Just because you need to be 50+ to be AARP-eligible doesn’t mean the club doesn’t know how to have a good time.
AARP The Magazine’s 13th annual Movies for Grownups awards gala at the Beverly Wilshire Feb. 10 honored outstanding writing, acting and filmmaking with distinct relevance to the 50-plus audience. Host Kathy Griffin stuck to her comedy roots and opened the evening with jokes about how powerful the AARP “club” really is.
“AARP, the new mafia, the new Sopranos,” Griffin joked. “Let me tell you something about the American Association of Real Possibilities, they are not screwing around. They have money, they’re a powerful lobby, they say ‘Jump,’ I say, ‘How high?'”
After Griffin’s opening monologue, which included jokes about KTLA reporter Sam Rubin mistaking Samuel L. Jackson for Laurence Fishburne (“I want to congratulate Lee Daniels for directing “12 Years a Slave”), “Enough Said’s” writer-director Nicole Holofcener accepted the award for best grownup love story and thanked her husband for giving her the power to write a love story.
“I thought I was actually too cynical to write a love story,” Holofcener said. “But then I met (my husband).”
When Naomi Watts presented the best actor award to winner Bruce Dern, she noted the actor’s ability to improve with age. “With age comes wisdom,” Watts said. “The longer an actor acts, the more faith he or she gains in themselves.”
Dern accepted the award to a standing ovation and greeted everyone with “Welcome to the geezers dinner!”
His speech quickly took an emotional turn when he talked about aging and family. “Never ever let them stop dreaming,” Dern implored. “When they say, ‘I don’t want to go to a home, I am home,’ don’t just cast them off because one day they just might give you a smile you haven’t seen in 50 years.”
Judi Dench won best actress for “Philomena” but was unable to attend the gala because she was filming. The real-life Philomena Lee accepted on her behalf.
“When I found out Dame Judi Dench would play little old me, I nearly fell off the chair,” Lee said. “I am so glad she got to tell my story. She has become a true friend.”
Accepted the best movie for grownups award for “12 Years a Slave,” Steve McQueen spoke passionately about how the movie was for everyone. “This picture was never an African-American movie. Never. It was never a white-American movie. Never. It was an American movie.”
Other attendees included Jane Seymour, Morgan Freeman, Diane Lane, Larry King and Melissa McCarthy.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Best Movie for Grownups: “12 Years a Slave”
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Best Actor: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Best Actress: Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Best Supporting Actor: Chris Cooper, “August: Osage County”
Best Supporting Actress: Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
Readers’ Choice Award: “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
Best documentary: “20 Feet from Stardom”
Best Screenwriter: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, “Before Midnight”
Best Buddy Picture: “Last Vegas”
Best Grownup Love Story: “Enough Said”
Best Comedy: “The Way Way Back”
Best Intergenerational Movie: “Nebraska”
Breakthrough Accomplishment: Mary Steenburgen, singing in “Last Vegas”
Lifetime Achievement Award: Susan Sarandon