AARP Movies for Grownups Awards: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Named Best Picture

Top Gun: Maverick was crowned best picture at AARP The Magazine‘s 21st annual Movies for Grownups Awards on Saturday, with Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Baz Luhrmann, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Jeff Bridges also taking home some of the night’s top honors. Jamie Lee Curtis was recognized with the AARP Career Achievement Award, just a few days after receiving her first Oscar nomination for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

With an event once again hosted by Alan Cumming, the Movies for Grownups Awards celebrate projects that resonate with mature viewers while advocating for the 50-plus audience. Cumming, who has hosted the awards show multiple times, opened the night with a musical number in the event’s post-pandemic return, joking, “it’s so nice to be back where we belong: in a fancy ballroom in Beverly Hills.”

Among the night’s biggest awards, Austin Butler was on hand to present best director to Baz Luhrmann, as the filmmaker dedicated the award to Elvis Presley himself and gave a special thanks to the Presley family. Annette Bening presented best supporting actress to her close friend, Women Talking‘s Judith Ivey, and The Fabelmans‘ Gabriel LaBelle presented best supporting actor to his co-star Judd Hirsch, who joked as advice to young actors, “eat well, exercise, don’t take drugs and wait about 60 years to get one of these.”

Midway through the night, Brian Tyree Henry took the stage to introduce Curtis’ Career Achievement Award, recounting how the two first met on a plane then reunited years later and became friends. “I’ve been doing this for a long enough time now, I’m a grownup and I’ve made a lot of films that have delighted a lot of grownups,” Curtis told the Beverly Wilshire crowd, “and for all of those films and for all of the thousands of people behind them, and for all of legions of fans who used their good after-tax dollars to see them, to all of them and all of you in this room, grownup movie lovers, I am grateful for this game of life, because the creativity is the life achievement.”

On the TV side of the awards show, Bridges and Ralph took home best actor and actress, respectively, as Ralph gave one of her famously passionate acceptance speeches, pointing out Warren Littlefield in the audience and teasing “there’s still time, baby,” before moving to Luhrmann to declare, “I’m ready for my closeup.”

“Life has been very, very good to me, and I’m happy to stand here as a grown-ass woman,” Lee continued, teasing that when Quinta Brunson brought her the role on Abbott Elementary, Brunson told her, “You don’t look like your age but we’re going to make you look your age,” and proceeded to thank the hair and makeup department “for doing such a good job.”

Later in the show, Stephanie Hsu took the stage to present best actress to Yeoh, and though Yeoh was not in attendance (she’s currently in London shooting Wicked), she sent a video speech where she discussed how she was drawn to Everything Everywhere All at Once because it was a grownup story. “At 60, I knew what the role of Evelyn Wang meant to me as an actor, but I truly had no idea how anyone, let alone people our age, would relate to it, or if they would like it at all. But you did; you embraced our film and started a conversation across generations.”

The Whale‘s Hong Chau presented best actor to co-star Fraser, who joked he felt weird to be seated at the grownup table as a kid at heart.

“I stand before you as Oscar-nominated,” Fraser said to big applause. “I know life doesn’t begin at 50, but it can renew and reward beyond our wildest dreams. I’m proof of that, as are so many of the people in this room. I also know that if I saw half of this renewal and rewards 20, 25 years ago, I would not have been qualified to operate that equipment. It would have been too much, too soon,” adding, “I’m lucky to be invited among the few who get to do my job, which is the best job in the world.”

Top Gun: Maverick star Glen Powell handed out the final award of the night, best picture to the film’s producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Reflecting on the sequel’s success, he noted, “I am tremendously grateful to the millions of fans of all ages, especially the audience of grownups, who came out of their homes to watch Top Gun: Maverick at a time when many of them had not been to a theater in years.”

“That is the power of movies,” Bruckheimer continued. “They draw people together from all walks of life, all backgrounds, to have a shared experience, to bring some magic into their lives.” He also gave a special shoutout to original Top Gun director Tony Scott, “a visual genius whose imagination continues to inspire all of us.”

AARP The Magazine’s Movies for Grownups Awards will be broadcast nationwide by Great Performances on PBS Feb. 17.

Below is a full list of the AARP winners:

Career Achievement: Jamie Lee Curtis

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 Supporting Actress: Judith Ivey (Women Talking)

Best Supporting Actor: Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans)

Best Director: Baz Luhrmann (Elvis)

Best Screenwriter: Kazuo Ishiguro (Living)

Best Ensemble: She Said

Best Intergenerational: Till

Best Time Capsule: Elvis

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 Actress (TV): Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary)

Best Actor (TV): Jeff Bridges (The Old Man)

Best TV Series: The Old Man

Best TV Movie/Limited Series: Black Bird

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AARP Movies for Grownups Awards: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Named Best Picture

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