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Movies for Grownups Awards 2004

A sexy woman over 50? A midlife crisis with no convertible?

Best Actress
Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give

It's not billed as a superhero flick, but in Something's Gotta Give Diane Keaton accomplishes the impossible: in the most disarming turn by any actress this year, she swoops down and steals a movie from Jack Nicholson.

Her unearthly powers: the same wrinkle-nosed smile that devastated Woody Allen in Annie Hall; the comedic timing that made her a perfect foil for Steve Martin in Father of the Bride; the fresh-faced sexuality that proved her undoing in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. As Keaton draws from the well of characters that have enriched her career, poor Jack is putty in her hands. And, frankly, he seems to like it.

Don't dismiss Keaton as a comic lightweight, however. She also produced 2003's gut-wrenching Columbine-inspired movie Elephant. And there was even a semiserious notion behind her brief—and hilarious—nude scene. As she told director Nancy Meyers, "Somebody my age has to be naked in a movie!"

Runners-up: Geraldine McEwan as the scariest nun ever in The Magdalene Sisters; Helen Mirren as the unsheathed leader of the Calendar Girls; Catherine O'Hara as a contented superstar folksinger-turned-housewife in A Mighty Wind.

Best Documentary
Concert for George
, Directed by David Leland

A year after George Harrison's death, a few thousand friends—including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton—filled Royal Albert Hall with music, laughter, and tears. One of the year's most life-affirming movies.

Runners-up: Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary (chilling interview with the woman who took the führer's dictation); The Fog of War (Robert McNamara, against footage of Vietnam, looks at the camera and says, "We were wrong").

Breakaway Performance (50 and Over)
Eugene Levy, A Mighty Wind

Who'da thunk that Levy—whose characters on TV and in some 40 movies served as poster boys for the clueless unhip—would turn in this nuanced performance as an emotionally damaged folk singer? Oh, but don't get us wrong—he's as funny as ever, too.

Runners-up: Michael Caine for his twanging South Texas good ol' boy in Secondhand Lions; Kurt Russell for his sullen turn as an all-but-irredeemable cop in Dark Blue.

Best Foreign Film
Nowhere in Africa
(Germany), Directed by Caroline Link

Yes, we know it won an Oscar last year—but it didn't turn up in theaters until last spring. So now, go rent this visually stunning, emotionally draining story of a Jewish family that flees 1938 Germany and settles on a farm in Kenya—only to find they can't escape the tragedy that swallowed up those they left behind.

Runners-up: Autumn Spring, Czech Republic (an old man refuses to take life seriously); The Barbarian Invasions, Canada (a dying man's family and lovers say goodbye); Russian Ark, Russia (a drama in one continuous shot).

Best Movie for Grownups Who Refuse to Grow Up
School of Rock
, Directed by Richard Linklater

If only we could all share our passions with the unbridled fervor of Jack Black, who in this comedy stops just short of speaking in tongues as he preaches his frenetic gospel of rock 'n' roll. Playing a washout rocker-turned-schoolteacher, he electrifies a classroom of nerdy kids—and us, as well.

Runners-up: Finding Nemo, a warm-blooded fish story; Kill Bill: Vol. 1, stylish mayhem with no social significance in sight.

Best Movie Time Capsule
Down With Love
, Set Decoration by Don Diers

The pink business suits! The vast apartments with spindly "modern" furniture! The kooky beatniks! This is the 1960s we remember—not from real life, but from those Rock Hudson/Doris Day comedies. "It was determined early," says Diers, "that the design would become a distinct character in the film."

Runners-up: A Mighty Wind, for its dead-on evocation of '60s folk-rock culture; Seabiscuit, for capturing not only the look of Depression-era America, but also the country's desperate craving for hope.

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