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National Board of Review 2010 Gala: Laughs, Sentiment & Wackiness

National Board of Review 2010 Gala: Laughs, Sentiment & Wackiness

At last night’s National Board of Review 2010 Awards Gala dinner, the impending snowpocalypse took center stage from the start.

In her welcoming address, host Meredith Viera promised to keep up the pace to get the guests out before the snow came down. Shortly after, Christian Bale (sporting a beard, long locks and an accent that hovered somewhere between Welsh and Boston Southie) took to the stage to graciously accept Best Supporting Actor for “The Fighter,” then admitted he’d be leaving the dinner early to catch a flight to L.A. before the storm hit.

Inside midtown Manhattan’s Cipriani, Viera did her best to steer a tight ship , but the winners took their time. By the end of the evening, final presenter Stephen Colbert declared, “The first flakes have started falling outside and New York has devolved into a post-apocalyptic cannibal culture.”

Overall, honorees and presenters provided a mix of guffaws, sentiment and wackiness. Breakthrough Performance winner Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) got big laughs when she followed Oliver Platt’s gushy introduction with, “Working with you is like working with a puppy licking my face.” (They’re co-stars in the upcoming “X-Men: Origins.”)

Dianne Wiest presenting the NBR Freedom of Expression Award. Photo by Nigel M. Smith.

In presenting the Special Filmmaking Award to Sofia Coppola for “Somewhere,” a typically acerbic Bill Murray popped a Red Hot into his mouth (“I was told I had two minutes.”), sang praises of Coppola’s partner, Phoenix lead singer Thomas Mars (“He is the only Frenchman who can play rock. Fuck Johnny Hallyday!”) and dryly addressed the Board (“Why do you give Sofia this award? Because you want to encourage her, I think.”)

Jackie Weaver, the Australian Best Supporting Actress winner for “Animal Kingdom,” opted for sincerity in her speech. “New York is a place where I can rely on the kindness of strangers,” she concluded in accepting the award. “Never more so than tonight.”

“Waiting for Superman” director Davis Guggenheim followed suit by paying tribute to two of his doc’s main subjects: Michelle Ree and Geoffrey Canada. “It’s a gift to be in the presence of these incredible heroes,” Guggenheim said. “To give these people that are making changes happen visibility.”

Dianne Wiest, meanwhile, brought the nutty in presenting the NBR Freedom of Expression Award to “Howl” directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman. Decked out in a black leather jacket, and what looked like a chain around her neck, Wiest confessed she became aware of “Howl” author Allen Ginsberg via fan Bob Dylan. “This may not be an appropriate time to tell you this, but all my life I’ve tried to be Bob Dylan,” she said. “Rght now, I’m pretending I’m Bob.” Whatever you say, Dianne.

Click here to view a list of the night’s previously announced winners.

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