Monday was a very busy day for Oscar nominees. Aside from the main event that I covered in detail yesterday, the Oscar Nominees luncheon, a couple of trade sites poached the Academy’s large turnout for nighttime parties offering yet more photo ops. The bigger names usually walk down the carpets at those things, head through the door, grab a piece of pizza and head to the exit. Anything to keep your name out front and your face in front of voters at a crucial time. And since there are lots of nominees who come into town just for the luncheon, their handlers make them available for one last late-night talk show appearance before voting starts.
That’s why you saw Michael Keaton and Jimmy Fallon (who brought his Tonight Show to Hollywood for the week) doing readings of Birdman scripts as submitted by 6-year-olds. And that’s why you saw Marion Cotillard trying to set nervous guest host Sean Hayes at ease on The Late Late Show. And since Eddie Redmayne already has done Fallon — and Kimmel and Seth and possibly every single other show — Focus booked him on Conan for another shot before hitting the red carpet for his new film, Jupiter Ascending.
But that wasn’t all. The indefatigable Redmayne also showed at yet another event Monday: AARP’s Movies For Grownups Awards Gala & Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire. He and co-star Felicity Jones were there to accept Best Picture for Grownups for their film, The Theory Of Everything. After his early-evening appearance at AARP, Redmayne was supposed to catch his plane back to England to start work on The Danish Girl, but shortly after, he came back in the room and told me: “I missed my flight. It was cancelled due to snow.” He ended up staying at the dinner, hosted by John Leguizamo, for the whole night.
“We must end young people’s tyrannical stranglehold on youth. We have to trust-bust their monopolies on acting silly and laughing at poop jokes,” said The Lego Movie‘s Chris Miller and Phil Lord.
In addition to Redmayne and Jones, there was an impressive turnout of potential (make that likely) Oscar winners: Julianne Moore (Best Actress), J.K. Simmons (Supporting Actor), Richard Linklater (Director ), Laura Dern (picking up Screenplay award on behalf of Wild) and Patricia Arquette (who presented to Linklater), and they all got significant speaking time too. Among winning movies in various other categories saluting films with appeal to the over-50 constituency of AARP were Foxcatcher (Actor, Steve Carell in absentia), Chef (Comedy), St. Vincent (Intergenerational Film), Land Ho! (Buddy Picture), My Old Lady (Breakthrough Achievement for 74-year-old debuting director, playwright Israel Horovitz), Love Is Strange (Grown Up Love Story), Keep On Keepin’ On (Documentary) and American Sniper (Readers’ Choice, accepted by its Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jason Hall).
And I have to say, after attending so many of these awards events, this was one of the better ones, thanks to some really great speeches all around. Even famously Oscar-snubbed Lego Movie directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord got their turn in the senior sun here, winning Best Movie For Grownups Who Refuse To Grow Up, and used part of their time for what they called a “political” statement: “We must end young people’s tyrannical stranglehold on youth. We have to trust-bust their monopolies on acting silly and laughing at poop jokes. You cannot allow children to be the robber barons of fun or hold the exclusive rights to wonder. In the words of the AARP-eligible rapper Chuck D, ‘You gotta fight the power,'” they said to big laughs from the appreciative crowd.
Not everyone in the crowd was over 50. In fact, two of the funnier speeches came from a couple of guys on the other end of that scale: 11-year-old Chef co-star Emjay Anthony presented to Jon Favreau, and 11-year-old St. Vincent co-star Jaeden Lieberher accepted for his movie. That’s only 22 years combined. The audience also included a brand-new Dame, Joan Collins, who told me she was so excited to get that honor, which will be formally presented to her by the Queen of England in the spring. Lots of Hollywood veterans also were in the audience, including Jeremy Irons, Jane Seymour and 65-year-old Rick Springfield, who previewed upcoming movies for the seniors including his turn with La Streep in Diablo Cody’s Ricki And The Flash, in which he plays an aging rocker. Streep’s August: Osage County co-star Margo Martindale told me she is sifting through about six really good movie offers now that she has the time since her CBS series, The Millers, was abruptly cancelled in November during only its second year. She was stunned. “I have to say I felt I was hit by a 60-ton truck,” Martindale said.
Two speeches came near the end and knocked it out of the park: Nightcrawler Best Supporting Actress winner Rene Russo and Career Achievement honoree Kevin Costner. (Russo introduced Costner when he accepted his lifetime achievement award at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards last month.) Both former Tin Cup co-stars hit the big 6-0 in the past year — but you would never know it from the fire in their acceptances. Russo was a hoot. “So I am a virgin recipient. I never won anything in my frickin’ life,” she said. “This is my first award ever unless you count my 1999 Best Onscreen Kiss Blockbuster Award.” Russo acknowledged her mother in the crowd, as well as thanking Mr. Campbell, her eighth-grade Spanish teacher, “for navigating me through all those f*cked-up, asshole football players who called me Jolly Green Giant.” In addition to her husband, Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy, she gave big props to her longtime manager john Crosby. “He’s a kick-ass, cigar-smoking, Scotch-drinking, kilt-wearing, hot-as-hell manager for nearly half a century,” she said. “Thank you for making up for my deadbeat dad and holding my hand through every single movie I was sure I wasn’t good enough to do and every tortured phone call with my bullshit excuses on why I couldn’t do it. Thank you for watching over me since I was 17. We actually won something, and it’s beautiful. And it’s a lot better looking than the Golden Globe which needs a face-lift. This means a lot. This is from the coolest generation ever.”
“It’s very hard because you only pay half,” joked Kevin Costner. “It’s a very difficult demographic to get a gross out of.”
As for Costner — who not only stars in Black Or White but also put up his own money to get it made — if there could be a textbook example of how to do one of these speeches, this one would be it. “All these awards winners up here are all doing really good, and I’m still paying for f*cking parts,” said Costner, whose award was presented by his Black Or White co-star Octavia Spencer. “It’s this room that I have a little trouble with, this Movies For Grownups. It’s very hard because you only pay half. It’s a very difficult demographic to get a gross out of. You have to go twice (laughs). Anyone remember how old the Stones were when they wrote the now-famous lyric, ‘What a drag it is getting old’? 21. It’s not how old we are, it’s how young our ideas are. It’s not what time it is, it is what we do with our precious time.” He then delivered a tribute to the rebel spirit of the Boomer generation. “And no, I am not cuckoo. I know One Direction was the most popular band in the country last year, but the third most popular was Tthe Rolling Stones. In fact of 15 of the highest-grossing tours over the past year, half were over 50. … I’m not saying we should go out and build a baseball diamond in the middle of a f*cking cornfield. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying we were the first generation that knew something was broken and we weren’t afraid to take it on. … We still are the Boomers. We aren’t just old dogs looking for one last fight. We still have a chance to stand taller than we ever thought was possible. I think we still have a chance to go out with a bang. There’s still time. I don’t know how much, but there’s still time,” he said to a second standing ovation for his 10-minute speech.
The event was taped for a TV special to air locally on KTLA and likely other Tribune stations around the country.