Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Ruth Negga, Helen Mirren attend AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards

As host of AARP’s Movies for Grownups Awards on Monday, actress Margo Martindale started out by reminiscing about her longtime love affair with the movies, having seen an assortment of films as a youngster from “The Blob” to “Gone with the Wind.”

Then Martindale, the three-time Emmy Award winner who stars in “Sneaky Pete,” described the characteristics of the evening’s winning films, saying, “They tackle complex human relationships from all angles — family ties, grown-up love, longtime friendship — but most of all, they are incredibly entertaining.”

Staged by AARP at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the 16th annual affair named Denzel Washington as best actor for “Fences”; Annette Bening as best actress for “20th Century Women”; Jeff Bridges as best supporting actor for “Hell or High Water”; and Viola Davis as best supporting actress for “Fences.” Morgan Freeman received an award for career achievement.

Also in the crowd were Ruth Negga, who accepted the best movie for grownups award for “Loving”; Isabelle Huppert, picking up the best foreign language film award for “Elle”; and retired airplane pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who received the readers’ choice award for the film based on his heroics, “Sully.”

Hollywood legends filled the ballroom, yet there were no age requirements for participation, as celebrated presenters included teen actor Lucas Jade Zumann and singer/actor Justin Timberlake, the latter there to introduce producers Brian Grazer and Nigel Sinclair, winners of the best documentary award for “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week.”

“When I was born the Beatles no longer existed,” Timberlake noted, after joking that the audience, largely baby boomers, might be wondering, “What Justin is that?”

If you didn’t happen to attend, here are few more things you missed.

-- Helen Mirren had the honor of introducing Freeman, and while Martindale earlier referred to his roles as God, Mirren spoke instead of the Academy Award winner’s range — to “speak with the voice of a president and also tell us far more than any of us really ever wanted to know about mating habits of penguins.” (Freeman narrated the 2005 documentary, “March of the Penguins.”)

-- Sharon Stone talked of “Elle” director Paul Verhoeven, whose films, she said, “when first seen are often considered wildly controversial, only to be later copies or remade. What is new or shocking often becomes mainstream.”

As evidence, Stone recalled her Golden Globes best actress nomination for “Basic Instinct,” another Verhoeven film. “Thanks,” she said as the audience applauded, “but that’s not what happened.” Back then, she said, “the room burst into laughter.”

-- Sullenberger received a standing ovation as he stepped up to the podium to accept what he called an appropriate award, having recently learned that the “RP” in AARP stands for “real possibilities.” Said the former US Airways captain, “On that frigid January day in 2009, when I was looking through the cockpit windows at the Hudson River, I was thinking, ‘Now there’s a real possibility.’”  

More applause greeted Sullenberger as he concluded, “I’m so fortunate to have spent my entire working lifetime pursuing a profession I love and the profession, fortunately, in which education, knowledge, judgment and experience are valued and are critically important.”

Here’s the list of award winners:

BEST MOVIE FOR GROWNUPS

“Loving” 

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”

BEST BUDDY PICTURE

“Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie”

BEST BREAKTHROUGH ACHIEVEMENT

Robert Mrazek, “The Congressman”

BEST TIME CAPSULE

“Jackie”

BEST GROWNUP LOVE STORY

“The Hollars”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“Elle”

BEST MOVIE FOR GROWNUPS WHO REFUSE TO GROW UP

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

READERS’ CHOICE AWARD

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

Ellen Olivier is founder of SocietyNewsLA.

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