AARP hosted its 15th annual Movies for Grownups Awards on Monday night at the Beverly Wilshire — where it honored the performances of actors, actresses and filmmakers that contributed to older audience-centric productions in the past year.
The awards show was launched in 2002 by editors of AARP the Magazine, who felt that the interests of audiences over age 50 weren’t adequately represented on-screen.
“AARP drew attention to our demographic; they advocated for us,” said AARP committee member and former studio exec Sherry Lansing as she introduced the event. “This event will be like no other. There will be no music to play you off during your acceptance speech. There will be no one waving a baton, telling you to wrap it up,” she joked. “You can take all the time you want, because you have earned it.”
The event’s greatest accolade, the career achievement award, was presented to two-time Oscar winner Michael Douglas for his five-decade contribution to filmmaking.
“We all know what an amazing actor and producer Michael is, but what you might not know is how selfless he is in those roles. He always puts the film’s needs before his own,” said Lansing.
This year’s Movies for Grownups Awards, which were hosted by comedian Kathy Griffin, also recognized Diane Ladd with the best supporting actress award for her role as Jennifer Lawrence’s grandmother in “Joy.” While accepting her award, Ladd — who also narrated the film — used the unrestricted stage time as a platform to discuss the threats that runaway productions pose to the film industry.
“In the old days, when the greats like Tracy and Hepburn and Brando were working, they made 35 movies a week, and now we hardly make 35 a year in our own country. Why is that? Because of runaway productions,” the “Joy” actress explained. “This year, I’m lucky I get to make a picture, but why do I have to make it in New York or Georgia? Not L.A., yet it’s the capital of film. Why can’t I make it here? It’s a darn good question, and I wish everyone would start asking it.”
Ladd also voiced her admiration for “Joy” screenwriter David O. Russell‘s guidance during the recording process of her narration.
“If I went off a little bit disharmonic, he heard me and he guided me,” Ladd said of Russell, who was presented with the best screenwriter award. “David O. Russell, my wonderful director, is one of the hearing compelled.”
The award for best grownup love story went to “5 Flights Up,” which starred Morgan Freeman opposite Diane Keaton, with Freeman accepting the plaudit.
“When you’re an actor who’s been around a few years like I have, there are some roles you just don’t get offered. You don’t get asked to play Batman, you get asked to play his close friend and adviser. You don’t get asked to play the hero secret agent, you play the CIA director. Normally you don’t get cast as a romantic lead in a film, unless you’re Michael Douglas,” Freeman joked, regarding his lead role in “5 Flights Up.”
Bryan Cranston, who was presented with the best actor award for his role in “Trumbo,” expressed his love for storytelling during his acceptance speech.
“Despite the age of the child and all of us in this room who are no longer children, we still want to be told a good story. Some of us, many in this room, have the great fortune of becoming not just the people listening to stories but the ones charged with telling the stories. We are the luckiest people in the world,” said Cranston. “I would love to dedicate this award to anyone and everyone in the world who cannot have their own voice, who, because of their own political ideology or religious beliefs, they are in fear of reprisals and oppression,” he concluded.
The Movies for Grownups best picture award was presented to “Spotlight,” which shared the true story of the Boston Globe journalists who unveiled the longtime molestation scandal and cover-up within the Catholic Church. And Lily Tomlin received the best actress award for her role in comedy-drama “Grandma.”
Additional honorees, presenters and distinguished guests included Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Banks, Jane Fonda, Catherine- Zeta Jones, Ridley Scott, Patricia Clarkson, Bette Midler, Dick Van Dyke, Pete Docter, Nancy Meyers, Phylicia Rashad, Dee Wallace, Wendie Malick, Louis Gossett Jr., Bill Pohlad, Gene Cernan and Ryan Coogler.
Below is the complete list of Movies for Grownups Awards winners:
Best Picture: “Spotlight”
Best Actress: Lily Tomlin, “Grandma”
Best Actor: Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Best Supporting Actress: Diane Ladd, “Joy”
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Best Director: Ridley Scott, “The Martian”
Best Screenwriter: David O. Russell, “Joy”
Best Grownup Love Story: Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman, “5 Flights Up”
Best Comedy: Nancy Meyers, “The Intern”
Best Documentary: “The Last Man on the Moon”
Best Intergenerational Film: “Creed”
Best Buddy Picture: Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley, “Learning to Drive”
Best Time Capsule: “Love & Mercy”
Best Movie for Grownups Who Refuse to Grow Up: Pete Docter, “Inside Out”
Best Foreign Film: “Rams” (Iceland)
Career Achievement: Michael Douglas