It’s the only awards show where the screeners are sent out on VHS, according to actor and comedian Martin Short, who took the mic as emcee of AARP The Magazine’s 18th Annual Movies for Grownups Awards.
Short’s jokes were flying fast and furiously as he called out attendees and nominees including Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, Viggo Mortensen and Shirley MacLaine at what he termed the “Olden Globes” in ceremonies held Feb. 4 at the Beverly Wilshire. For the second year, the show will be televised on PBS’s “Great Performances.”
“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry — and there won’t be a dry seat in the house,” he promised.
Adding on to its track record from the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild Awards, ”Green Book” scored the top prize, named the best movie for grownups. The period drama, which has seen some share of controversy, also notched a win for Mortensen as best actor. It was presented to him by co-star Mahershala Ali, who has himself been racking up a number of awards this season.
“We first met two years ago [at the Oscar nominees luncheon] and we immediately connected in a half an hour talk,” Ali said. “As fate would have it, ‘Green Book’ is about an improbable friendship between two men divided by class, race and education. Viggo’s work was a lesson in doing the interior work that gave him heart and purpose in a precise, detailed and nuanced performance.”
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” also took two trophies, beginning with Richard E. Grant’s win as best supporting actor for his role playing Melissa McCarthy’s partner in crime, Jack Hock.
“I worshiped and adored her and campaigned to be part of this, and I’m grateful to her,” the actor said of McCarthy, who was not in attendance. “She’s not old enough,” he said.
Age is exactly the reason these unique awards were conceived around the turn of the 21st century, as AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins reminded the audience.
“These filmmakers and performers challenge stereotypes of aging in all sorts of ways, and we applaud them for that,” she said. “This year, Hollywood went looking for the truth and found it in authentic events in the lives of real people such as jazz pianist Don Shirley and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But whether the 2018 movies were factual, fictionalized or conceived by creative imaginations, this year’s roster of terrific films made us think about how we and our society change with time.”
The filmic relationship between Glenn Close and Michael Douglas is pretty timeless, however tinged with sex and violence — and clearly an attraction that continues to this day, indicated by a roar of approval from the crowd as the Oscar-winning actor was there to present his “Fatal Attraction” co-star with her trophy for her role in “The Wife.”
It is the latest accolade Close has received as she vies for, unbelievably, what would be her first Academy Award.
“Thirty years ago, we had sex on the kitchen sink in ‘Fatal Attraction,’” Douglas said — as if anyone had forgotten. “It was all her idea. It was hot, sexy, passionate and brilliant. That same precision is front and center in ‘The Wife,’ a gifted but overlooked woman left behind.”
Another highlight of the night was the career achievement award presented to Shirley MacLaine by Kathy Bates, who lauded her six decades of remarkable work that began when she was just 19 and landed on a Broadway stage in “The Pajama Game.”
The rest is movie history, including her first part in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Trouble With Harry” and moving on through reams of memorable roles in films including “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Terms of Endearment” and “Steel Magnolias.”
“She displays vulnerability, compassion, humanity — and brilliant intuition,” Bates said.
“Shakespeare was right. Life is a stage,” MacLaine said in her acceptance speech, during which she recalled picking up a copy of Modern Maturity, the precursor publication of AARP’s magazine. “You’re the maker of your own creativity and life and [as you get older] it becomes very comfortable and peaceful.”
Here is the complete list of winners:
- Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups: “Green Book”
- Best Actress: Glenn Close (“The Wife”)
- Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)
- Best Supporting Actress: Judi Dench (“All Is True”)
- Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
- Best Director: Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)
- Best Screenwriter: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
- Best Ensemble: “Bohemian Rhapsody”
- Best Grownup Love Story: “What They Had”
- Best Intergenerational Film: “Mary Poppins Returns”
- Best Foreign Film: “Roma”
- Readers’ Choice: “A Star Is Born”
- Best Time Capsule: “If Beale Street Could Talk”
- Best Documentary: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
- Career Achievement: Shirley MacLaine
(“The 18th Annual Movies for Grownups Awards” airs on PBS’s “Great Performances” Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 8C.)