×

Adam Sandler, Quentin Tarantino Roast New York Film Critics Circle at Annual Ceremony

The New York Film Critics Circle Awards is a confounding reprieve in the middle of awards season. Nestled between the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, the annual ceremony brings A-list celebrities and standout filmmakers and writers who critique their work together in a gloves-off evening where actors trade jabs with their detractors and disciples.

“I am tired of campaigning. I am tired!” bemoaned Antonio Banderas, who accepted his award as best actor for his turn in “Pain and Glory” on the stage at Tao Downtown in New York City Tuesday night. “I am not a politician. I am an actor. We want to the Cannes Festival, then we were in Toronto, then we were in New York. I go to Spain, and I can’t sleep because I’m on New York time! I am thinking what the hell? I am not a politician!”

Banderas, who received his award from Ethan Hawke, was joined by a host of Hollywood names including fellow honorees Lupita Nyong’o (best actress for “Us”), Joe Pesci (best supporting actor for “The Irishman”), Josh and Benny Safdie (best director for “Uncut Gems”), Bong Joon-ho (best foreign film for “Parasite”), Quentin Tarantino (best screenplay for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) and Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro (best film for “The Irishman”).

For some, the ceremony presented a singular opportunity to honor the special, often symbiotic relationship between artists and critics.

Popular on Variety

“As a young girl, learning about film, I loved film criticism and particularly New York film criticism, which is why this is a particular honor for me tonight,” Laura Dern told Variety on the red carpet. “Critics here really were my college education about film,” she said.

While on stage accepting her best supporting actress trophy for “Marriage Story,” she echoed that sentiment.

“If it weren’t, frankly, for Pauline Kael or critics like her, I wouldn’t have realized the gift that I had, because I didn’t understand what was happening. I went from 10th grade to, like, brains splattered at my feet while being a virginal girl on set. It was really overwhelming, and I looked to critics who taught me about film.”

Others took the opportunity to lambaste a few of the writers who’d given them a hard time. Not the least of which was Tarantino, whose 10-minute-long acceptance speech called out by name time-honored writer Peter Rainer.

“You have never given me a positive review in 30 years,” Tarantino teased from the stage. “Not to make you feel guilty, but I read you every weekend when you used to write for the Herald Examiner in Los Angeles, from 15 years old! Not only did I read you — I still have those f –ing Herald Examiners in my f–ing office!”

Tarantino wasn’t alone in chastising the crowd.

“I know what you have said about me over the years,” Adam Sandler, whose dramatic turn in “Uncut Gems” has earned him widespread acclaim, said dryly to the gathered critics. “It’s fine. I have two words to say to you: you’re mean.”

Where the NYFCC has aligned expectations for awards on Oscar night in the past, its interest in craft and artistry can also surprise, holding up actors and performances noticeably left out by popular voting bodies.

That was the case this year, when the Circle awarded Nyong’o, whose thrilling performance of not one, but two roles in a single film, has struggled to hold any frontrunner status in the Oscar race. The possible omission has highlighted the mountain some actresses of color must climb for equitable recognition.

Accepting the award for best actress, Nyong’o owed to her father’s indomitable love of Shakespeare her grasp of dramatic language and thanked “Us” writer and director Jordan Peele.

“He offered me a chance to exist in an imaginative world uncontextualized by the color of my skin or the content of my cultural history, and that is a radical, meaningful and liberating act,” she said. “Jordan is creating a space for people like me to exist front and center in a narrative and genre that has often relegated us to the sidelines. He is radicalizing perspective on who the everyman and every-women get to be, and in so doing he is expanding our collective consciousness.”

More Film

  • Father

    'Father': Film Review

    “Father” begins with a mother. Dragging her two sullen, uncomprehending kids along with her, Biljana (Nada Šargin) strides onto the grounds of the factory from which her husband was let go more than a year before and harangues the foreman about the severance package they still have not received. The children are hungry, she wails, [...]

  • Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm

    'Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street': Film Review

    In 1985, New Line rushed out a sequel to its breakout horror hit of the prior year. But while commercially successful enough, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” was initially disliked by mainstream horror fans, then later won cult status, for the same reason: It struck many as “the gayest horror film of [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    HBO Seeks Dismissal of Michael Jackson Estate's Suit Over 'Leaving Neverland'

    HBO urged an appeals court on Friday to throw out litigation brought by the Michael Jackson estate over the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.” HBO and the Jackson estate have been locked in a legal war ever since the premium cable network agreed to run the documentary, which chronicles child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson. The [...]

  • Denzel Washington

    Film News Roundup: Denzel Washington-Rami Malek Thriller Set for Early 2021 Release

    In today’s film news roundup, a Denzel Washington-Rami Malek thriller gets a release date, “Escape Room 2” gets moved, Paramount sets a double feature, “So Cold the River” wraps and the Sonoma Film Festival unveils its lineup. RELEASE DATES Warner Bros. has set the Denzel Washington-Rami Malek police thriller “The Little Things” for a Jan. 29, [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Says It Helped Negotiate 100 Deals for Agent-Less Members

    The Writers Guild of America has asserted that it has assisted in negotiating more than 100 deals in recent months for members without agents. The missive from the WGA West board of directors comes nearly a year after the guild leaders ordered their 15,000 members to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed [...]

  • the jesus rolls

    Émilie Simon Contributes Flamenco/Gypsy Vibe to John Turturro's ‘The Jesus Rolls’

    For French musician Émilie Simon, the flamenco-meets-gypsy vibe writer-director John Turturro was seeking for the soundtrack to his movie “The Jesus Rolls” turned out to be in her musical and genetical DNA. “This music originally comes from where I grew up in the south of France,” says the 41-year-old electronic musician, who has released five [...]

  • My Hero Academia Heroes Rising

    'My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising' ADR Director on Adapting the Anime for a U.S. Audience

    “My Hero Academia” has officially Detroit Smashed into North American theaters. Sony Pictures Television’s Funimation released “Heroes Rising” in the U.S. on Wednesday, grossing $2.5 million on its opening day. Theaters are showing the film, a standalone entry in the popular superhero anime based on the manga, with options for either subtitles or with an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content