After enjoying some time off over the holiday break, this year’s awards contenders got back into the swing of the race this week on the East Coast in a big way. On Monday night, the New York Film Critics Circle bestowed their annual awards to this year’s recipients in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Last night saw the National Board of Review do the same at Cipriani, the cavernous event spot in Midtown.
Awards shows are typically fun to watch for the suspense factor alone. Both the NYFCC and NBR galas are odd staples in awards season because the winners are announced weeks prior to the big event. What that means is more pressure for the winners and presenters to deliver, and in that respect the NBR ceremony was undeniably the liveliest of the two, mostly thanks to the presence of comedians Chris Rock and Jon Stewart (also a NYFCC presenter), who each brought the laughs.
Stewart was introduced by friend J.J. Abrams before accepting the NBR Freedom of Expression Award for “Rosewater,” his directorial debut. “J.J. was kind enough not only to read the script, but kind enough to fly here tonight to present this, and I would not do that for him,” Stewart joked after taking to the stage. “The Daily Show” host then lamented about not being targeted by the Iranian government for making “Rosewater,” like Sony Pictures was by North Korea for “The Interview.”
“I just feel like, man, we were a Jew and a Mexican making a movie about Iran, it’s fucking right there for you,” Stewart said. “I don’t understand why you wouldn’t hack those emails. Box office-wise, I think it would have been a nice thing.”
Shortly after, Rock got up to accept the Spotlight award for writing, directing and starring in the comedy “Top Five.”
“NBR? I thought it was the National Black Review,” he said in his remarks. “I thought I there was going to be nice singing and dancing. I am bored out of my fucking mind.”
After ranting hilariously about how “The Lego Movie” duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took too long in accepting their award for Best Screenplay (“The average age in here is 65! None of these people saw your movie!”), the comedian thanked “Top Five” financiers, Barry Diller and Scott Rudin, in typical Rock fashion.
“Motherfuckers that pay for shit, they’re the most indispensable people in the world,” he said of Diller. While thanking Rudin, who made racially charged comments last month about President Obama in several leaked emails to Sony’s Amy Pascal, Rock stressed that the producer is “not a racist,” just that he “hates everybody. He’s not here right now because he hates all of you.”
Go HERE for the full list of winners.