Movies For Grownups Awards Gala

Kathy Griffin Hosts Movies for Grownups Awards Gala Honoring Susan Sarandon and Top Films



Calling AARP “the new mafia, the new Sopranos,” event host Kathy Griffin said, “Let me tell you something about the American Association of Real Possibilities. They are not screwing around. They have money. They’re a powerful lobby. They say ‘jump.’ I say ‘How high?’”

Judging from the turnout of star power at the Feb. 10 “Movies for Grownups Awards Gala,” Hollywood agreed with Griffin’s assessment of the organization, and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel drew celebrities in a wide variety of ages. Griffin herself announced her age at 53 and then showed off – with justifiable pride – her super-toned, in-shape body.

Throughout the evening, awards went to films appealing to adult audiences, ending with a special Lifetime Achievement Award for Susan Sarandon.

Naming the affair “the geezer’s dinner,” Bruce Dern accepted the Best Actor award for “Nebraska.” He then advised the audience to treat people aging like his character in the film, as follows…

“Just do two things for them,” Dern said. “Never ever let them stop breathing. And when they say, ‘I don’t want to go to a home. I am home. It’s my home. I live here.’ Don’t just pass them off because one day they just might give you a smile you haven’t seen in 50 years.”

The real Philomena Lee accepted the Best Actress Award for Judi Dench in “Philomena.” Director Steve McQueen won Best Movie for Grownups for “12 Years a Slave.”

Awards went, too, to Best Screenwriters Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater for “Before Midnight;” Best Director Alfonso Cuaron, for “Gravity;” director Jon Turteltaub, for Best Buddy Picture “Last Vegas;” director Nicole Holofcener, for Best Grownup Love Story “Enough Said;” writer/directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, for Best Comedy “The Way Way Back;” actors Dern and Will Forte, for Best Intergenerational Movie “Nebraska;” director Morgan Neville, for Best Documentary “20 Feet From Stardom;” and director Lee Daniels, for Reader’s Choice “The Butler.”

In accepting her award for Breakthrough Accomplishment as a singer in “Last Vegas,” Mary Steenburgen gave a shout-out to her voice coach, Eric Vetro, and her husband Ted Danson in the audience.

An A-list of presenters included Naomi Watts of last year’s “The Impossible,” which, according to the sharp-tongued Griffin “did for beach vacations what ‘Deliverance’ did for river rafting.”

More presenters were Lupita Nyong’o, Winona Ryder, Diane Lane, June Squibb, Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Morgan Freeman, singers Merry Clayton and Tata Vega of the superb documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” “Gravity” producer David Heyman and Evelyn Jackson, a multi-great descendant of the real Solomon Northup, portrayed in “12 Years a Slave.” (Two other Northup descendants I met that night were Rebecca Bicksler and Melissa Howell)

At evening’s end, Melissa McCarthy presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Sarandon, who said she at first thought she was getting the award for playing McCarthy’s grandmother in “Tammy,” but learned the award was for making so many movies for adults. She then added, “not to be confused with adult movies.”

Saradon said was happy to be in the company of previous Life Achievement honorees, naming Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford among them. She said, though, she wouldn’t speak about the creative process as they had done.

“I mean we’re all here negotiating that strange crossroads between commerce and art,” she said. “We’re all experiencing the tyranny of time. We’re trying to get a project up and you’re judged by your past and focused on your future earnings and it’s so fabulous when you can just carve out the present.”

She then said, “When you’re doing something and you manage to have people together who have this amazing magical collaboration… and then you get to the end of this adventure and sometimes if you’re lucky it’s really surprising what’s happened when you walk out together. So I’m very grateful, I’m very lucky now to have officially achieved my lifetime.”

Among others in the audience were Frances Fisher, George Takei, Larry King, Jane Seymour, Michael Nouri and Judy Smith, the inspiration for Olivia Pope of “Scandal.” In ceremonies, Bob Love and Lisa Marsh Ryerson represented AARP, which helps improve the quality of life for people 50 and older. The evening benefited the AARP Foundation.

Top photo: Kathy Griffin, host of the Movies for Grownups Awards Gala stands beside a poster of honoree Susan Sarandon (photo, Vince Bucci, Invision for AARP/ AP Images)

Second photo: Susan Sarandon, left, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Movies for Grownups Awards Gala, with presenter Melissa McCarthy (photo, Vince Bucci, Invision for AARP/ AP Images)

Third photo: From left, Will Forte, June Squibb and Bruce Dern of Best Intergenerational Movie “Nebraska” with host Kathy Griffin at the Movies for Grownups Awards Gala (photo, Vince Bucci, Invision for AARP/ AP Images)

Fourth photo: Presenter Winona Ryder at the Movies for Grownups Awards Gala (photo, Vince Bucci, Invision for AARP/ AP Images)

Fifth photo: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, two of the three recipients (not shown, Richard Linklater) of the Best Screenwriters Award for “Before Midnight” at the Movies for Grownups Awards Gala (photo, Vince Bucci, Invision for AARP/ AP Images)

Sixth photo: From left, Judy Smith, the inspiration for Olivia Pope in “Scandal;” director Lee Daniels of Reader’s Choice award-winner “The Butler;” and Merry Clayton, among singers spotlighted in “20 Feet From Stardom,” winner of the Best Documentary Award at the Movie for Grownups Gala   (photo, Vince Bucci, Invision for AARP/ AP Images)



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Movies for Grownups Awards Gala

Published Feb. 15, 2014 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA