Last night's New York Film Critics' Circle awards dinner have already made industry headlines for the wrong reasons -- Armond White's regrettable outburst was already covered in this morning's roundup -- which has thus far obscured talk of the awards themselves. Which is doubly unfortunate, since it would appear that there were a number of valuable takeaways from that side of the evening -- and none more so than Harry Belafonte's eloquent address to Steve McQueen.
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Another year, another Armond White controversy. The famously against-the-grain critic routinely gets people's backs up with his reviews, but he's also taken in recent years to making a nuisance of himself at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards, denigrating his colleagues' choices in the presence of the winners themselves. Last night saw his ugliest display yet, as he disrupted Best Director winner Steve McQueen's speech by calling him "an embarrassing doorman and garbage man." McQueen classily ignored him; the NYFCC, of which White is a former chair, should not do the same. A critic's opinions are his to freely express in print; personal public abuse is another matter. [Variety]
While lots of things happen in this episode (Jamie Lee Curtis for the win!), all of them are overshadowed by the never-ending battle between Brandi and Joyce. After the pathetic ending to Lisa's dinner party debacle, I think the win is pretty clearly in Joyce's column. She may be many things, but I don't think Joyce is one to play the victim card, at least not the way Brandi did.
Filmmaker Jane Campion has found herself in the Palme d'Or mix three times at Cannes: for 1989's "Sweetie," 1993's "The Piano" (which one the prize in a tie with Kaige Chen's "Farewell My Concubine") and 2009's "Bright Star." She also won a prize for her short film "An Exercise in Discipline - Peel" in 1982. Suffice it to say, she has a rich history with the fest, and now she adds one more notch on her Croisette belt: she'll be heading up the 2014 edition's jury.
It was a pretty good weekend for Harvey Weinstein and his crop of awards season hopefuls. On Saturday, "August: Osage County" — coming off a dominant showing at the Capri, Hollywood Film Festival in Italy — was recognized at the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala with honors for stars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. The Weinstein Company honcho also held a private little after-soiree that was full of talent not just from his films but others as well.
Sunday night, it was a Kirk Douglas Award presentation for "Lee Daniels' The Butler" star Forest Whitaker in advance of the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (which will feature another accolade in the form of the Montecito Award for, well, Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey). A big boost of visibility for the SAG nominee.
The legendary awards strategist — who recently placed number one on HitFix's inaugural Oscar Power List with ease — has a typically loaded slate of films this year and he's making all the right moves on their behalf. "August," "The Butler," "Fruitvale Station," "Philomena" and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" have all been represented on the circuit (though perhaps the best of them, in my opinion — "Mandela" — has received short shrift). Yet despite SAG and WGA attention, it seems more and more like Weinstein will have his first off year in the Best Picture ranks since finally cutting through with "The Reader" in 2008.
I wrote a lot about this episode here, so this won't be an extremely in-depth recap. After all, we don't want to get too attached to anyone. We start the two-hour episode with 27 hopeful ladies and end with just 17. While kicking ten women to the curb gives Juan Pablo a chance to rid himself of most of the lunatics, amazingly, he leaves some in the mix. Maybe this is his way of keeping things interesting this season, but if the promo at the end of the episode gives any real clues, I think things progress from interesting to "didn't I see this on 'Cops' or maybe 'Dr. Phil' one time?" pretty quickly.