EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Costner has been chosen to receive AARP’s Career Achievement Award, which will be presented as part of the organization’s annual Movies For Grownups Awards on February 2 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Costner also has officially joined the Oscar race this year with his powerful racial drama Black Or White, which Relativity Media picked up and will release for a one-week Oscar-qualifying run beginning December 3 ahead of its regular run in late January.
The AARP honor, previously bestowed on the likes of Susan Sarandon, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone among others, is one of many Costner has been receiving of late (he got a similar honor at March’s CinemaCon gathering in Las Vegas) and certainly doesn’t hurt in raising the profile of his late entry into this year’s awards season. The Oscar winning actor, who turns 60 in January, will also grace the cover of the widely distributed AARP Magazine’s Dec/Jan issue. And AARP will also be featuring the film, which co-stars Octavia Spencer, as its Closing Night movie of their 2014 Movies For Grownups Film Showcase fest which opens tonight and plays through Sunday at the Downtown Regal Cinemas. Costner will appear for a Q&A following the November 9 screening of the film, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September and became the subject of much distribution speculation before Relativity Media landed it.
Clearly all of this kind of awards action positions the film as an adult alternative which should also appeal to the Academy, whose average age is right around Costner’s. He won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars in 1991 for Dances With Wolves, a film for which he received his only Best Actor nomination to date. Despite killer competition in the category this year, his galvanizing and surprising turn in Black Or White could be his best shot in years for another bid. Certainly Relativity hopes so.