So this past Monday, I crashed a party that I was technically not invited to (thus, crashed). Since Splash Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief was away in New York for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, attending the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards Gala fell to me.
And I gladly snuck in. Being just a smidgen over half the age of the invited guests, I was not an intended attendee for the wonderfully classy event, held at the posh Beverly Wilshire Hotel in picturesque Beverly Hills.
However, I was thrilled to be there and absolutely smitten by more than half of the intimately gathered crowd. I say ‘intimate’ and ‘crowd’ because there couldn’t have been more than a couple hundred guests total and I literally brushed elbows with the likes of awe-inspiring stars such as the charming Mr. Peter Gallagher, who hosted the genteel affair alongside the very beautiful Dana Delany.
Also mingling in close proximity to my elbows you might have seen Jane Seymour, Sally Field, Geoffrey Rush, Andy Garcia, Colin Firth, Mimi Rogers, Carl Reiner, and none other than the iconic legend himself, Mr. Robert Redford.
Bob, as his friends apparently call him, was accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award that evening and although I did not actually get to rub elbows with him, I can assure you that I would very much have liked to. Despite his 75 years, or perhaps in tribute to them, I am positive that Mr. Redford most definitely continues to span all imaginable generational gaps. And then some. My mother introduced me to Robert when I was in the seventh grade when she bought me The Way We Were. I cried and swooned intermittently for weeks… more so than most other hormonal preteens in middle school. But that’s neither here nor there. About this awards gala…
To begin, I must say that the event seemed to be organized perfectly. These mature parties know what they’re doing. I walked in, took a moment to convince the ladies at check-in I owned a legal ID that matched the name on the list, was handed a press kit, and immediately ushered into the reception room where I was offered my choice of red or white wine and a napkin for the hors d’oeuvres in waiting. The red carpet was sectioned off on the far side of the room while the guests mingled comfortably around the rest of the room accompanied by the beautiful tinkling of an extremely talented pianist in another corner.
One of my favorite moments of the evening was during this reception period when I was able to look on while Jane Seymour, Jacqueline Bisset, and Frances Fisher stood chattering away altogether like sorority girls before their chapter meeting. Such pristine beauties, completely unmarred by their years but more so crowned by them; these three women I’ve grown up watching and admiring from afar, right in front of me, carrying on like old friends in true ‘girl talk’ style. A true ‘keepsake’ moment I’ll never forget.
And then off we go into the dining room, where the ceremony is to begin. Winners of the ‘Movies for Grownups’ Awards are announced preemptively, so there are no surprises at the gala and everyone’s prepared a speech- which also helped in keeping the whole thing contained in a timely manner. For a complete list of the night’s winners, click here.
As I mentioned, Peter Gallagher and Dana Delany hosted the ceremony, handing off the mike to stars like Geoffrey Rush, Carl Reiner, and Sally Field who helped handle the introductions for the night’s big winners.
Winners like Colin Firth, who won Best Actor for his performance in The King’s Speech, Rob Reiner, director of the Best Intergenerational Film- and the evening’s ‘class clown’ (very funny bit about the elegant but unconventional black satin napkins), and Robert Redford, who was the honored recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Hats off to the minds behind the creation of Bob’s introductory reel consisting of his lifetime’s work thus far- very artfully done.
A few other quick notes on the evening might include the fact that Best Actress Lesley Manville was introduced by Charlie's two remaining Angels, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson; Maria Bello, who introduced Best Screenwriter John Wells, has terrific “Madonna-esque” arms; Andy Garcia used his moment to shine as a platform to thank Redford for his vision that became the revolutionary Sundance Film Festival; Lucy Walker’s date to the Oscars is going to be one of the workers interviewed on her award-winning documentary Waste Land; and did I mention Rob Reiner is FUNNY?
Something that surprised me to hear several times throughout the evening was the fact that it is an especially difficult task for films of such terrific caliber as the ones honored Monday night to receive adequate funding. In an age that lays billions at the feet of the tween and techie fiends, mature films of poignant, real-life substance too often fall to the wayside. These are the films that help impact and inspire us all to reach further towards that intangible ideal that is instrumental in helping us obtain an altruistic society. And we need to think about offering them more substantial support in the future.
Speaking of altruism, the evening ended with Robert Redford taking the stage and graciously accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award after a sincere introduction from the infinitely charming Sally Field. Redford closed the evenings’ events with a humble quote from T.S. Eliot, “ For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.” And what an indelible attempt he has made.
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