‘12 Years a Slave’ Director Steve McQueen Heckled at New York Critics Circle Awards

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Jared Leto, Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford accept their awards at dinner

The 79th annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards turned awkward on Monday night when CityArts editor Armond White started to heckle director Steve McQueen.

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.”

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.”

This isn’t the first time White, a controversial critic who often hates the movies everybody else loves and panned “12 Years a Slave,” has thrown a public fit at the annual gala meant to celebrate film.

In 2011, White hosted the ceremony and took verbal jabs at the winning performances from Annette Bening and Michelle Williams. In 2012, he jeered at Robert DeNiro and Viola Davis as they were speaking on-stage.

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.

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  1. Sahaphap says:

    So happy with the nominations this year and for 12 Years A Slave. Great movie. I do think that The Butler was snubbed though. I personally thought it was a great film and Oprah’s performance was outstanding.

  2. Julia Connor says:

    What a rude despicable man! Why has he not been banned from these awards for everyone’s sake!

  3. Apparently Armond White is the “Kanye West” of Film Critics…

  4. A clear case of “Those who can’t do, criticize.” Since he clearly has no true talent of his own, this is his way of getting attention. Don’t like the film? Get off your useless behind and make one of your own. What an embarrassment.

  5. bongokillerclown says:

    tsk tsk…in a word…RUDE

  6. MCS says:

    Rude, rude, just plain rude. I suggest to simply ban him from awards shows, acclaimed critic or not. The man just has no manners.

  7. Robbie Smith says:

    What’s puzzling is why this guy has credentials. What if numerous critics decided to do the same thing? Why wasn’t he escorted out of the room? Somebody in authority wanted this to happen.

  8. JYW says:

    What a xenophobic, narcissistic, insignificant, blowhard. I’d like to also add an embarrassment and disgrace too.

  9. steve barr says:

    Armond White did not heckle Robert De Niro . He likes Robert De Niro . Don’t believe everything you read .

  10. mike shelton says:

    Why isn’t Armand White stripped of his credentials and banned from these award ceremonies? How can you permit someone as mindnumbingly insulting as he is? Exclude him.

  11. Capt Vick says:

    He’s an obvious racist. He must be a tea party or occupy guy. Those are fringe individuals who participate in known anti-govt groups. They should all be rounded up and executed based on information obtained by DHS and NSA.

    Hey Hollywood,
    How’s that Fukushima thing working out for you? Better not ask that question or you’ll be rounded up too!

  12. As Mr White seems quite prone to giving various celebrities tongue-lashings, I’m more interested in what his problem is rather than the actual film. Indeed, I doubt that I will watch the film because I have a real aversion to the sound and sight of people being whipped – and the slaves were subjected to alot of “punishments”, which I find distressing.

  13. capricorn says:

    Hahahahaha! Seems like someone’s feelings a bit hurt. Quality always wins people. Live with it.

    • joblo says:

      ‘Titanic’ won Best Picture, so maybe not.

    • capricorn says:

      Sorry about that. What I meant to say was that I apologize if it offends the most technologically advanced culture on the planet that quality(and realistic) story lines are more important to viewers than cleavage and special effects. I understand that desperate housewives, Duck Dynasty folk, and ADHD kids are your current demographics but things change. Evolve please. Thank you.

  14. HinkleyHadAVision says:

    You easily manipulated conservative clowns see conspiracy in everything, its hilarious. I’m so glad you idiots are becoming entirely irrelevant.

  15. HinkleyHadAVision says:

    And according to conservatives, you all just parrot whatever wealthy corporatists tell you to in your echo chamber.

    Keep squawking, Polly.

  16. HinkleyHadAVision says:

    So do you Blaze-ite Fox News racists get paid to whine here? Or are you all just that easily manipulated?

    Seriously buddy, Breitbart is that way. Go whine about how hard it is to be a bigot somewhere else.

  17. HinkleyHadAVision says:

    Probably near a conservative that doesn’t know how to spell “where”

  18. Art says:

    Hmmmmm…..an award recipient getting heckled by a no-class, nut job, head case in desperate need attention and meds… how unique

  19. Carl Nelson says:

    Seems to me that the entertainment industry would keep this character out of their awards ceremonies and out of their hair.He sounds like he is the worlds largest case of insecurity, maybe a kick in the rear would wake him up.

  20. Pam Thomas says:

    Are you kidding me? Really? All this stink over A.White=A.Hole, self-indulgent, no-class, rude, boring, predictable, should never be invited to anything ever again performance? Seriously? Come on people, there’s more important stuff to ‘trip’ over than this. A.White’s an idiot while Steve McQueen’s a successful filmmaker who made an interesting film based on fact (whether you believe the story/book or not is your prerogative). The film industry is allowed to celebrate Filmmakers, performers, industry insiders as often as they want or not. End of story. Get over yourselves & move on. Jeesh!


  22. solgreatman says:

    Good for him,overrated piece of garbage. At least someone’s not a slave to Hollywood

  23. daylight says:

    Armond White is black, not white.

  24. Keith Diggs says:

    Against what part of humanity have whites NOT committed crimes? The Japanese? Ka-boom. The Chinese? Remember the coolies? The Koreans? Little thing called WAR. The Indians? Blankets, small pox, wipeout. The Mexicans? You stole their land and wonder why they want to get back into LOS ANGELES, the irony of that spelling of course COMPLETELY lost on your dumb azz. The ITALIANS? Whites used phony I.Q. tests in the 1920’s to limit immigration of WHITES with SWARTHY SKIN! The BLACKS? Slavery. I’m running out of races and ethnicities here. You idolize the RACIST SLAVE RAPING SCUM that founded this country and your BS reason is always, “We can’t judge Jefferson by today’s morality”, who were the ABOLITIONISTS? Who were the QUAKERS? They were DECENT WHITE PEOPLE who lived in the same day as the CONSERVATIVE RACIST SCUM THAT YOU IDOLIZE who were HORRIFIED at the treatment blacks received by your SCUMFATHERS. Judging them by the MORALITY OF THEIR DAY, they were SUBHUMAN MISCREANTS worthy of nothing but HELL.

    So yes in conclusion, the white race as run by it’s conservative racist scumbags have indeed been A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.

  25. El Duderino says:

    FYI. McQueen’s a limey. What a limey knows about U.S. slavery is beyond me. Wait, excsue me. I forgot. They should know everything about it, considering it was all their idea in the first place.

  26. El Duderino says:

    As for this movie, I’ll reserve judgment until I see it, but if it’s anything like The Butler, it must really suck.

  27. stela says:

    I don’t understand,,,,,,,,,,why isn’t he blackballed ??? this is not acceptable !!!

  28. El Duderino says:

    Good for him. 95% of Hollywood movies are utter crap. The worst ones are the “universally accalimed” pieces of garbage like The Hurt Locker and andything with Bradley Cooper.

  29. Keith Diggs says:

    Well you ARE guilty so yes you should probably “feel” it. Whites have had unfair advantage since this country’s inception and YOU have benefited from their blood thirsty racism whether you know it or not. But I suspect you know it. Every time you harp on “Black crime in chicago” and act as if the crime is because of their ‘BLACKNESS” you benefit from the racism that doesn’t question WHITENESS when some cracka KILLS AND EATS SOMEBODY or SHOOTS A SCHOOL FULL OF CHILDREN. The deficiencies of their character BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE is NEVER explored, but let someone get “knocked out” and we have to hear from YOU about N_WORDs , crime statistics etc. FOK YOU BYTCH.

  30. WilliamPenn says:

    Class warfare is a staple of the Communist Party. It’s why Obama’s now yelling about “income equality” and why Comrade DiBlasio’s on a hate-the-rich campaign. It’s been commie tactic for 150 years.

  31. WilliamPenn says:

    Bullies like White don’t get their teeth knocked down their throats often enough. It’s why they keep bullying.

  32. Patrick Friel says:

    Yeah, the man sure knows how to keep a brotha down!
    (Not really my comment; just thought I’d join the conversation by quoting a line from an early 70’s blacksploitation movie.)

  33. JW says:

    Rude and disrespectful people like White shouldn’t attend functions with people of higher class and professionalism. He should be banned in the future.

  34. Hank Putnam says:

    The problem is that marketing executives have become entirely too important. Without their lame strategies, blurbs from critics wouldn’t be as important as they have become. The planet would be just fine, maybe better without idiots like Armond White. Anyone, obviously, can be a critic. If White knew how much hard work it takes to make a bad movie, he would spend the rest of his life apologizing for being such a jerk.

  35. Interesting factoid: If you lined up end-to-end all of the endless awards presented to entertainers in one year during self-congratulatory events held seemingly every day, they would stretch all the way to Saturn and back.

  36. Barry M says:

    Hollywood spews garbage along with TV. They made decent movies when the real Steve McQueen was an actor.

  37. Shelly says:

    How could Christian Bale not have won best actor?

  38. whosiwhatzit says:

    Angry black man hurls degrading insults at white man……film at 11.

    • John says:

      McQueen and White are both black men, which renders about 98% of the reactionary, childish right-wing garbage in this comment section hilariously moot.

    • Keith Diggs says:

      Correction. It was a BLACK GUY hurling crap at a BLACK GUY. BUT YOU ARE STILL A RACIST POS because you imagined it was a black guy hurling accusations at a WHITE GUY and that’s what got you riled up, in your imagination. Racist.

  39. Yukiko says:

    Thank you for the chuckle. It made my day.

  40. karaool says:

    Can you say “publicity stunt”? Nothing gives an underachieving movie–and 12 yrs is a great story and a great movie–a bigger boost at the box office than a hyped-up, tempest-in-a-tea-cup, controversy over a polarizing issue. Especially when it pits an innocent and honorable black man against a guy named White. The credo of today’s media (this website included): Exploit, exploit, exploit.

    • Must be nice to create a narrative to fit your world view. But here are some facts. Armond White is a known contrarian critic and has been for years. He has heckled people often at these functions. If you read his viciously absurd reviews you would know why many are wary of his actions. Also Armond White is, in fact, black. So the narrative of ‘white vs black’ is not part of the equation.

  41. floydwebb says:

    Armond Who?
    Or Armond, who cares???

  42. Zaidi says:

    Armond White, Heckler
    Steve McQueen, Film Director
    Enuf said.

  43. Kummin says:

    Bunch of actors and assoicates giving themselves more awards – ick.

  44. David says:

    White’s comments sounded immature, but not racist. Why go there? Not everything that is said about a black person is racist. The fact that you think its racist could be perceived as racist.

  45. MichaelZ says:

    AMEN! The only thing worse than a racist, is a vile REVERSE RACIST like Armond White or Al Sharpton!

  46. ronnie says:

    We live in a society now where bad behavior is glorified. While Mr. White is entitled to his opinion, there is no reason for him to express it in an unprofessional and hurtful manner. He is one of those critics who hates whatever is popular with the critics and general public because he knows he will get noticed for his objections. When I was in college, I wanted to be an entertainment reporter or writer, but after being exposed to some of the negativity that a number of “journalists” were expressing about a film or a play BEFORE even seeing it, it made me realize that many were only wrote about the entertainment industry for the pleasure of trashing it, not because they enjoyed cinema or theatre. And Mr. White’s behavior only reminds me it’s gotten worse.

  47. Larry EF says:

    Does anyone really care?

  48. If he’s unable to respectfully disagree, stop giving him a seat. If this is three years in a row, it’s the NYFCC that should be embarrassed.

  49. afrosheen says:

    my only complaint about that movie is that it was way too short, and i am not talking about the length of the film……

  50. Anson Mount says:

    White’s comments are being referred to as “contrarian” and defined as a “heckle”. How about calling it for what it was: a racist rant. Regardless of the color of the offending party, to belittle an artist due to their race (or any other reason) during a moment of recognition is beyond the pale. White should be thrown out of this organization. He has demeaned himself and the NYFCC enough.

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