away by July 1 2020 where the average death for winners was 77.1, then 73.7 for nominees, and 73.6 for controls.
An earlier study in 2006 study also showed Oscar winners like Rami Malek (above) have a longer life expectancyPhoto by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Though, researchers did consider the fact that life expectancy has increased since the Oscars began almost a century ago, hence the increased results - 81.6 years for winners, 76.4 for nominees, and co-stars at 76.2.
'The analysis replicated earlier findings from decades ago, showed a larger difference in life-expectancy than originally reported, and suggested the increased survival extends to analyses restricted to winners and nominees," the researchers said.
“‘The increased life-expectancy was greater for individuals winning in recent years, at a younger age, and with multiple wins.”
Although there are no concrete reasons as to why this is the case, the study's researchers have shared their theories as to what contextual factors such as an increased social status after winning may contribute to a longer life.
“Winners tend to eat properly, exercise consistently, sleep regularly, avoid drug misuse, and follow the ideals of a prudent life-style that bring more gains with adherence," they wrote.
While psychological reasons behind Oscar winners living longer were also raised.
"Academy award winners may be able to avoid some stress through more control and less aggravation when encountering an obstacle,' they added.
"The award, in particular, could soften a humiliating rejection or insulting review by preserving peace-of-mind and helping to buffer the hypothalamic-pituitary stress responses."
Oscar winners are more likely live longer according to a new study, which Oscar winners will be glad to hearPhoto by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Researchers hope that the study will assist in our understanding of what improves our life expectancy and believe "major success" could be one of the contributions.
"The findings on longevity observed in our study, of course, do not mean people should take acting lessons to improve their health or awards should be dispensed by clinicians," the conclusion read.
"Instead, the data suggest that major success might contribute to individuals behaving in ways that could potentially mitigate the wear-and-tear that can accumulate over years."
Funnily enough, it's not the first time a study has concluded Oscar winners are likely to live longer, as a 2006 study also came to the same conclusion published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, with their findings showing that winners live four years longer than their colleagues who missed out on the top prize.
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