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Curtis embraces her status as a grownup
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – On the heels of her first Oscar nomination for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Jamie Lee Curtis was honored Saturday at the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards with a career achievement honor and lauded by her peers for her milestone.
At 64, Curtis is a full- fledged grownup, but she exuded a childlike energy, soaking up every moment of praise.
Jubilantly making her way down the red carpet in a classic black suit with floral embellishments, Curtis posed for photos with her pal Brian Tyree Henry, paused midinterview to say hello to fellow first- time Oscar nominee Brendan Fraser and stopped once more to share a sweet moment with Jeff Bridges as the longtime friends kissed, hugged and quickly caught up before the ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.
It was a night to celebrate standout TV and films that resonate with fans ages 50 and up, but the AARP Awards felt more like a pre- Oscar party as many nominees found themselves under the same roof weeks before the March 12 ceremony.
Here are highlights from the night:
Curtis marks ‘ huge’ week receiving first Oscar nomination for ‘ Everything Everywhere All at Once’
“It’s been a big ( expletive) week,” Curtis said on the red carpet about her Oscar nomination. “It will never sink in.”
“Everything Everywhere” scored 11 Oscar nods, including best picture. Star Michelle Yeoh ( who missed the AARP event while filming “Wicked” in London) is a first- time best actress nominee, and Curtis and Stephanie Hsu earned their first nominations for supporting actress.
On Saturday, Curtis celebrated “Everything Everywhere” as a film about “the forgotten people of the world.”
“I love that we made a movie about the immigrant experience in truth, not in a fantasy, and that it shows the very challenging aspects of being an immigrant,” she told USA TODAY.
The film’s themes of love and community spoke to Curtis. “It’s a movie about reconciliation and that through failure, ultimately, we just need love,” she said. “That kindness and love are all any of us need, and the rest is not important.“
Host Alan Cumming, Brian Tyree Henry sing Curtis’ praises
“I’m saying such good stuff about you right now,” Lisa Ann Walter (“Abbott Elementary”) told Curtis on the red carpet as “Black Bird” actor Paul Walter Hauser got down on one knee and bestowed the stunned icon with a Smashburger.
“I love you, and I feed the people I love,” Hauser told Curtis before the two shared a hug.
Before taking the stage to accept her award, Curtis pounded the table with excitement as Henry introduced her, then bolted out of her seat and ran up the stairs.
“For the most part, I really like being a grown- up,” she said during her speech. “I love that we sort of know who we are and what we’re about and what we like and what we don’t like, and that has given me the greatest confidence. I love that we know that we’re here for something more than shiny things and Instagram likes. I love that we know and recognize that it’s our responsibility to do our part before we die to simply make the world better.”
On the carpet, host Alan Cumming said Curtis is “so admirable” because she’s fought against Hollywood’s beauty standards and embraced aging.
“She’s been very open about that, and that makes her more authentic as a person and as a performer,” Cumming said. “We’re loving the fact that she’s a grown- up woman.“
Sheryl Lee Ralph on the beauty of aging: ‘ I respect it’
“Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph, who won best TV actress, spoke to USA TODAY about embracing aging.
“This is my natural face,” she said. “It’s not pulled, it’s not tucked, it’s not filled or anything and it’s my 60- yearold face. My body is still my body, it’s still me.
“And the way I’m aging, is it different? Absolutely, but I respect it.”
She said she thinks about friends who died young. “I wish they had gotten the chance to live, to grow older, to be a grown- up. But they didn’t. So don’t turn your nose up on growing older because not everybody gets to do it.”
Austin Butler arrives fashionably late, Baz Luhrmann dedicates award to Elvis Presley
As arrivals dwindled, “Elvis” star Austin Butler made a fashionably late appearance. Cue the red- carpet chaos. The star didn’t stop for interviews but waved at the flashing cameras before making his way inside to award best director to Luhrmann.
“His intent is to create art for audiences of all ages to enjoy together,” Butler said in his touching introduction. “The stories are specific, and his messages are universal.”
Luhrmann called Butler a “miracle” who “humanized Elvis” by bringing “his interior life, his spiritual life and his sensitivity” to the movie’s forefront.
“I’d like to dedicate this award to Mr. Elvis Presley,” the director concluded.
Fraser, ‘ Top Gun: Maverick’ star Glen Powell celebrate
Hong Chau, Oscar- nominated for “The Whale,” presented Fraser with best actor.
“Tonight I stand before you as an Oscar nominee,” said Fraser, 54, to a roar of applause and a standing ovation. “I know life doesn’t begin at 50 but it can renew and reward beyond our wildest dreams. I’m proof of that, as are so many of the people in this room.”
Glen Powell awarded producer Jerry Bruckheimer with best picture for “Top Gun: Maverick.” As Fraser made his way back to his seat with girlfriend Jeanne Moore, he crossed paths with Powell and Bruckheimer on their way backstage to take photos. The three congratulated one another on their honors.
Judd Hirsch, 87, who won supporting actor for his role in “The Fabelmans,” joked that director Steven Spielberg said there were “no aliens on dinosaurs in this movie. Well, he was wrong – I am one of both of these things.”
AARP Movies for Grownups Awards air on Feb. 17 on PBS.