The 78th annual Academy Awards will occur on March 5. An industry event that presumes deities make films can hardly be taken seriously. Nevertheless, there are a few films or performances that may be tabbed as art each year. Therefore, AARP magazine continues to struggle each year to award its Movies for Grown-Ups Award.

Now in its fifth year the coveted La Chaise d'Or Awards, a gold trophy shaped as a lounge chair, honors achievements of filmmakers and actors who made good movies for adults, defined I presume as being above the AARP membership age of 55. The golden age of adult films is considered to be the 1940s when more adult — friendly films were produced in a year than we may hope to see in a decade. I am a film buff, not an expert mind you, but I do have near 2,000 films on tape. Therefore, I have, to save you time and effort, selected the all — time "Top Ten Adult Films" (not x-rated). You may agree or disagree with my choices and I may do the next 10 if I run out of ideas for "Abackus Column." Here they are in reverse order, the first half being the easiest to choose. Note that this article is as long as the Academy Awards and I apologize in advance.

# 10 — Lost Horizon, 1937: Between two world wars there is Shangri La, a place where people live in harmony. Sounds like a wish and a film for today's world. Ronald Coleman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton and Thomas Mitchell travel, due to a plane crash in the Himalayas, to meet Sam Jaffe in Shangri La. Director Frank Capra brings a great novel to film. The statement, "I believe it because I want to believe it," is offset by the question, "is it really utopia?"

# 9 — Psycho, 1960: A son and his aging mom run the Bates Motel. The fact that the son and his mom are the same person and mom is dead is a typical Alfred Hitchcock twist. Alfred is nominated for best director for the umpteenth time without a win, and Janet Leigh is nominated for best supporting actress in a fatally abbreviated performance. Psycho is the first film to instigate more than 10,000 heart attacks among seniors.

# 8 — The Old Man and The Sea, 1958: Having time to fish is part of being a senior and no one does it better on film than Spencer Tracy. Nominated for best actor, it is one of the few times Spencer doesn't get the Oscar for a great performance.

# 7 — American Graffiti , 1973: The best flashback film of all time. Films in the same category such as Summer of '42, Peggy Sue Got Married, or Little Big Man are not in the same class. George Lucas got his first nomination as best director and Candy Clark was nominated for best supporting actress. She would have won any year that Tatum O'Neal was not in Paper Moon. American Graffiti is a truly great film with a fantastic sound track. New actors introduced on film were Wolfman Jack at station XERB, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard beyond Opie, and yes, that was Suzanne Somers in the Ford Thunderbird.

# 6 — The Sunshine Boys, 1975: Walter Matthau is nominated for best actor and George Burns wins the Oscar for best supporting actor as two seniors demonstrate the ease and difficulty of robbing a bank. Later they become Grumpy Old Men and break the bank.

# 5 — Driving Miss Daisy, 1989: Miss Daisy (Jessica Tandy) defies aging with wit and willpower while grudgingly accepting the assistance and wisdom of her driver (Morgan Freeman) and son (Dan Aykroyd). Jessica remains the eldest actress to win the best actress or actor Oscar, while Morgan Freeman was nominated for best actor and Dan Aykroyd for best supporting actor. The film also garnered best screenplay.

# 4 — The African Queen, 1951: Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart depict the worst vacation cruise of all time and still manage to keep the glow of romance alive. Boggie wins best actor while Katherine is nominated for best actress and John Hueston is nominated for best director.

# 3 — Miracle on 34th Street, 1947: A bearded, elderly gentleman tells the truth and no one believes him. Edmund Gwenn earns the most deserved best supporting actor Oscar of all time as the film is nominated for best picture and wins Oscars for best story and best screenplay.

# 2 — On Golden Pond , 1981: Two old fogies straighten out a wayward grandson and confused daughter, and still can "suck face" as Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda prove you're never too old to win best actor Oscars.

# 1 — Cocoon, 1985: A bunch of seniors leave town for a new destination where they plan to remain young and active. Sounds like Fairfield Glade to me. Don Ameche gets an Oscar for best supporting actor for demonstrating that seniors can still break-dance. Ron Howard is recognized as a great director but is not nominated for an Oscar, a malady known as the "Stephen Spielberg Virus."

Kudos, gripes, suggestions? E-mail dfbackus@aol.com.

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