Some things just get better with age. That was the mentality in the Beverly Wilshire ballroom on Monday night when Hollywood got together to celebrate its favorite celebrity adults at the AARP annual gala spotlighting films for grown-ups.
Yes, those things made by and starring people 40 and older. They do still exist. We promise. And they generally appear right around Oscar time.
The evening inspired a plethora of self-reflection from the honorees. Many of them got deeply personal.
“I thought, when I was younger, that there was this point in life when you ‘arrived,'” said Annette Bening. “That there is this point in life in which you stop growing and you have figured everything out. But of course now I am beginning to really understand that it is just stages of development; that life just continues to evolve, and you continue to learn and grow if you are given the chance.”
Bening, who earned raves (but no Oscar nomination) for her heartfelt, unforced performance in 20th Century Women, is next starring in Katrina: American Crime Story, from Ryan Murphy.
Denzel Washington got deep about finding his true calling in his second act.
“You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. You can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried it. All they got was robbed,” he stated. “When I turned 60, I looked in the mirror, I said, ‘You know, Denzel, this is not the dress rehearsal. This is life. So it’s not a matter of how much you have, the question is, what are you going to do with what you have?’ I knew in my heart at 60 — I’m 62 now — that I wanted to serve others. It’s always been my desire to see others do well, to serve God, serve my family, and in this case, to serve August Wilson.”
Washington’s Fences co-star Viola Davis dedicated her award to Wilson, the scribe who wrote the play upon which the film is based.
“I think that that’s probably my biggest wish as an actress, that sometimes, as an actor of color, that people just see me — not me as a magical Negro, not me as a social statement, not me as magnificent all the time, just me. Messy, sexual, sometimes not, funny, tragic, joyful. I’ve got a story, and I think it deserves to be told,” she stated.
We couldn’t agree more.