No one had to complain about anyone’s misconduct, not sexual anyway, at last night’s New York Film Critics Circle Awards dinner at Tao in the meatpacking. Every honoree, including the great Molly Haskell who picked up the group’s Special Career Achievement Award for her lifetime of serious reviewing, actresses Saoirse Ronan and Tiffany Haddish, and the men, as in Willem Dafoe who was awarded Best Supporting Actor for his motel landlord role in The Florida Project or Timothee Chalamet who got his Best Actor for his star turn in Call Me By Your Name exuded the confidence of a job well done. At 22, Chalamet has three significant roles this season: aside from starring with Armie Hammer in CMBYN, he’s killed off early in Hostiles, and he thanked Greta Gerwig, winner for Best Picture last night, recounting a scene in a bar where someone noticed him, “Hey, isn’t that the douchebag from Lady Bird?” He loved the recognition.
Many film insiders professed not to read reviews, so that could be a point of contention among the roomful of movie mavens. Abel Ferrara who flew in from Rome to present the Best Director award to Sean Baker for The Florida Project, spoke about fake criticism, a funny nod to a prevailing trend. By contrast, Greta Gerwig graciously acknowledged the role of criticism in her life, speaking about her time at Barnard College. Reading reviews aloud with her film nerd pal gave her a new way of seeing movies as art, and enforced her attraction to the form. Critics are gaga over Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, and the performance of her muse, Saoirse Ronan, just in from Scotland by way of Palm Beach for her award, and to see Beanie Feldstein, her film bestie who would have been present if not for the loss of a family member.
Fruit became a potent theme: Chalamet noted his thing for peaches, and Tiffany Haddish’s for grapefruit. (See their movies for this reference.) The Best Supporting Actress for her work in Girls Trip, Haddish stole the show with an extravagant improv that defined every arm on the giant Shiva that is backdrop on Tao’s stage. At night’s end, when well-wishers moved to congratulate her, she was holding court in the ladies room, explaining how she took a potent laxative early in the day to get into her satin sheath. It was now taking effect, the hilarious Haddish apologized profusely to the women.
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