Awards season got a wild shot of adrenaline last night at the New York Film Critics Circle awards when Adam Sandler took the stage to present the Best Director prize to his “Uncut Gems” filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie. Sandler is considered a dark horse to land a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards for his performance in “Uncut Gems,” and his five-minute Safdie brothers NYFCC introduction proved the Oscars would be all the better with Sandman in the building. Sandler, speaking in front of dozens of New York’s most notable film critics, didn’t let reviewers off the hook.
“All you critics, I know what you have said about me over the years,” Sandler said. “It’s fine. I have two words to say to you: You’re mean! But this is about the boys. The Safdie brothers.”
Sandler then launched into an uproarious roast of the Safdie brothers that left even the likes of Bong Joon Ho and Martin Scorsese overwhelmed with laughter. As “Uncut Gems” draws closer to $40 million at the domestic box office and continues to earn prizes throughout awards season (Sandler will be feted with the National Board of Review’s Best Actor prize tonight in New York City), it’s clear no one is having a more exhilarating time on the circuit than Sandler and the Safdies.
“How do you tell the Safdie brothers apart?” Sandler asked the NYFCC audience. “Well, Josh looks like a crazed yeshiva student who could possibly shoot you, and Benny looks like a friendly dentist who could also possibly shoot you.”
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“The more I got to know the Safdies the more I learned they did have some similarities,” Sandler continued. “They are both power film historians and virtuosos that graduated from Boston University and feel most comfortable naked wearing a yarmulke. They both can roll joints so big Bob Marley would go, ‘I can’t smoke all that shit! I have things to do this week.’ And they both enjoy writing and editing movies that make you want to text your therapist and say, ‘I need an appointment right fucking now! Help me! Help me!”
As for what it’s like working with Josh and Benny at once, Sandler compared the experience to having a threesome. “You can’t look like one is giving you more pleasure than the other,” the actor said letting out a laugh.
Sandler has earned several critics group prizes for Best Actor and many have called his “Uncut Gems” performance the crowning achievement of his film career (on par or even better than his work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love”). Before the Safdie brothers came on stage to accept their Best Director prize, Sandler brought his speech back around to the film critics in the room.
“I can’t thank these guys enough for getting critics to say something nice about me for the first time in 30 fucking years,” Sandler said as the NYFCC crowd erupted into applause.
“Uncut Gems” is now playing in theaters nationwide.