Kathy Bates Blames Cold Medicine for AARP Awards Snafu

When presenting Shirley MacLaine with the Achievement Career Award at the Movies for Grownups Awards, which will air Friday, the actress veered wildly off-script and needed four takes to nail her lines.
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AARP
Kathy Bates and Shirley MacLaine at AARP The Magazine's 18th Annual Movies for Grownups Awards

Who knows how much of it will air once the producers at PBS get hold of the footage, but AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards — which will be broadcast on PBS on Feb. 15 — got rowdy enough for a Comedy Central roast. When Kathy Bates, 70, took to the stage at the Beverly Wilshire on Feb. 4 to present the night's highest honor, the Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award, to longtime pal Shirley MacLaine, 84, the American Horror Story star veered wildly off script.

“It’s an appropriate night for granny glasses,” joked Bates while putting her pair on. “I can’t hear or see anything.” 

She attempted to fete MacLaine by listing her accomplishments both professional and personal. “Shirley, Shirley, it is my great privilege to be here to present the Lifetime Achievement — Career Achievement,” she said, squinting at the teleprompter, then added, "I can't believe I'm screwing this whole fucking thing up." (She needed four takes to nail her lines.)

The curse words caused the crowd to erupt in laughter — “This is the best,” declared an attendee seated at THR’s table — but Bates, who did manage to compliment MacLaine for her gift-giving skills ("the only person who has ever sent me a cactus on my birthday"), had a simple explanation for the flubbed presentation: "Cold medicine."

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.