Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins and director Lee Daniels are among the winners of AARP’s 20th Movies for Grownups Awards. The awards, which champion films made by and for grownups and this year for the first time include honors in television, will be hosted by TV anchor Hoda Kotb and broadcast on the PBS show Great Performances on March 28 at 8 p.m. (check local listings), as well as on pbs.org/moviesforgrownups and the PBS Video app. Highlights of the two-hour show include Kotb’s interview with Career Achievement recipient George Clooney and virtual speeches by many of the other winners. Click through to learn more.
- PHOTO BY: NATHAN CONGLETON/NBC NEWSThe Host: Hoda KotbThe Movies for Grownups Awards host is most noted as coanchor of NBC’s TODAY, cohost of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, and the author of five best-selling books. But Kotb is also a movie and sitcom buff who knows what she’s talking about when she talks entertainment. Her fave raves include Schitt’s Creek, Sweet Home Alabama, Anchorman, and one romantic comedy above all. “Whenever Love, Actually is on, I will watch it,” she has said. “I don’t care if it’s on the last frame.”
- PHOTO BY: JOHN RUSSO/GETTY IMAGESCareer Achievement: George ClooneyA master actor whose wit and gravitas make him the Cary Grant of our day, he’s also a fast-rising director (The Midnight Sky, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). He personifies aging with grace, and he proves that with smarts and hard work, even extraordinary talent can improve with time. Clooney, who turns 60 this year, is a slam-dunk argument against ageism.We ranked 10 of Clooney’s top movies. See where Out of Sight and the Ocean’s trilogy land.
- PHOTO BY: TAKASHI SEIDA/PARAMOUNT PICTURESBest Picture/Movie for Grownups: The United States vs. Billie HolidayThe film by Lee Daniels, 61, is a biopic with a brain, a social conscience and deep insight into history. It charts Holiday’s rise from ghastly childhood abuse to musical immortality, capturing her irascible spirit, ineffable gift, tragic addiction, and Civil Rights activism — which provoked racist authorities to bring her down.Holiday had more than musical talent. She was a style icon, too.
- PHOTO BY: REGINE DE LAZZARIS AKA GRETA/NETFLIXBest Actress: Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead)The sole survivor among the greatest actresses of classic Hollywood leaps back into the limelight after decades offscreen, in her most prestigious film since she won an Oscar in 1960. She plays a heartwarming Holocaust survivor and caregiver for orphans. How does she feel about having a Top 10 Netflix hit at 86, directed by her son? Says Loren: “I feel 20!”Loren has six life lessons — and they’ll help you live yours.
- PHOTO BY: SEAN GLEASON/SONY PICTURES CLASSICSBest Actor: Anthony Hopkins (The Father)Hopkins portrays a man facing a scarier monster than Hannibal Lecter: Alzheimer’s disease. In the performance of a lifetime — capping his career renaissance in his 80s — he takes you inside a character’s disintegrating mind, conveying his stubborn struggle in a film that’s like a Rubik’s Cube of shifting memories and moments.
- PHOTO BY: GRAHAM BARTHOLOMEW/STX ENTERTAINMENTBest Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian)Foster, a star at 3, an Oscar winner at 26, and so discouraged by Hollywood at 50 that she almost quit acting, bounces back at 58 with a smart, impassioned role as the driven defense attorney for a falsely accused Guantanamo Bay prisoner. She proves that an actor’s grownup years can be a time of triumph and creative joy.Foster says there’s no more competing with her younger self. Cue sigh of relief.
- PHOTO BY: DANIEL POWER/FOCUS FEATURESBest Supporting Actor: Demián Bichir (Land)In a film about learning to cope with unthinkable grief in midlife, Bichir, 57, plays a mountain man who teaches costar (and director) Robin Wright’s character how to hunt, trap, outwit bears, and survive a more terrifying predator — one’s own demons. Playing a man of few words, he conveys an inner volcano of emotion with skill he has honed over decades.Remember when Bichir ran a Grand Hotel in Miami?
- PHOTO BY: NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIXBest Director: Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)Sorkin, 59, breaks out as an A-list director with his second effort (after 2017’s Molly’s Game), about the wildest trial of the 1960s, which illuminates a time of crisis that many grownups remember, and offers lessons for today.Meet the cranky, corrupt judge from the movie, Frank Langella.
- PHOTO BY: NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIXBest Screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)Sorkin pulls off his trickiest writing feat yet, turning a chaotic, complicated real-life case into a clear, well-knit narrative, nimbly juggling multiple characters’ stories and capturing the divisions between revolutionaries who couldn’t agree on lunch, let alone conspiracy.
- PHOTO BY: PATTI PERRET/AMAZON STUDIOSBest Ensemble: One Night in MiamiA dazzling cast takes four icons off their pedestals, rendering them as flesh-and-blood guys whose big ideas changed the world: boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), athlete Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and crooner Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.). They bring 1964 back to life, and dramatize a fascinating debate on the responsibilities of success.Read more about Black history and the people still making it.
- PHOTO BY: JOSH ETHAN JOHNSON/A24Best Intergenerational Film: MinariA Korean American family chasing the American dream on a risky Arkansas farm finds an unlikely savior: a salty, gambling, TV wrestling-fan grandma (Youn Yuh-jung, 73, the South Korean Meryl Streep), who baffles and bonds with her grandkids, favors weird foods and folkways, and demonstrates the immense impact a grandma from the old country can have on a family.
- PHOTO BY: NETFLIXBest Buddy Picture: Da 5 BloodsWith utter conviction, Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Norm Lewis portray 60-something Vietnam vets who return to the scene of their wartime trauma to find the remains (and lost treasure) of their late leader (Chadwick Boseman). They convey their bond and create an ambitious meditation on age, race, colonialism and brotherhood.Money, health and care for self on our veterans page.
- PHOTO BY: MILES CRIST/NETFLIXBest Time Capsule: MankA movie about the fight between Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles over credit for writing Citizen Kane, it’s as meticulous as that masterpiece in its recreation of a past era, depicting the relentless march of time, and how character becomes fate. And its black-and-white look so beautifully echoes Citizen Kane, it would make an ideal double bill.
- PHOTO BY: BLEECKER STREET VIA APBest Grownup Love Story: SupernovaColin Firth and Stanley Tucci movingly portray a longtime couple facing one man’s early-onset dementia on their last vacation, in England’s Lake District. As they take in the spectacular sights and visit relatives touting miracle cures, their lives sink downward to darkness on extended wings, making the most of each moment, exulting in the treasure of each other.Tucci, now also a CNN star, talks about his longtime friendship with Firth.
- PHOTO BY: NETFLIXBest Documentary: A Secret LoveFor most of their seven decades together, Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel had to hide a romance that began in the 1940s, when Donahue was the catcher on the women’s team that inspired A League of Their Own. Now they tell a tale about growing older and more deeply in love.
- PHOTO BY: MAGNOLIA PICTURESBest Foreign Film/Best International Film: Collective (Romania)This scathing documentary about a 2015 Bucharest nightclub fire that killed 64 people, and its aggressive cover-up by ghastly medical and governmental corruption, is a riveting thriller.
- PHOTO BY: COMEDY CENTRALBest Actress (TV): Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)
Half a century after she started out as Gilda Radner’s understudy, O’Hara, who turns 67 this week and was the star of hits like SCTV and Home Alone, is having her best moment yet, starring as a rich eccentric who goes broke and is forced to live in a little town she bought on a lark.
- PHOTO BY: ATSUSHI NISHIJIMA/HBOBest Actor (TV): Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True)In the acting feat of the year, Ruffalo, a 53-year-old triple Oscar nominee best known as The Hulk, portrays identical twins — one struggling to help the other, who’s afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia.Ruffalo says this show took a toll — mentally and physically.
- PHOTO BY: RON BATZDORFF/NBCBest Series: This Is Us (NBC)If it were simply a heartstring-tugging domestic drama, it would be good — but what makes it innovative is its bold flashbacks to four decades in the lives of a complicated, multiracial extended family.This family drama is on our list of TV shows that changed America. See them all here.
- PHOTO BY: CHARLIE GRAY/NETFLIXBest TV Movie/Limited Series: The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)Nobody thought the world was panting for a series about a fictional girl chess prodigy of the 1950s and ‘60s with emotional problems on par with Bobby Fischer’s. But it instantly became Netflix’s No. 1 scripted miniseries, and quenched grownups’ thirst for smart, historical drama.
Tim Appelo covers entertainment and is the film and TV critic for AARP. Previously, he was the entertainment editor at Amazon, video critic at Entertainment Weekly, and a critic and writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, The Village Voice and LA Weekly.