Introducing the Feb. 5 AARP Movies for Grownups Awards, host Alan Cumming mentioned with pride that he was “the first-ever host of the first-ever telecast of these awards.”
Cumming started the show, which is scheduled for broadcast on PBS Feb. 23, with his rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Old Friends.” He was also the first-ever host to sing the introductions to all the nominated films, which named “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” as best movie for grownups, beating out nominees “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Helen Mirren was honored with the organization’s Career Achievement Award.
Staged by AARP the Magazine at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, the affair honored, according to Cumming, “compelling movies and dynamic performances with appeal to a mature state of mind.” The affair raised money for AARP’s charitable affiliate, dedicated to ending senior poverty.
Although many of the awards recipients joked about their age, Cumming, in his introduction, quickly took note of Saoirse Ronan, 23, and quipped, “There’s a young person in the room.” (Actually, there were others.)
The star-studded shindig saluted awards recipients, including
There to present awards were Ronan, Mark Hamill, Kelly Marie Tran, Ben Mendelsohn, Alfre Woodard, Doug Jones, Willem Dafoe, Blythe Danner, Christopher Rivera, Valeria Cotto and others.
In a special moment during the show, Ken Sturdy, a World War II veteran of the Battle of Dunkirk, stepped up to the podium to receive the Best Time Capsule Movie award for the film “Dunkirk.”
Given the caliber of talent onstage, there was no shortage of insightful, thought-provoking and witty quotes. Here are some of the highlights.
After thanking AARP for his supporting actor award, Jenkins said, “I especially want to thank [fellow Oscar nominee] Sam Rockwell for being too young to win this award.”
Cumming praised “Get Out,” which was named best ensemble film, as “a chilling and hilarious film that is equal parts social commentary and provocative thriller, [which] transcends genres and has become a touchstone for conversations about race.” Then he jokingly added, “If there weren’t already enough reasons to be afraid of meeting your mate’s parents, the performances of this ensemble film will make it even more terrifying.”
In accepting the award, cast member Marcus Henderson looked around and wondered, “Oh, man, is this the AARP Awards or is it going to be like an audition for ‘Get Out 2’?”
The real Molly Bloom portrayed in “Molly’s Game” introduced Sorkin, recalling that when the two met, “Things were pretty bleak. I was broke, I plead guilty to a felony. My reputation was in tatters, and the worst part was it was all my fault.” And his response to her tale? “‘Boy,’” she recalled him saying, “‘I’ve never met someone so down on their luck who gets so full of themselves.’”
For his part, Sorkin recalled an unhappy morning many years ago when Oscar nominees were announced and he wasn’t among them. “‘Aaron,’” he remembered his father saying, “‘how many people in the world do you think woke up this morning with a reasonable expectation that they might get an Oscar?’ That’s when I discovered that, for most people, it’s an honor just to be nominated. In my family, it’s an honor just to be overlooked.” On this night, Sorkin added he not only appreciated the night’s recognition, but also that “I’m standing less than 20 feet away from Helen Mirren.”
Accepting her Career Achievement Award, Mirren talked of her early career, her insecurity and fears that none of her dreams would come true. “In my despair, I went to a palm reader,” she recalled, to learn about her future, but then dropped the plan, preferring to find out for herself what life had in store by just living it.
“Life is surprising,” she said. “That’s what makes it so rich with possibility. If, indeed, it were all truly ever to happen, it wouldn’t be worth living. Just a giant to-do list, waiting to be crossed off. But when something is unknown, why then, anything can happen.”
Before he and Kelly Marie Tran of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” presented the best picture award to the film’s director, Rian Johnson, Hamill said he often gets asked, “When you were making the original ‘Star Wars,’ did you think that 40 years later you’d still be making them?” He then added with a smile, “Thank God there’s a Jedi pension plan.”
He said he’d seen every movie in the best picture category and thinks they all should win. Yet he said he particularly likes the multigenerational aspect of the “Star Wars” franchise. “Children that were fans of the original films are grown now and are sharing them with their children and even their grandchildren,” he said.
Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Best Actress: Annette Bening (“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”)
Best Actor: Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”)
Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)
Best Supporting Actor: Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”)
Best Screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s Game”)
Best Ensemble: “Get Out”
Best Grownup Love Story: “The Greatest Showman”
Best Intergenerational Movie: “The Florida Project”
Best Time Capsule Movie: “Dunkirk”
Best Documentary: “I Am Not Your Negro”
Career Achievement: Helen Mirren