Thursday, April 25, 2024

“Top Gun Maverick” Wins AARP GrownUps Award: All the Notes from an Evening for Kids at Heart


Grown-ups abounded at the AARP The Magazine’s 21st Annual Movies for Grownups Awards last night at the Beverly Wilshire.   Alan Cumming adroitly hosted the event, starting it with his cheeky take on “Hello Dolly!” 

The presenters and the winners all touted the advantages, obviously, of being a grown up. 

“Elvis” director Baz Luhrmann quipped, “In a world focused on youth, AARP celebrates experience, and age, I’m not just saying this because I just turned 60.”

Baz went on to thank producer Gail Berman, his wife production designer Catherine Martin and gave a shout out to his DP Mandy Walker, “only one of three women to be nominated for an Oscar as cinematographer in 90 years.’   He spoke lovingly of the Presley family and dedicated the award to Elvis. Baz told me earlier that this recent time of Lisa Marie’s death, has been, ‘sad, intense, like a roller coaster.’ 

Annette Bening gave an award to her longtime pal Judith Ivey for “Women Talking.”  Annette calling her “An actor’s actor.”  Judith thanked her father who is 95 and her mother, who just turned 101.  Judith laughed as she recounted their recent conversation.  “We talk about what we read in the magazine, that our favorite article lately was, “the best way to get up after a fall.” 

“The Fablemans” Gabriel LaBelle gave an award to his co-star Oscar Nominee Judd Hirsch.  Gabriel noted, “I don’t know Judd like most of you know him because I wasn’t alive for most of his career!”  Judd, with the award in his hand, then gave sage advice to aspiring actors. “Eat well, exercise, don’t take drugs and wait for about 60 years and you’ll get one of these!” He poignantly added that ‘the best part of my role?  Uncle Boris gets to leave the film in a taxi!” 

Jamie Lee Curtis was gracious in her speech thanking her longtime agent Rick Kurtzman whom she went to high school and her equally longtime publicist; our favorite Heidi Schaeffer.  Jamie noted that as we grow older ‘we sort of know who we are and what we are about.” 

The luminous Sheryl Lee Ralph accepted her award for her role in “Abbott Elementary” and cut right to the chase.  “Thanks to AARP for shining a light on aging. Hey, I’ll happily stand up here as a grown-assed woman!” 

T Bone Burnett gave an award to his close friend Jeff Bridges.  “Jeff not only an old man, he’s THE old man. He’s is a human being of the highest order.” 

Winner Brendan Fraser noted “It feels a little weird for me to sit at the grown-ups table, cause let’s face it I’m a kid at heart.”  He recounted his past quirky films like “Nut Job” and noted that he’s an Oscar nominee now.  He admitted that if this recognition had happened to him when he was younger, “I wouldn’t have been able to pirate that equipment.” 

Glen Powell gave Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Top Gun” the final award of the night.  Glen rightly said that the film, “saved the movie business.”  After paying tribute to his late partner Don Simpson and the late “Top Gun” director Tony Scott, Bruckheimer noted, that “after four decades, this film came together when everyone seemed to need it the most.” 

The ceremony will air February 17 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS’ Great Performances, the PBS website, and app.

Here is the full winners list:


Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups

Top Gun: Maverick

Best Actress

Michelle Yeoh
Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Actor

Brendan Fraser
The Whale

Best Director

Baz Luhrmann

Best Supporting Actress

Judith Ivey
Women Talking

Best Supporting Actor

Judd Hirsch
The Fabelmans

Best Screenwriter

Kazuo Ishiguro

Best Ensemble

She Said

Best Intergenerational Movie


Best Time Capsule


Best Grownup Love Story

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Best Documentary

Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down

Best Foreign Film

The Quiet Girl (Ireland)


Best TV Series

The Old Man

Best TV Movie/Limited Series

Black Bird

Best Actress

Sheryl Lee Ralph
Abbott Elementary

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges
The Old Man

Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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