Morgan Freeman Honored With Career Achievement Award at AARP’s Movies for Grownups Awards

Helen Mirren Morgan Freeman
David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

What is a movie for grownups?

“Perhaps it addresses a subject that’s important to us, or characters who are facing issues or involved in situations that are pertinent to 50 and over, or it’s artists who made the film who are 50 and over,” explained Bill Newcott, an entertainment writer and host at AARP Media, who coined the phrase back in 2002. Newcott wanted to highlight films for the AARP Magazine audience, one of the most reliable movie-going demographics. But he soon realized there weren’t enough movies that fit the bill to present to readers on a month-to-month basis so Newcott created the Movies for Grownups Awards –an annual list of films that spoke to its readers.

Since then, the awards have blossomed from an article to a star-studded evening of celebration and gregarious joy. AARP held the 2017 awards, now in its 16th year, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Monday night, attended by Denzel Washington, Helen Mirren, Jeff Bridges, George Takei, Annette Bening, Warren Beatty, June Squibb, Stephen Henderson, and Alfre Woodard among others.

“We’re here to honor movies that change the conversation,” host Margo Martindale said. Earlier, she told Variety she was a bit nervous to host, but judging by the laughter in the audience, the “The Hollars” star had no need to be.

Ticket sale revenue from the event will go to the AARP Foundation to help the very people the night’s honorees are intended to speak to.

“We wanted to figure out how to get Hollywood’s attention that people [over the age of 50] who were actually going to the movies wanted to see people on screen who looked like them,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said on the red carpet. “I can tell you there’s been a real change in the last six or so years of really celebrating people who are 50 and older and not just fringe characters but leading roles in the theater and the movies.”

Career achievement award winner Morgan Freeman was praised by close friend Mirren, who presented his  award. Of all his accomplishments, “I’m most proud of my children,” he said.

“I want to go public with saying I’m in love with Helen Mirren, and I have been for some years now,” Freeman said to laughs after sharing a big kiss on the lips with his “Red” co-star. He graciously accepted the award, saying, “I guess I’m a f—ing grownup now.”

See the full list of winners below:

Best Movie For Grownups


Best Actor

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actress

Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”

Best Supporting Actor

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Best Director

Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Screenwriter

Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Comedy/Musical

“La La Land”

Best Intergenerational Film

“20th Century Women”

Breakthrough Achievement

Robert Mrazek, “The Congressman”

Best Foreign-Language Film

“Elle” (France)

Best Time Capsule


Best Grownup Love Story

Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins, “The Hollars”

Best Documentary

“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years”

Best Movie for Grownups who Refuse to Grow Up

“Kubo and the Two Strings”