hackman gene 300x214 Where Are the Older Oscar Winners?Wondering why movies continually star the same people over and over?

One reason is that there are plenty of Oscar winners and Hollywood heavyweights who’ve either retired or just made so much money that they don’t care anymore about having a career.

The No. 1 example? Gene Hackman. The two-time Oscar winner (”The French Connection,” “Unforgiven”) last made a movie in 2004’”Welcome to Mooseport.” It was so bad that he simply walked away from the business. Now 79 years old, Hackman makes big bucks doing commercial voiceovers for outfits like Lowe’s.

Runner-up would be Goldie Hawn. The 63-year-old sexy blonde comedienne’who won an Oscar for her first movie, “Cactus Flower,” in 1969’hasn’t made a film since “The Banger Sisters” in 2002.

Goldie’s lack of ambition extends to her life partner, Kurt Russell, who’s only 58. Russell rarely works anymore unless someone comes knocking. He starred in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” in 2007, but altogether has less than one credit a year. He and Hawn are simply very well-fixed at this point.

Warren Beatty can also be added to the list. Never a prolific actor, Beatty last appeared on screen in the famous flop, “Town and Country” some eight years ago. The Oscar-winning director (”Reds”) has always been picky and choosy. He passed on playing the title role in “Kill Bill.”

Robert Redford has slowly joined this club, too. Busy with the Sundance Film Festival and other endeavors, Redford did direct and star in “Lions for Lambs” in 2007. Otherwise, the Oscar winner for “Ordinary People” has only made four films this decade.

Redford’s “The Way We Were” co-star Barbra Streisand works even less, at least in film. She hasn’t made one since “The Mirror Has Two Faces” back in the mid-90s. This decade she’s made just one film, “Meet the Fockers.” She may turn up in its sequel, “Little Fockers.” She concentrates instead on her recording career and touring.

There are plenty of others, too, not just Oscar winners but popular faves: Joe Pesci, for example. His first part since “Lethal Weapon 4″ in 1998 was a small one in “The Good Shepherd” (2006). Otherwise, he’s on the golf course.

And a lot of younger actors’in their late 40s, early 50s’have become more selective. Debra Winger, Matthew Modine, Joan Allen, Kevin Kline, Helen Hunt, and Jeff Bridges all take their painstaking time making solid career choices.

We needn’t worry though. Scads of veterans are working somewhere all the time, from Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Sally Field and Dustin Hoffman to Clint Eastwood (the ultimate overachiever). Meryl Streep (right up there with him) and Robert DeNiro (the Energizer bunny).

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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