Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jill Krementz covers the New York Film Critics Awards

Brad Pitt (Best Actor: Moneyball and The Tree of Life) with Meryl Streep (Best Actress: The Iron Lady).
77th Annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards
January 9, 2012
Crimson, Broadway at 21st Street

The New York Film Critics Circle Awards is always fun and very often the precursor of Oscar gold. The awards are voted on by about thirty of New York's film critics. This year's Chairman was John Anderson, who writes for Variety and Newsday.

Among the many awards: Meryl Streep was named best actress for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, and Brad Pitt, best actor, for Moneyball and The Tree of Life. Winning for best supporting roles: Jessica Chastain in The Help, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life, and Albert Brooks in Drive.

The Artist, an almost completely silent film in black-and-white, won two awards: one for Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and the second for Best Picture, (accepted by handsome French star Jean Dujardin). A Separation was voted Best Foreign Language Film with the award presented to Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi.

Rául Ruiz (1941-2011) was honored posthumously for his films of the past four decades. His long time producer and colleague Paulo Branco flew in from Portugal to accept the honor on behalf of the Chilean filmmaker.

The evening's presenters included Robert De Niro, Kevin Spacey, Viola Davis, and Francis Ford Coppola.  Working the room, as always: Harvey Weinstein.
Meryl Steep (Best Actress for The Iron Lady) talks with Angelina Jolie, while Brad Pitt looks on.

Ms. Jolie's most recent film is one that she wrote and directed -- In the Land of Milk and Honey. Cast with mostly Bosnian actors, the war film tells the story of a Muslim woman and Serb policeman who are dating when the Bosnian war breaks out, and what later happens when the woman is taken to a Serbian rape camp where the man is now in charge.
Jessica Chastain won Best Supporting Actress for The Help, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life.

I've been following her career since I first saw her in Jolene.
Director Francis Ford Coppola. Film Critic John Anderson, Chair of the 2011 New York Film Critics Circle. Mr. Anderson writes for Variety and Newsday.
Harvey Weinstein and Jessica Chastain.
Film Critic Thelma Adams and her 12-year-old daughter Lizzie, with Harvey Weinstein and Jessica Chastain. Ms. Adams is a Contributing Editor for Yahoo! Movies.
John Anderson welcomes guests to the 77th Annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards.
Producer Paulo Branco accepted the Special Award on behalf of Raúl Ruiz (1941-2011). One of the most prolific filmmakers of the past four decades, the Chilean legend wrote and directed over 100 features and TV mini-series.

Mr. Branco had just flown in from Portugal where he lives. Branco has produced 250 films, 25 of them (including Mysteries of Lisbon) with Mr. Ruiz.

"I worked with Ruiz for thirty years and he is someone who changed my life."
Writer/Director Asghar Farhadi is greeted by
Rose Kuo.

Mr. Farhadi was winner of Best Foreign Film, A Separation. Set in Tehran, the movie is a compelling portrait of discordant marriages and family strife as an emotionally drained Iranian couple confronts estrangement, abandonment, and cultural tension.

Ms. Kuo is the Executive Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Michael Maggiore (Programmer and Publicist of Film Forum), Sheida Dayani (Mr. Farhadi's translator), and Asghar Farhadi. The film has sold out at many of its showings at Film Forum.
Elizabeth Weitzman is the film critic for the New York Daily News. That's her husband Eric Stangel behind her. Mr. Stangel is the Head Writer/Executive Producer of The Late Show with David Letterman. Tom Bernard, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics. Mr. Bernard was my amiable dinner partner and told me he had once been at Fine Line where he worked on my husband's film, Time and Timbuktu, in 1972.
Michel Hazanavicius, Best Director (The Artist). Fortunately, future award presenters have lots of time to learn how to pronounce the last name of this brilliant man. They will need to practice. Raj Roy and J.C. Chandor. Mr. Roy is the Chief Curator of Film at MoMA; Mr. Chandor, the Director/Writer of Margin Call, was honored by the New York Film Critics for Best First Film.
Rose Kuo with Jeanne Berney. Ms. Berney is also with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Jeanne and Bob Berney. Mr. Berney's company, Film District, distributed Drive (Albert Brooks) and Land of Milk and Honey (Angelina Jolie).
Albert Brooks was honored as Best Supporting Actor in Drive. Mr. Brooks plays the role of a cooly sinister gangster, Bernie Rose, which may explain his serious demeanor here. Kevin Spacey was on hand to present writer J.C. Chandor the award for Best First Film, Margin Call. Mr. Spacey has just begun his run as the deranged titular king in Richard III at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. The play is directed by Sam Mendes.
Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger. The Observer's Rex Reed.
Albert Brooks at the podium.

"I would be the opposite of critic proof. I am critic prone. The one thing about getting a bad review is that you can always count on one of your relatives to tell you about it.

I also want to say that now that I've met Aaron Sorkin, I feel so guilty for selling my Academy screener of Social Network.
Rex Red and Kathleen Carroll, former film critic for the New York Daily News.
Dwight Brown, film critic for NNPA Syndication, and Dianne Collins, a long time New York
film publicist.
Film critics Godfrey Cheshire (Metro Magazine in North Carolina) and Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly).
Jean Dujardin (star of The Artist), Robert De Niro, and Art Linson. An old friend of De Niro's, Linson is a renowned producer, and the two of them have a recently posted a YouTube video where they discuss movies. Mr. Dujardin plays the role of silent movie star George Valentin who wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the film won for Best Picture.
Albert Brooks and his wife Kimberly Shlain.
Asghar Farhadi with Sony Classic's Michael Barker. Mr. Barker was celebrating his 58th birthday .
Iranian Cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari, who worked with Asghar Farhadi on A Separation. On the right, translator Sheida Dayani.
Meryl Streep and her agent, Kevin Huvane.
Asghar Farhadi accepting award for Best Foreign Film.

"I would like to share this award with all the people of Iran who have lived through very hard times. I would also like to thank my best friend,
the cinematographer of this film, Mahmoud Kalari.

And Happy Birthday Michael."
Tom Bernard admires Mr. Farhadi's Best Foreign Film award from NYFFC.
Right: Brad Pitt on a cane, thanks to a recent fall he took running with one of his daughters that resulted in an injured knee. "The timing could have been better."

Mr. Pitt recounted: "When I first moved to New York I stayed in a friend's apartment in the village and thought--there are so many guys who live here--and they're all so nice to me."
Brad Pitt enchanting the guests. You can see Meryl Streep, her manager Kevin Huvane, and Harvey Weinstein seated below.
Meryl Streep was hard to differentiate from Margaret Thatcher on the big screen, but it's hard to imagine England's Prime Minister in these blue suede Louboutins.

Ms. Streep joked: "Today with the wonders of the internet one can see exactly how all of you critics voted. Well, even Margaret Thatcher never got more than 30% of the vote. So thank you to the one third of you film critics who voted for me."
Ms. Streep's table-mates look on as she accepts her award. Viola Davis, Kevin Huvane, and Harvey Weinstein's back are in the foreground.
Streep in her Louboutins carefully exiting the podium's platform. Francis Ford Coppola approaches podium where he will present an award to his longtime friend Thomas Langmann, who produced The Artist.
Producer Thomas Langmann accepting the evening's final award for Best Picture (The Artist) while Francis Ford Coppola and John Anderson look on.
Cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari. Viola Davis presented the award to Ms. Streep earlier in the evening. Davis and Streep co-starred in Doubt.
Rose Kuo and Joe Morgenstern. Mr. Morgenstern, who lives in Santa Monica, has been reviewing films for the The Wall Street Journal for 17 years. He was once married to actress Piper Laurie, who has recently published her much-raved-about memoir, Learning to Live Out Loud. Laurie will be speaking at the Upper West Side Barnes and Noble at 7pm on Monday, January 30th.

Mr. Morgenstern said: "I'm one of the few gainfully employed film critics left." As a faithful follower of Morgenstern's reviews, I'm happy he's still around.
The gang who worked on Separation.

Publicist Sophie Gluck, Sheida Dayani, Director Asghar Farhadi, and Cinematographer
Mahmoud Kalari.
Peter Rainer, film critic for The Christian Science Monitor. William Wolf, whose film blog is called William Wolf Entertainment Guide on the Internet.
Armond White, Editor and Film Critic for CityArts. Steven Zaillian shared the award with Sorkin for Best Screenplay (Moneyball).
Karen Durbin, Elle's film critic. Rachel Rosenblatt, Entertainment Editor for Details magazine.
Stephanie Zacharek writes online for Movieline. Harris Dew programs films for IFC.
Michel Hazanavicius and publicist Peggy Siegal, who has been working hard to promote The Artist. Elizabeth Petit, head of Fox's East Coast Publicity office, with Time magazine's film critic,
Richard Corliss.
Showbiz 411's
Roger Friedman.
Jessica Chastain. Paul Nelson has been Jessica Chastain's manager for five years--"ever since I saw her in Jolene."
Callie Barker with her father, Michael Barker. Callie, 24, is a first-year graduate student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Jean Dujardin, critic's darling and probable Oscar contender for best actor in The Artist. Monsieur Dujardin has confirmed his leading role in the French thriller Mobius, in which he'll play an experienced spy.
Crimson's wait staff deserved a special award for their cheerful and efficient presence throughout
the evening.

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.