There were two big movie awards events this week in New York ahead of the Golden Globes, which takes place on Sunday. While there weren’t many surprises — their winners were announced well in advance — the events shared a similar theme, which could be called Movies Can Heal, Especially Now.
The New York Film Critics Circle awards were handed out Tuesday at Tao Downtown, where presenters and winners took the stage in front of the giant statue to several members of the restaurant Goddess Quan Yin. The National Review Commission rewards took place Wednesday night at Cipriani 42nd Street in its Italian Renaissance ballroom. For those keeping score, the events had a few winners in common, including Casey Affleck for Best Actor, Kenneth Lonergan for Best Screenplay (both for “Manchester by the Sea”) and Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) for best director.
At the start of the Critics Circle ceremony, David Edelstein, the evening’s host and New York magazine’s chief film critic, said that while some might scoff at the importance of Hollywood offerings these days, ” this year we have films that will guide us through the heartbreak and confusion that 2016 has brought.
The following evening, presenting Mr Affleck with his award at Cipriani’s, actress Edie Falco said: ‘At times like this, we need performances like Casey’s.’ She added that it would be fine, “because movies like this are on the way.”
Unsurprisingly, the comedians serving as presenters also got in on the act.
Before presenting Ezra Edelman with the best documentary award for “OJ: Made in America” on Tuesday, Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” asked, “Who would have thought that after OJ, Americans would find themselves in a place where they have to deal with the ramifications of a bad decision based on fame and race?
The following night, Mr. Edelman received another award for Best Documentary, this time from Seth Meyers, who noted how civilized it was to announce awards in advance. “It’s very traumatic to hear who won something on the night of,” he said.
But for attendees, perhaps the most delightful comments came from Mr Affleck in his acceptance speech at the Critics Circle awards on Tuesday. Turning the tables, Mr Affleck read excoriating reviews of his work.
– “It seems like every time you see Casey Affleck in a movie’s credits, you can expect a slowed-down, tapping standard B-genre image.”
– “Affleck, while likeable, doesn’t have much variety and resorts to chewing gum to give his character traits.”
– “Affleck’s line-readings would be too mumbled and rude even for the glory days of the 50s method and he might as well be wearing a T-shirt that says ‘Shoot Me’. Luckily, he doesn’t is not in the lead.
Most of the reviews he read came from Mr. Edelstein, Mr. Affleck added. The audience burst into laughter and Mr. Edelstein paled.