Glenn Close said she felt like she was standing on the shoulders of many women — including her mother and two grandmothers. Shirley MacLaine urged AARP to help her continue to understand her “modern maturity,” and director Peter Farrelly said, “Fifty, 95 or 100, we’re all together, we’re one group.”
Those were just a few of the sentiments expressed by winners of AARP’s Movies for Grownups Awards on Monday in Beverly Hills, Calif.
As AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins (above) put it: “We see enormous enthusiasm from the actors and directors about being here. They feel they are doing their best work in their 50-plus years. It’s so exciting.”
As was the show.
Host Martin Short (above) encouraged a relaxed and informal atmosphere with a string of opening jokes and relentless razzing of the cream of Hollywood, many of them favorites for Oscars this month. And audience members responded with such warmth that even when flubs by Short and, later, presenter Kathy Bates forced retakes, they just applauded louder.
Winners Viggo Mortensen, Spike Lee and Glenn Close got standing ovations as they took the stage. Career Achievement winner Shirley MacLaine got two.
Some awardees said they are proof that persistence pays. “I’ve been around 40 years,” said Can You Ever Forgive Me? supporting actor Richard E. Grant (above), a veteran of more than 125 films and shows, “so it’s an out-of-body experience to have all of this attention at this stage of my life. I really thought I’d be like Old Dobbin, put out in the field with a couple of cows.”
“AARP is such a vital audience to the theatrical experience,” said Judi Dench, who won best supporting actress for playing Shakespeare’s wife in All Is True, speaking via satellite from London.
Mahershala Ali (above left) presented his Green Book costar Viggo Mortensen the best actor award, noting that Mortensen’s startling weight gain for the role is nothing compared to “the work we can’t see — he lifted Tony Vallelonga off the page and onto the big screen.”
Michael Douglas embraced his former costar Glenn Close, presenting her with the best actress award for The Wife. “The idea for us to get down to business [in Fatal Attraction] on the sink with the water running — and her getting all wet — was all Glenny’s. It was hot, sexy, passionate and brilliant. She is hot, sexy, passionate and brilliant.” Close — one of several current Oscar front-runners at the AARP event, and on her seventh nomination — said emotionally, “It really means the world to me to get this from Michael.”
“There are perks for growing older,” said Blythe Danner, accepting the best grownup love story award with What They Had costar Robert Forster, because, she said, she’s getting the best roles of her life now (and so is Forster).
Director Rob Marshall (above), accepting the award for best intergenerational film, thanked his Mary Poppins Returns cast, ages 8 to 91. “Dick Van Dyke was 91 when we made this film,” said Marshall. “Everybody thinks we did some crazy CGI, but that was really him up there [dancing on a desk]. And Angela Lansbury was also 91. There’s something about people that age — they’re originals, and there’s no one like them.”
Farrelly, above with his 85-year-old mother, Mariann Farrelly, dedicated his directing award for Green Book to her in the audience. “I never feared aging,” he said. “She plays golf three days a week, she still works as a nurse practitioner, and every night when I call her at 5, she’s going to a cocktail party.”
After AARP’s Jenkins presented the stars of Bohemian Rhapsody (above) with the best ensemble award, Rami Malek, who played front man Freddie Mercury, hailed the power of the singer’s story. “He was very conflicted,” said Malek, “but those conflicts somehow fueled in him a confidence to allow his art to speak for itself and to let us know it’s OK to be exactly who you are.”
See the show
Tune in to PBS Feb.15 to see the 18th annual AARP Movies for Grownups Awards. Filmed at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., host Martin Short is joined by Shirley MacLaine, who accepts a career achievement award, Glenn Close, who accepts best actress for The Wife, and Viggo Mortensen, who accepts best actor for Green Book.
For the second year in a row, the event airs on the network’s Great Performances (9 p.m. ET, check local listings). It then streams through March 31 on pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps.