The 82nd New York Film Critics Circle Awards dinner still managed to be full of surprises, despite the fact that the winners were announced more than a month ago. The ceremony, held at downtown Manhattan’s clubby Tao restaurant on Tuesday night, handed out 13 awards and featured several special guests, including the eight foot-tall Bulgarian folk monster from the film “Toni Erdmann,” who helped introduce director Maren Ade before she received the award for Best Foreign Language Film.
One of the highlights from the evening was Best Actor winner Casey Affleck’s speech, in which he read aloud some of the harshest words ever written about him by New York Magazine critic David Edelstein, also the chairman of the NYFCC and the evening’s host.
“Affleck, though likable, doesn’t have a lot of variety and resorts to chewing gum to give his character through-lines,” the actor said, quoting Edelstein’s review of the heist movie “Triple 9.” “Affleck’s line readings would be too mumbly and mulish even for the glory days of ’50s Method momma’s boys and he might as well be wearing a T-shirt that says ‘Shoot Me.’ Fortunately, he’s not the lead…It’s looking like whenever you see Casey Affleck in a movie’s credits, you can expect a standard, genre B picture — slowed down and tarted up…Mr. Affleck mutters incoherently in a voice pitched too low for even a dog to hear.”
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About Edelstein, Affleck added, “He’s a very charming guy and I agree with all of the kind things he’s said about all these people here. It has made me feel worse about all the things he’s said about me.” Edelstein quipped back that the quotes Affleck read couldn’t possibly have all come Edelstein’s reviews.
Here’s what five of the other artists had to say during the consistently unpredictable show.
“There seems to be some contention about whether [Kenneth Lonergan] made me or I made him. He reminds me of that every single time we’re in negotiations on a movie, but I think it’s settled here tonight who made Kenny Lonergan, and that’s Casey Affleck.”
“Mark Ruffalo is such a hero of mine beyond his great work in movies, for the fact that he’s gone toe-to-toe with the establishment on things like fracking. He seems committed to this notion that oil equals death and water equals life and he’s gone so out of way to promote the presence of the water protectors in North Dakota and even here in New York state.”
“I know I’m not the only person who feels like 2016 was in so many ways so horrific, and yet 2016 gave birth to so many fiercely amazing movies. This has been like a watershed of great films. This is a great year for cinema.”
“I’m here tonight to eat free food and also present the award for best documentary to ‘O.J. Made in America.’ This epic story touches on so many themes: domestic abuse, police brutality, obsession with fame in America, race relations — issues that thankfully no longer plague America.”
“’O.J. Made in America’ has 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 96 percent on Metacritic because 4 percent of people are assholes.”
“I’ll tell you something about [Best Animated Film] ‘Zootopia.’ It’s a far cry from Porky Pig…It’s totally subversive. I’m going to report it immediately to the Trump administration…I thought it was a wonderful effort and I wish I were one of the voices in it. It would have put me a few bucks ahead on my medical.”
“The thing about difficult times is, when the world is in a difficult place, of all the forms of cinema, nothing quite unifies audiences like the music cinema form, and that’s the thing about that form. It can make the soul soar, it can make the heart sing, and it can just unify the world in a moment, where you realize that no matter what’s going on out there, we’re all in it together. We’re all human beings.”
“Damien Chazelle has not only managed to find a language for this time. He’s found his own musical language, and in the two musical films that he’s done, he’s also managed to make it personal. I think that is an incredible achievement and I’m sure that’s why the 82nd award for Best Picture goes to ‘La La Land.’”