At 83, most abuelitas are content posting up in a rocking chair and smiling along as legions of grandchildren tear up the dance floor at family gatherings, but most abuelitas are not Rita Moreno. In fact, not only is the legendary Boricua by way of the Bronx still very much in dancing shape more than 50 years after she picked up an Oscar for her role in West Side Story, but she also happens looks better as an octogenarian than most mortals do after 35. But how does a performer who’s seen everything from an Emmy to a Grammy to an Oscar and a Tony keep herself busy after so many years of activity? By winning every other award in existence, obviously.
You probably remember Moreno’s lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild early last year — if not for the award itself, at least for an epic acceptance speech that found her hitting on Brad Pitt, pelvic thrusting, and breaking into song not once, but twice. In the years prior there was the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) Lifetime Achievement award, the National Medal of the Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and every other award, prize, medal, honor, and recognition imaginable. Except for one, that is.
Since 1978, The Kennedy Center Honors have been among the most prestigious performing arts honors in the United States, and in addition to a star-studded ceremony feature an entire weekend of wining and dining with the top echelons of American politics, including the Secretary of State and the President himself. Intended for individuals who have made an outstanding impact on American culture, past honorees include Fred Astaire, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra, and now they can count Ms. Moreno among their ranks.
Alongside Rita, this years honorees include Mr. Starwars, George Lucas, actress Cicely Tyson, and The Eagles, who unfortunately had to postpone their acceptance due to an emergency surgery. In citing their reasons for nominating Moreno, the Kennedy Center board of trustees cited her “iconic spitfire roles”, which could be just another lazy latina stereotype were in not for the fact that Moreno is actually quite the spitfire.
The Kennedy Center Honors gala was held December 6 and will be broadcast on December 29, 2015 at 9 p.m. on CBS.