Despite being in the final stage of an annoying cold, I was ready for some time away from my apartment on Sunday night, so I headed around the corner to The Supper Club on 47th St. for the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner (big surprise, this year it was an awards dessert...)
Moments after arriving, it was great to run into a friendly face, namely "Capote" director Bennett Miller, back this year to introduce best doc winner Amy Berg ("Deliver Us From Evil"). Bennett won the best first film prize from the NY critics last year and is busy popping back and forth between NY and LA, putting together a few new film projects. He also offered me a few tips on turning 40 (luckily, I still have another 22 months before that happens)... eventually we cornered this year's best first film recipient Ryan Fleck, pulling him away from his conversation with ThinkFilm's Mark Urman and NY Times critic A.O. "Tony" Scott... [check out Fleck receiving his prize from "Half Nelson" star Ryan Gosling in a clip I posted on YouTube last night]
On Sunday night, with or without dinner, stars and filmmakers were more than happy to mix and mingle with journalists, since Oscar nominations ballots aren't due for another few days and everyone is anxious for a bit of last minute attention...publicists were everywhere to grease the wheels and as one noted, there were probably more publicists than critics on hand.Upstairs at the press table, I sat with Stu "The Reeler" VanAirsdale and praised him for his recent "All Positive Edition" of the "Screening Gotham" column, reacting to my own blog post about negativity. We reassured each other that there aren't (and never were) any hard feelings and later "The Reeler" made his way over to chat up David "The Bagger" Carr from the NY Times, the subject of his first blog post way back in June of '05. Critics are often loved and loathed, sometimes rebuked for being too elitist and often criticized for being too populist. As event chair Marshall Fine noted, "We may be part of a dying breed, but we are not dead yet." And so, without a meal to get in the way, the evening moved quickly from award to award (thankfully, since by the end I was frankly starving...). Stu summed up the ceremony with a lengthy post on "The Reeler" today (while The Bagger had some words to share as well), and we have a couple of images on iPOP now... A few personal highlights: "Dreamgirls" star Jennifer Hudson was a treat, semi-dissing "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell (this morning on The View, she repeated her line that if she can make it in NY, she doesn't care what Simon says)... Robin Williams is still as zany as ever, riffing on gay penguins and rehab while presenting the Best Animation award for "Happy Feet" to himself... Jarmusch presenting the best actor award to Forest Whitaker was a treat... Jackie Earle Haley may have overwhelmed some with his lengthy, personal (sometimes rambling) acceptance speech for best supporting actor in "Little Children," but it was the most authentic and moving speech of the night... equally hard to follow at times was Martin Scorsese, accepting his prize for best director for "The Departed," but no matter, he offered numerous insights and filmic references (past and present), some of which I captured in another video clip that I popped onto YouTube last night.