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AARP’s annual Movies for Grownups Awards are back, live from Los Angeles — and you’re invited! Alan Cumming hosts the star-studded special, which will be broadcast by Great Performances on PBS on Friday, Feb. 17, at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings), on pbs.org/moviesforgrownups and the PBS Video app. Brian Tyree Henry will present the Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award to Jamie Lee Curtis, whose work is bigger and better than ever at age 64.
The many people who scrutinize the Movies for Grownups Awards for clues to who might also get Oscar nominations — historically, not a bad bet — will notice the most-nominated films: The Fabelmans (6 noms), Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Woman King (5 each), and Tár and She Said (4 each).
But every honored title is significant. We spotlight films and shows that feature crucial issues, thoughtful story lines and the most talented grownup filmmakers and actors who speak directly to the 50-plus audience, the crucial demographic supporting the best work in film and TV. Without grownup audiences, art house films, indies and TV that qualifies as art would not survive — and when audiences flocked back to theaters this year, it was grownups who led the charge. Thanks to AARP and its viewers, there’s more to Hollywood than young stars in superhero spandex.
But movies for grownups are thriving, on big and small screens. Here are the ones to watch, the latest nominees for the Movies for Grownups Awards.
The complete list of the annual Movies for Grownups Awards nominees (in alphabetical order):
Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups
It’s a musical extravaganza and a double love story, about Presley and his mistreated missus, Priscilla, but more centrally about his doomed bromance with the shadowy manager who created and arguably destroyed him.
- Everything Everywhere All At Once
The most exuberant multiverse movie ever is also a wildly entertaining family drama about a Chinese immigrant who raids other dimensions and saves the world.
Steven Spielberg fictionalizes his own life story in a touching film about a teen genius obsessed and possessed by movies.
A film with all the volcanic passion and drama of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which its tragically flawed heroine ambitiously conducts.
You’re never too old to feel the need for speed, as proven by this flyboy epic that grownup viewers turned into a blockbuster.
Gladiator’s he-men are pip-squeaks compared to the all-female army defending 19th-century Dahomey against enslavers — and it’s inspired by a true story!
A powerful, loosely fact-based fable about women debating their response to male predators in their religious community, with a stellar cast at the peak of their powers.
Nothing in film history could top his No. 1 CGI blockbuster Avatar — except possibly his even more eye-popping Avatar: The Way of Water.
In Tár, Field’s triumphant return to filmmaking after 16 years, he crafts with absolute control a portrait of a titanic conductor spiraling out of control.
Only a talent as extravagant as Luhrmann could capture the iconic singer’s soul in Elvis.
Bythewood saw Braveheart 100 times, and outdid it with her own movie about heroes routing invaders. Sisterhood was never more powerful onscreen.
The Fabelmans transforms Spielberg’s youth into a coming-of-age tale that’s also a deep story about grownups’ love and sorrow.
At 60, the last true movie star made the biggest smash hit of his career, Top Gun: Maverick.
He gives a daring, difficult, utterly moving performance as an infinitely kind and regretful man at the end of his fraying rope in The Whale.
In A Man Called Otto, Hanks plays a bitter Pittsburgh widower whose grumpiness is cured by colorful neighbors and a cat named Schmagel.
In Living, he gets (at last!) the role of a lifetime — as a man with months to live who makes the most of every moment — and knocks it out of the park.
The comedian proves himself a master of drama as an NBA talent scout in Hustle.
As a self-destructive egomaniac genius in Tár, she has perfect pitch.
She was intense in The Help and How to Get Away With Murder, but more so as the aging, indomitable warrior leader in The Woman King.
In the summer’s feel-good hit Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, she plays a widowed British cleaning lady who fulfills her dream of owning a Dior frock.
She brilliantly plays a widowed teacher with a hopeless love life that gets reignited in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.
She soared at 38 in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and still higher at 60 as a kung-fu champ who’s out of this world in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Best Supporting Actor
He gives gravitas to the role of Dean Baquet, a New York Times editor who championed the reporters who brought down Harvey Weinstein, in She Said.
He’s feckin’ fantastic as the most irritable Irishman on the island in The Banshees of Inisherin.
Who could play Triangle of Sadness’ alcoholic Marxist captain of a luxury ship for plutocrats with more half-mad brio than Harrelson?
With a few minutes of screen time in The Fabelmans, he makes the young hero’s uncle indelible, a font of cranky wisdom about an artist’s life and what it costs his family.
A child star of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he tried for one last role at 51 — and wound up a bigger star than ever as the schlump-turned-hunky husband in Everything Everywhere All at Once.