The Party's Never Over

I awoke this morning to read in LA Times.com's very cool Ministry of Gossip column that our little Movies for Grownups Awards is one of it's "favorite ceremonies of award season."

And one reason, the "gospel on celebrity and pop culture" reports, is summed up in the words Helen Mirren addressed to the crowd via a video acceptance speech: "There's nothing I love more than getting drunk and getting an award!"

Actually, I don't think anybody got drunk on the very nice wine that flowed in the ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel last night, but Helen's sentiment echoed the let-your-hair-down atmosphere of the evening. There is perhaps no other awards ceremony under the HOLLYWOOD sign that is quite as much fun as the Movies for Grownups, and there is most certainly none with such a delicious current of subversiveness running through it. Here we all are, grownups 50-plus (with a few privileged underaged folks peppered about), knowing full well that outside those doors lurks a world that casts a suspicious, disdainful-at best patronizing-gaze on the 50-and-over crowd. Pressing up against each other in the cocktail reception room, and then shouting to each other from table to table in the great hall itself, the MFG Awards attendees are defiantly united in their unshaking conviction that creativity, like those fine wines being poured, is only nurtured by age. They know from experience what painters, authors, and composers often discover: That with experience comes mastery of their craft. On top of that, these people are supremely glad to see each other (I happened to be chatting with former Mission: Impossible star Peter Lupus when his old colleague Martin Landau came into the room. "It's Marty!" he yelled, and he dashed off, like a kid in a school yard.)

Robert Redford was, of course iconic as he accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award. Sally Field was his adoring tribute-maker. The King's Speech Costars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush displayed a disarming affection, on and off the stage, that makes their Oscar-bound performances seem somehow even more endearing. Rob Riener (Best Intergenerational Film: Flipped) and his dad Carl were too funny to even begin to describe. Helen Mirren, via her prerecorded acceptance speech for Breakthrough Achievement as a kick-butt assassin in RED, was somehow at the same time gracious, regal, and ribald. Phylicia Rashad (Best Supporting Actress for For Colored Girls) was elegant and thoughtful. And even the youngsters who showed up for the 10 th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards Gala in Beverly Hills last night-including 20-something beauties Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn of 127 Hours-brought with them a kind of awe to be in the presence of a guest list that included (take a deep breath): Angela Lansbury, Maria Bello, Lesley Manville (Best Supporting Actress, Another Year), Mimi Rogers (co-producer, Best Buddy Movie, Unstoppable), Charlie's Angels stars Cheryl Ladd and Jaclyn Smith (delivering a poignant dialogue about the seasons of an actress' life), and our co-hosts Dana Delany (serving that role for a second time) and Peter Gallagher.

One indelible moment led to another all evening, but as I think it over, I believe the most touching moment came near the end, as The King's Speech's Best Movie For Grownups award was presented to its screenwriter, 73-year-old David Seidler, a journeyman who, like the subject of his Oscar-nominated script, suffered from a stammer as a child.

"When I was a little sprog," he told the hushed room, "my father would say to me, 'David, you're going to be a late bloomer.' I didn't think he meant quite this late!"

Like all the Movies For Grownups Awards Galas that came before, this one had a special kind of magic to it. And on top of it all, as I sit here typing, I realize that I've somehow ended up with Helen Mirren's trophy sitting here on my desk. Does anyone have her address?

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