First off Nathaniel at The Film Experience has really done some fancy calculations to create a list of the youngest best Actor nominations. His impressive post can be found here from back in October.
His post addressed the age of Jesse Eisenberg as an impediment to Jesse Eisenberg's opportunity to receive an Oscar nomination for his work in The Social Network as Mark Zuckerberg. It's interesting that when it comes to Actresses being under 30 doesn't seem to hurt at all, in fact in can help.
But of course, it's that paradox of old men and young women that we see in films and the Oscars, and so male actors under 30 have an uphill battle in the award races.
So if Jesse Eisenberg were to be nominated for an Oscar he would clock in (per The Film Experience calculations) the 10th youngest actor nomination ever. Ahead of him would be Jackie Cooper, Mickey Rooney, Mickey Rooney again, John Travolta, James Dean, James Dean again, Ryan Gosling, Orson Wells, and Heath Ledger.
Yet, as the earliest precursors of award season are announced it clearly seems that this age paradigm is a wall that Eisenberg is capable of climbing over. The National Board of Review gave him a big boost with the Best Actor award, as did the Satellite awards with a nomination and today Boston critics also awarded Eisenberg.
The New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards are just around the corner and this critical push for Eisenberg seems like a big possibility.
Jesse Eisenberg's youth seems like something that isn't going to hold him back from at least a nomination...now a win, maybe that's a different conversation.