Armond White has done it again. Our favorite curmudgerous polysyllabarite, formerly of the New York Press, currently of City Arts, attended the New York Film Critics Circle Awards last night (known to FilmDrunk readers as The Bull Moose Moving Picture Society of the 1934 World’s Fair). It was there where, true to form, the pugniloquent thesauramus heckled 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, calling him a “garbage man.”
McQueen had just accepted his prize for “12 Years a Slave,” presented by Harry Belafonte, when the interruption broke out.
As soon as McQueen took the stage, White started shouting from his table at the back of the room. “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man,” White boomed. “F—you. Kiss my ass.”
He’s much more direct in person. In print, Armond would’ve said that “McQueen is a flaccid demagogue whose chiaroscurant rendering of an otherwise ingenuous bildungsroman only burnishes his au-courant obeisance in the face of bellicose orthodoxy; cheapening the great leaps forward made by true artists in such films as Citizen Kane, Mean Streets, and Jack and Jill.”
McQueen either didn’t hear the comments or pretended not to. He thanked the critics group for honoring him with an award previously given to John Ford and Woody Allen, at which point White hissed “pulease.” [Variety]
Beautiful. This of course wasn’t Armond’s first rodeo, having previously shouted “Ethel Waters!” at Viola Davis, told Michael Moore to “drop dead,” called J Hoberman a “jackass,” and told Dame Judi Dench to “kiss my grits.” Okay, I made that last one up, but the rest are true.
This naturally caused a strong reaction among other film critics, reporters, and film people, who already hate Armond White for his contrarian opinions (though yours truly mostly agrees with him about 12 Years a Slave, especially the misery porn part). While it’s true that Armond is kind of an asshole (as incidents like this prove), it’s hard not to appreciate him as the Nick Diaz of film critics. Sure, heckling filmmakers is terrible behavior, but without it, what would we be talking about this morning? Do you know how boring a critics’ association awards show is otherwise? Here’s the rest of Variety’s piece on the New York Film Critic’s Circle Awards:
Other than the interruption, the rest of the ceremony was a breezy, wine-infused affair with most of the winners in attendance at the Edison Ballroom. This wasn’t a coincidence. They were announced beforehand and included Robert Redford for best actor (“All is Lost”), Cate Blanchett for best actress (“Blue Jasmine”), Jared Leto for best supporting actor (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress (“American Hustle”) and “American Hustle” for best film (accepted by director David O. Russell).
Lawrence, who didn’t make the ceremony, sent her co-star Bradley Cooper on her behalf. He read a note from her that joked, “I’m not receiving this for ‘House at the End of the Street,’ so you guys must have missed that one,” in which she referenced her 2012 teen horror flick.
Leto brought his mom as his date, and he promised that he was going to make her cry. “My mom is a shining example of the possibilities in life,” he said. “She was someone who wasn’t born in luxury, someone who wrestled her own dreams into reality … She made a life for herself and in turn made a life for me.”
Blanchett received the best actress award from her “Blue Jasmine” co-star Sally Hawkins. She thanked her longtime agent Hylda Queally. “She not only has the best eyes in the business, but the legs,” Blanchett quipped. “She’s my leg double.”
Redford told a story about how he made a New York stage appearance many years ago in a play he didn’t name, other than to say the production wasn’t good, despite what the director kept telling the cast. After it opened, he read a review that said “what a sorry excuse for an actor he was.” That line drew a big laugh from the crowd.
Armond White can be a contrarian, but to me he’s also a martyr. He sacrifices his credibility and social standing so that on mornings like these, I don’t have to write about Cate Blanchett’s f*cking leg double. And honestly, the last thing we need is more boring, milquetoast film dildos who spout ad copy about some actor being “in top form!” Armond is the only guy ever to make people type the phrase “badboy film critic.” Can you imagine? That’s like being a Badboy Accountant, or a Badboy Asthmatic.
(relevant clip – “Doorman!”)