And the winner is…enjoying a longer life!
Researchers from the University of Toronto created a model based on 2,111 actors from 1929 to 2020 who were nominated for the prestigious Academy Award or appeared opposite a nominated actor.
According to the data, actors who win an Oscar are more likely to live to about 81, while those who are only nominated — or, gasp, not nominated at all — are likely to live to about 76.
“Academy Award-winning actors and actresses show a positive association between success and survival, suggesting the importance of behavioural, psychological or other modifiable health factors unrelated to poverty,” lead study author Donald Redelmeier reported.
The life expectancy of an Oscar winner has been the subject of debate for more than a decade after a 2006 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that winners do indeed live four years longer than their overlooked counterparts.
An example of the selection process used in the new study was Meryl “Queen of the Oscars” Streep, 72, who starred in and was nominated for the 1987 film “Ironweed.” However, four other female cast members in the same film were not nominated — including the late Margaret Whitton, who died at 67 in 2016.
Of the 2,111 actors studied, 1,122 had died by July 1, 2020. Researchers did acknowledge within the study that life expectancy and living conditions had changed dramatically since the first award ceremony in 1929.
“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,” wrote Redelmeier and co-researcher Sheldon M. Singh.
“‘The increased life-expectancy was greater for individuals winning in recent years, at a younger age, and with multiple wins.”
There is no official reason for the difference in longevity, but the researchers of the study do have several theories.
“Winners tend to eat properly, exercise consistently, sleep regularly, avoid drug misuse, and follow the ideals of a prudent lifestyle that bring more gains with adherence,” the study found.
Other researchers believe that there is a psychological component involved.