Still, one of the things that make the Movies for Grownups Awards unique is the voters’ knack for discovering a performance or film that, for whatever reasons, stayed under the radar. This year’s Best Actor winner, Oliver Litondo, is virtually unknown to American audiences, yet he gives a truly towering performance in The First Grader, playing an elderly Kenyan man who enrolls in first grade so he can learn to read. A longtime newscaster in his native Kenya, Litondo is flying to Los Angeles specifically to accept his award (Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali and a literacy activist, will present the trophy).
Most critics agree that this year’s Oscar nomination list has at least one glaring omission: Stephen Daldry, director of Best Picture nominee Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The Movies for Grownups Awards will rectify that with this year’s Best Director trophy, presented by Ed Sylvan, chairman and CEO of Sycamore Entertainment, Premiere Sponsor of this year’s Movies for Grownups Awards Gala. Accepting the trophy on Daldry’s behalf will be Max von Sydow, who’s been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the film.
Michael Nouri, one of Hollywood’s busiest actors, including recurring roles on NCIS and Damages, will host the awards program for the second time.