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Movies for Grownups

2014 Movies for Grownups Awards

From space-age thrills to historic shame, we pick the year's best films and performances

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Movies for Grownups Awards

After many screenings and much discussion, we present our 13th annual Movies for Grownups Awards. — Craig Cutler

Best Movie for Grownups: 12 Years a Slave

"There are great movies, and there are important movies," says AARP’s Meg Grant in her review. "'12 Years a Slave' is both." It’s also the Best Movie for Grownups. — Fox Searchlight

Best Movie for Grownups

12 Years a Slave

En español | America had a century or so to make the definitive movie about slavery, but it took the British-born team of director Steve McQueen and star Chiwetel Ejiofor to finally do it. The true story of a free black man sold into slavery in the years before the Civil War manages to crystalize the diabolical combination of savage brutality and condescending paternalism that sustained America's Original Sin. Through sheer artistry, it remains a beautifully realized film.

Watch: '12 Years a Slave' movie trailer

The protagonist in post-recession "Nebraska" is Woody Grant, a 70-something patriarch played by Bruce Dern. — Paramount Pictures

Best Actor

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

We invested in Dern in the 1970s, when his brooding performances in such movies as Coming Home held Brando-class promise for his career. Now, with his turn as a cranky, determined fellow who is convinced he's won a million dollars, Dern, 77, finally pays that 40-year-old dividend.

Watch: 'Nebraska' movie trailer

We Also Loved: Tom HanksCaptain Phillips  | Brad Pitt, World War Z | Robert Redford, All Is Lost | Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels' The Butler

"Judi Dench, already a cinematic treasure," says Bill Newcott, "gives us one more reason to fall in love with her in 'Philomena.'" — The Weinstein Company

Best Actress

Judi Dench, Philomena

She's never less than brilliant, but this time — as a woman seeking the son she was forced to give up — Dame Judi, 79, takes our breath away. Wronged by the world at every turn, her Philomena is fierce, innocent and, it turns out, a better person than we may ever hope to be.

Watch: 'Philomena' movie trailer

We Also Loved: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said | Paulina García, Gloria; | Meryl Streep, August: Osage County | Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Best Supporting Actor Chris Cooper stars in "August: Osage County," with a cast that includes, pictured here, Benedict Cumberbatch. — The Weinstein Company

Best Supporting Actor

Chris Cooper, August: Osage County

As the good-natured but picked-upon husband of a domineering wife (Margo Martindale), Cooper, 62, brings a refreshing breeze of humanity to a cast of characters whose chief family value seems to be an enduring disdain for each other.

We Also Loved: Steve Carell, The Way Way Back | Tony Danza, Don Jon | John Goodman, Inside Llewyn Davis | Bill Nighy, About Time

Oprah Winfrey as Gloria in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" shows, says Meg Grant, that her "acting chops are still firmly intact." — The Weinstein Company

Best Supporting Actress

Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler

Easy to forget that the talk show queen, 59, has already been an Oscar-nominated actress (The Color Purple), but her searing performance as the conflicted wife of a career White House butler (Forest Whitaker) is all the reminder we need.

Watch: 'The Butler' movie trailer

We Also Loved: Allison Janney, The Way Way Back | Margo Martindale, August: Osage County | Julianne Moore, Don Jon | June Squibb, Nebraska

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