Astonishingly, it looks as if the NYFCC might be impotent when it comes time to scold their star weasel, Armond White. The group could try to claim that there’s no way to deal with the exhibitionist prick stinking up their reputation. As long as White stops short of actually physically assaulting filmmakers with a salad fork, we’re all forced to watch whenever the grandiose Ass of the New York Critics Circle feels like slinging poop at anyone close to his cage?
NYFCC chairman Joshua Rothkopf has said the group will be taking “disciplinary action” against White.
But another source with close ties to the organization questioned if that’s possible, since the Critics Circle’s bylaws don’t include a method for expelling one of its members. In other words, they might have to write a law about heckling and see what happens next year.
Nice. Be sure to include a bylaw that forbids critics from spitting phlegm in the faces of actresses or stabbing cinematographers in the eye with a pencil. I mean, just so the New York critics understand how much they can get away with in the future. Variety reports:
The New York Film Critics Circle is reeling today after its annual gala made headlines for a heckling incident between one of its members and “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen. The organization has set an emergency meeting for Monday, Jan. 13 at Lincoln Center to discuss what to do about the situation.
CityArts editor Armond White started to shout a string of nasty comments to McQueen as he was accepting his prize on-stage. “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man,” White yelled. “Fuck you. Kiss my ass.”
Variety says chairman Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York) sent an email to all the NYFCC members. The subject line was “Ruined.”
“I was looking forward to sending out a post-show email of thanks to everyone who helped make last night so special,” the email said. “Instead, I’m met this morning with links to no less than TEN pieces of reporting from around the world — not about Harry Belafonte’s magnificent speech or the two standing ovations, but about the heckling. I also have a perturbed email from Barry Dale Johnson at Fox Searchlight that will require a response. In short: damage control.”
“It amazes me that we have members who are so self-serving, they would sacrifice the decorum of the group … solely to satisfy their egos,” Rothkopf added. “Never thought I’d write this, but after months of event planning and two years of service as an officer, I’m happy to be done with it.”
Really? Armond White’s behavior amazes you? Where were you two years ago when he made a spectacle of himself when he hosted the NYFCC gala? Paste has details of that debacle:
Dig a bit deeper, though, and it turns out this is only the tip of the Armond White iceberg. They actually let him host the awards show in 2011 (he was chairman at the time, but still, bad move!), and the results, as recorded by Vulture the next day, are incredible. A few choice highlights:
- White repeatedly made it clear that he disagreed with the NYFCC’s decisions, which made everyone uncomfortable. When he had to introduce the presenter who was set to give Annette Bening the Best Actress award, he talked about her performance in Mother and Child instead of The Kids Are All Right, which he hated. Gawker reported that the whole ordeal made Bening cry.
- White had panned Black Swan that year, and director Darren Aronofsky used his time on stage to strike back at White: “Keep it up, because you give all of us another reason not to read the New York Press,” he said. “Hey, my only chance to have revenge against this guy, and now it’s done. I’m sorry.” After his speech, White took the stage with his retort ready: “That’s all right. Darren reads me. That’s all I want. And because he reads me, he knows the truth.”
- When he introduced Michelle Williams to present an award to Mark Ruffalo, he rattled off some passive-agressive praise for her work in a 2004 film, which everyone took as a “deliberate snub” of her role in Blue Valentine. Williams was nonplussed: “Um, thanks, that was, like, ten years ago. I’m not going to read any of your reviews of my other work because you really had to reach.”
- When introducing Tony Kushner, who was presenting the award for Best Picture, he unleashed one of his best zingers of the night: “Surely, Kushner, whose great play, Angels in America, showed how spiritual and social connections transformed lust and envy to family, friends, and country, has a moral responsibility to explain why The Social Network is good.”
- This closing paragraph is pure gold and needs to be experienced verbatim: “Throughout the evening, as many of the presenters and winners cringed and some openly jeered him, White kept a condescending grin plastered on his face that seemed to pity the poor deluded film illiterates. The evening ended with a few hisses at his final swipe (”I thank the circle for not awarding a single award to Greenberg“), but then relief set in that this was White’s last year as chairman, and therefore, as host.”
- A year later, relegated from chairman of the NYFCC to a participating member, he still managed to ruffle feathers by heckling Robert De Niro and Viola Davis, shouting “The Good Sheperd!” at the former and “Ethel Waters!” at the latter.
In a comment at Paste, Jim Vorel from the Herald & Review nails it:
In his destruction of critically praised films, White tends to simply hide behind a giant wall of word salad. These negative reviews are really more difficult to criticize or get worked up about. On their own, they just make White seem like a guy who never likes anything.
His POSITIVE reviews, on the other hand, are the really interesting part of his troll character. And yes, this guy is a troll. He knows precisely what he’s doing. His entire day, from the moment he wakes up until the second he falls asleep, is calculated toward getting the maximum amount of attention in any way possible, and as we all know, the best way to do that is by pissing people off. But it’s in his insane reviews of movies like “Norbit,” “Just Go With It” or “Jonah Hex” that most clearly reveal what he’s really trying to accomplish.
One could read one of his negative reviews and almost come to the conclusion that he’s being sincere, but once you’ve seen him wax poetic about the beauty and composition of Eddie Murphy in a fatsuit, it’s impossible to consider him anything but a troll whose only objective is to befuddle and offend.