Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them': 'Between Just Enough and a Bit Too Much' 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them': 'Between Just Enough and a Bit Too Much' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix 'The Cobbler' Reviews: 'Makes Me Want to Upgrade Everything I've Ever Seen Half a Star' 'The Cobbler' Reviews: 'Makes Me Want to Upgrade Everything I've Ever Seen Half a Star' 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More Criticwire Classic of the Week: Federico Fellini's '8 1/2' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Federico Fellini's '8 1/2' 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry Did 'Edge of Tomorrow' Just Get a New Title for Home Video? Did 'Edge of Tomorrow' Just Get a New Title for Home Video? 'The Counselor's Extended Cut Is Inspired Madness 'The Counselor's Extended Cut Is Inspired Madness Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More

Armond White Expelled From New York Film Critics' Circle

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire January 13, 2014 at 1:59PM

The three-time chairman was voted out at an "emergency session" after disrupting the organization's awards dinner.
17
Armond

Today, the New York Film Critics Circle voted to expel Armond White, a former three-time chairman, over comments he made at their annual awards dinner. (New York Post critic Lou Lumenick, accused of breaching the Circle's charter by revealing details of their internal voting, was suspended for a year.) As Criticwire reported, there is some confusion over what White said and what was said by his guests, but Vanity Fair blogger Katey Rich saw White yell "White liberal bullshit!" as Steve McQueen stepped onto the stage to receive the NYFCC's award for Best Director, and Slate's Dana Stevens, who was at White's table for much of the night, says he and his guests were consistently loud and disruptive. 

At Entertainment Weekly, NYFCC member Owen Gleiberman, has more:

I’ve known Armond White casually, as a fellow critic, since the early '90s, and seeing him around at screening rooms, movie-industry parties, and, yes, awards dinners, what I’ve always observed about him is that as contentious as he can be on the page, he has always come off as a strikingly friendly person -- not only to me, but even to critics he's bashed. For all his bluster, he's got a hearty, understated demeanor, a twinkle in his eye, and a gentle jolly chuckle. You can talk to him about a film he’s disemboweled on the page (one that you loved), and he’ll say what he thinks, but the words always come out a lot mellower than what he wrote. I suppose that could make the more forceful torrents of his writing look scarily "compartmentalized," but the way I’ve always seen it, Armond cared, to the point of anger, about art, but he was a civil and even gracious person because he recognized that even the people whose work he didn’t respect (filmmakers or critics) were human beings. When he went kamikaze on the page, he was acting like the critic version of a performance artist, transforming his opinions into scalding drama (which is part of what critics do).

Yet this all began to come crashing down at the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner back in 2011, when White was chairman. Emceeing that year's awards, he insulted several of the winners from the podium (introducing Tony Kushner to present the Best Picture award to The Social Network, he said, "Maybe he can explain why it won"), and then, last year, when he was no longer chairman, he heckled from his table in the same way that he did this year (at the time, the object of his wrath was Michael Moore). And now that he has done it again, what’s clear is that Armond White's "contrarian" impulses have crossed the line from being things that he thinks into a depressingly established pattern of reckless uncivil behavior. Ultimately, the two things have nothing to do with each other. White has the right to believe, and say in print, anything he wants. But disrupting a public event is a squalid form of acting out that has no defense.

I'm on record (or at least, on Twitter) saying I thought this was the wrong move, but then I'm not a member of the NYFCC and my personal contact with White has been fleeting. There's no doubt that White's expulsion will further stoke the suspicions of those who think he's being singled out for his views -- for being "the strongest voice in contemporary criticism," as he put it himself -- and not his behavior. But it's possible to agree with, or at least see merit in, some of White's views on 12 Years a Slave and hold that yelling obscenities in public is not the right way to express them. (It doesn't help that White, who has accused Stevens and Vulture's Bilge Ebiri of being "haters" and saying they lack the intellectual fortitude to debate him, took objection to being confronted by McQueen at a Fox Searchlight party in December, telling the BBC, "A more experienced filmmaker understands what the event was about – and it is not about arguing with a journalist.") Although there have been plenty of voices calling, some with rather too much enthusiasm, for White's ouster, it's a sad day for all involved.


E-Mail Updates