AARP Movies For Grownups Awards Celebrate Mature Achievements

grandma Movie Movies for Grownups AARP
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Forget tired jokes (pun intended) about arthritic winners too stiff to climb up on stage, or audience members too feeble to help them — the 15th Movies for Grownups Awards show, which will be held Feb. 8 at the Beverly Wilshire, promises to be a star-studded and lively event.

This year’s edition honors Lily Tomlin and Bryan Cranston as lead actress and actor for their work in “Grandma” and “Trumbo,” respectively, with the supporting actress award going to Diane Ladd for “Joy” and the supporting actor to Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies.”

And while the Oscars snubbed Ridley Scott and David O. Russell, Scott will receive the director award, and Russell is the screenwriter winner for “Joy.” Michael Douglas will be presented with the Career Achievement Award.

In a crowded awards season, “our show is unique in honoring the best in films with particular relevance to a 50-plus audience,” says Robert Love, editor in chief of AARP the Magazine. “And we absolutely believe that we’ve made a big difference in bringing Hollywood’s attention to our demographic. We can deliver an audience by putting a movie star on our magazine’s cover, and I believe that we’re also the only mission-driven organization that holds such a high-profile and glamorous event.”

AARP entertainment director Meg Grant says, “I tell people in the industry, it’s our version of the Oscars. We have many of the same categories — the only difference is that the individual actor winners have to be over 50, and the movies have to speak to the 50-plus audience.”

Awards season darling “Spotlight,” which won best picture, “not only has an over-50 director in Tom McCarthy, and some over-50 cast members,” she notes, “but more importantly deals with themes that spoke directly to our audience, who will have remembered when the whole scandal was uncovered by the Boston Globe.” Grant adds that she attended an early screening, “full of older people, where several of them openly wept. It really touched our audience.”

“We absolutely believe that we’ve made a big difference in bringing Hollywood’s attention to our demographic.”

Cranston’s win for his acclaimed turn as blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo similarly benefited “from an older audience who’re far more familiar with him and the story than a younger audience,” Grant says. “Same thing with Mark Rylance in Spielberg’s spy thriller. He’s a fabulous over-50 actor, and then he’s also in a story that our audience largely remembers and are familiar with.”
Hardly surprisingly, mature actors playing their age in relatable, everyday roles also appeal greatly to the AARP audience. “Our audience loves Lily Tomlin — and performances that are intergenerational, like this, where she’s dealing with a younger person,” Grant says. “People 50 and over really relate to that aspect.”

Grant goes on to note that “Joy’s” Diane Ladd — also ignored by other awards ceremonies this year — “was probably our big surprise this year. She also played the grandmother, but she was such an inspiring force in the film, with her message of ‘You can do anything. You should follow your dreams.’ And she was also the movie’s narrator. She was a perfect choice for us.”

As for feting the 78-year-old veteran director Scott for his critical and commercial hit “The Martian,” “it was such a no-brainer for us,” admits Grant. “We loved the film even more than ‘Gravity,’ because Ridley and his whole team were so good with the science of it all. It’s serious and yet funny, and it’s truly an adult film and yet so entertaining for everyone. We wanted to recognize that.”

Additional honors go to Nancy Meyers’ hit “The Intern” starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway for comedy, the Icelandic sibling bonding pic “Rams” for foreign-language film and “The Last Man on the Moon,” a portrait of astronaut Eugene Cernan, for documentary.

Two-time Emmy- and Grammy-winning comedian Kathy Griffin will host the evening for the second time. “She hosted two years ago and she was fantastic — and hosting this show is very tricky,” Grant says. “It’s one thing to have Ricky Gervais poking fun at the HFPA all night, but you don’t want a host making old-people jokes all evening, and Kathy found just the right balance. She was funny, and made jokes about herself and her own age, and she brought her mother, who’s coming again this year. But she was also hugely respectful, kept the show moving along, and was the perfect host.”

Beyond the glamour and laughs, the awards also have a serious side — raising funds for AARP Foundation, the affiliated charity. “We work with over-50s who are low-income and struggling and we try to create and advance solutions by working in the interconnected areas of hunger and housing, income and isolation,” says foundation president Lisa Marsh Ryerson. “There are millions of older people living in poverty, and it’s a stubbornly persistent problem as they’re often invisible in society.”

This marks the third year that the awards have raised such funds, and the initiative is also supported by Chase Card Services and its commitment to donate up to $1.1 million to AARP Foundation in 2016 through a cause-marketing campaign with the AARP Credit Card. Looking ahead, Love predicts that the annual awards will continue to grow “both in importance and in its influence. Don’t forget — the young kids today will all turn 50 one day, and it’s very cool to honor your elders.”

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  1. Trumbo the film, I do not judge the fine actors nor their performance in this make-believe film, but I take exception that there is value or a substantive message learned from untold truth, innuendo and the manipulation of facts by the writer, producers and the director of this film.

    Aside from the political debate, the movie Trumbo misrepresents the avarice conniving men that Trumbo and the King Bros were. Trumbo and the King Bros were all about the money and getting attention to that end.

    Trumbo was not a hero, he was a ruthless grandstander who mislead and toyed with the media about many things and the most important among them, to me, was his plagiarism of my father’s work.

    Trumbo lied about being the original author of the screenplay that the 1956 film, “The Brave One” was based.

    My father, Juan Duval, was the author of the original screenplay which the film “The Brave One” was based and awarded the Oscar for “Best Original Story”. My father died before film production and the King Bros and Trumbo unashamedly took advantage of it.

    Trumbo was a prodigious writer and during the Blacklist period he wrote and rewrote scripts for less money for low-life producers like the King Bros and anyone else who paid him under the table. Frank King’s nephew by marriage, Robert Rich, was the fourth person listed as the author of “the Brave One” (after the King Bros removed the title page of the original script) and was an afterthought and not initially intended to be a front for Trumbo. Per the FBI report, Rich was an office errand boy and bag man who picked up scripts and delivered cash to Trumbo.

    Roman Holiday may be Trumbo’s original story for all I know (and I love the film), but Trumbo was not in Italy during the shooting where much of the script was re-written by Director William Wyler and screenwriter Ian McLellan Hunter. They wrote script on set day to day and the nights before shooting the film, as was Wyler’s method of film making. After Hunter’s death, his son would not return the Oscar (and rightly so) when asked by the Academy so the Academy could then issue the Oscar to Trumbo decades later. In my opinion, the success of the film was due to Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn’s splendid performance of romance against the background of post WWII Italy.

    Proof that Trumbo did not write the original screenplay and plagiarized my father’s screenplay is revealed in Trumbo’s book of letters, “Additional Dialogue”, page 270/271 wherein he explains to the King Bros that he, “ruthlessly cut all extraneous material and scenes, and kept rigidly the simple story of the boy and the bull”. Trumbo cut 50 pages from the original screenplay.

    No matter, it was my father’s original story and not Trumbo’s, which was the category the Oscar was awarded. The Academy should issue a posthumous Oscar to my father, as they did for Trumbo for Roman Holiday.

    If you read the screenplay marked #1 and the redacted letters in Trumbo’s book, “Additional Dialogue, Letters of Dalton Trumbo, 1942-1962” and compare them to the rewritten scripts and un-redacted letters archived at the University of Wisconsin Library, it’s obvious that Trumbo didn’t write the original screenplay, otherwise, why would he criticize and complain to the King Bros in so many letters about the original screenplay.

    “The Brave One” script marked “#1” has 170 pages and is archived in the University of Wisconsin Library along with 5 other scripts. The script marked “#1” is the only script missing the Title page and author’s name.

    Then there is the “first version” (133 pages) and “second version” (119 pages) of the scripts listed “Screenplay by: Arthur J. Henley”.

    The last two scripts are listed “Screenplay by Merrill G. White and Harry S Franklin on the early movie posters and “Original Story by Robert L. Rich” was added to scripts later.

    When the King Bros listed their nephew Robert Rich as author they had no idea that “The Brave One” would be nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Story. At first, Frank King said that there was no such person as Robert Rich and later he said that they bought a 6-page script from a Robert Rich who was away in Germany or Spain.

    Robert Rich (the nephew) did not attend the Oscar awards because he turned informant for the FBI who were watching Trumbo and Rich didn’t want to be publicly humiliated when the truth came out. And Trumbo used the excuse for not being able to produce the original screenplay for The Brave One on his residence being burgled while intimating that it was the FBI who tossed his residence (FBI File Number: 100-1338754; Serial: 1118; Part: 13 of 15). The FBI did in fact toss his residence but had no interest in scripts.

    White and Franklin were editors and acting as fronts for Trumbo before and after “The Brave One” movie. The King Bros did not initially intend that their nephew Robert Rich be a front for Trumbo as White and Franklin were first listed as the screenwriters on the movie posters of The Brave One. It was only after the media played up the no-show at the Oscars that the King Bros and Trumbo saw an opportunity to play the media and sell tickets (per Trumbo’s letters to the King Bros).

    Juan Duval, poet, dancer, choreographer, composer and director of stage and film was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1897. He matriculated from the Monastery at Monserrat and moved to Paris in 1913 where he studied with his uncle M Duval. Juan Duval was renowned as a Classical Spanish and Apache dancer and performed in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain. Juan was fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and English.

    In 1915, Juan Duval was conscripted into the French Army and fought in Tunis and Verdun, where he suffered head wounds and was partially gassed. He came to the US in 1918 and joined the US Army and was then stationed with the 50th Infantry in occupied Germany for two years before immigrating to the US where he directed live theatre and taught dancing and acting at his Studio of Spanish Dancing on Hollywood Blvd across from the Warner Bros Theatre. Juan produced Cave of Sorrow (Play); Lila (Musical Comedy); Spanish Love (Drama); Café Madrid; Spanish Revue; Night In Paris (Drama) and choreographed “One Mad Kiss” (musical) and at least one sword fighting scene with Rudolf Valentino. He directed movies in Mexico and Cuba including the 1935 highest grossing Spanish speaking film, “El Diablo Del Mar” starring Movita (Marlon Brando’s second wife).
    Before former Director of the Academy of Arts and Sciences Bruce Davis retired, he told me that because of the documentation that I provided him, he was inclined to believe that my father wrote the original screenplay which the movie, “The Brave One” was based.

    The Academy gave Trumbo an Oscar for “The Brave One” 20 years after the Oscars and posthumously gave him another Oscar for the Roman Holiday in 2011.

    The Academy of Arts and Sciences should recognize my father’s original story and posthumously awarded him the Oscar for “Best Original Story” for “The Brave One”.

  2. Congratulations to all the winners tonight if the AARP awards. We applaud the charity and AARP’s commitment to mature and human affirming themes. The Bring Hollywood Home Foundation a California 501 C 4 fighting for family friendly human affirming R with a purpose film, new media, music production and post production. Diane Ladd is an advisory board member. BRAVO Diane Ladd her love of her craft and her contributions to the arts and to charities is remarkable.

  3. Tim says:


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