“This is the only award show that matters. Best night of my life. I love it here,” Olivia Wilde quipped while accepting Best Female Director at the 3rd annual Hollywood Critics Awards on Thursday night.
The “Booksmart” director then congratulated fellow nominees Alma Ha’rel, Lulu Wang, Greta Gerwig and Lorene Scafaria for “paving the way for all the women who are so excited to be able to work,” adding, “there was never a lack of skill or interest. There was just a lack of opportunity.”
Wilde was one of the big winners of the evening, collecting three prizes — including the Trailblazer Award — for her directorial debut. “If I have blazed any trails, it’s only because of those who have blazed them before me.”
Wilde’s fellow winners at the ceremony, held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood, similarly imbued their speeches with a sense of comedic irreverence and deep respect and gratitude for the film industry and their place in it. One example — as Bong Joon Ho and the team from “Parasite” picked up their trio of awards, the South Korean filmmaker made a cheeky reveal.
“I have a very weird habit. I could never write my scripts in my office or home. I always have to go to coffee shop,” Bong joked. “But every time when I revisit the coffee shop around the time when my movie comes out, usually they end up being closed. It’s because I usually got a very quiet coffee shop which means that they don’t get a lot of business. I dedicate this award to the coffee shop owners who allow me to write my scripts.”
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Director of the Decade honoree Denis Villeneuve admitted he‘d written two speeches for the evening — “One of them is designed to make you feel like I’m a grateful, beautiful, humble human being. The other one like more silly, and I thought very funny until Taika Waititi came on stage,” he quipped, referencing the “Jojo Rabbit” director’s six-minute remarks that had the audience in stitches.
“It’s really hard to adapt something guys, it is,” Waititi said, accepting the Best Adapted Screenplay honor. “You’ve got to read a whole book. Then you’ve got to make it shorter. Then you’ve got to lay it out and put like spaces between the dialogue … So I would like to thank Final Draft, my sponsors. And just take this opportunity — because this might be the last time I get to do this for the next two months — I’d like to thank my mum for introducing me to the book. Mum, I couldn’t have done this without you. You didn’t do any typing, I did it all, but I’ll share this with you a little bit.”
Family was another important theme of the night. As Anton Yelchin was posthumously honored with the Actors Achievement Award, there was no shortage of emotion. Yelchin was only 27 years old when he died in a freak automobile accident in 2016. “Love, Antosha” director Garret Price and producers Drake Doremus and Adam Gibbs presented the award to Anton’s parents, Victor and Irina Yelchin, who were visibly touched and held the trophy up to the heavens in honor of their son. Game Changer award winner Paul Walter Hauser also called for a moment of silence and then a roar of celebration to praise the late actor, with whom he’d had a brief encounter.
The critics organization also highlighted the next generation of stars — including Kelvin Harrison Jr., Geraldine Viswanathan, Brooklynn Prince, Mckenna Grace, Jack Dylan Grazer, Kaitlyn Dever (who also accepted the award for best performance by an actress 23 and under), Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, (who requested his “Quiet Place” co-star Simmonds to sign his speech to the crowd) and Thomasin McKenzie.
“We need kindness and love to survive in a world that sometimes feels like it’s crumbling at our feet,” McKenzie said reflecting on the themes of her film ‘Jojo Rabbit.’
Also honored during the ceremony were Zack Gottsagen (Newcomer Award), Ruth E. Carter (Artisans Achievement Award), Deon Taylor (the Inspire Award), Lee Smith (Best Editing, “Rocketman”), Hildur Guðnadóttir (Best Score, “Joker”) and Daniela Taplin Lundberg (Producer of the Decade).
The HCA Board of Directors includes Scott Menzel, founder and CEO; Ashley Menzel, COO; Nestor Bentancor, president; and Variety‘s Jazz Tangcay, vice president.