Pitt’s acceptance speech for best supporting actor revealed a glimpse into his personal journey.
It was a night full of Oscar speech previews and Oscar speeches that will never be. At Wednesday night’s National Board of Review gala, stars like Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, and Renée Zellweger delivered heartwarming speeches that won over the room. However, it was Brad Pitt, on hand to accept the best-supporting-actor award from presenter and close friend Bradley Cooper, who dropped a surprisingly personal tidbit in the midst of an otherwise hilarious speech.
“I got sober because of this guy and every day has been happier since,” Pitt said of Cooper. However, he didn’t stay sentimental too long, making this quip about his NBR experiences past: “It’s nice to be able to leave this thing carrying something other than George Clooney.”
The NBR gala took place over a long, nearly four-hour dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street. Stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Salma Hayek, and Daniel Craig supped during the Willie Geist–hosted ceremony, a less stressful affair than most during the awards season since the winners are announced weeks ahead of the big night. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, joint winners of the night’s inaugural icon award (along with Al Pacino, who couldn’t make it), hung back at the Netflix table. Best-directorial-debut winner Melina Matsoukas dined with Queen & Slimcollaborator Lena Waithe, while Timothée Chalamet huddled with Uncut Gems helmers Josh and Benny Safdie. The Little Womenstar was on hand to present the brothers and cowriter Ronald Bronstein with the best-original-screenplay award, using his speech to earnestly praise their entire catalogue.
“These are movies people my age can actually not get get bored as fuck watching!” Chalamet declared.
In their own speech, Josh revealed the script went through something like 150 drafts, in part because he “lost a computer in the interim.”
“It’s a long story,” he shrugged.
However, it was Uncut Gems star Sandler who brought the room to a joyous standing ovation when he went to accept the best-actor award. It was presented by longterm collaborator Drew Barrymore, who gushed about her pal, though she couldn’t quite remember how long ago it was that they met (“I’m a Pisces so I’m not good at timelines!”). Sandler, who’s been in the awards conversation for months, but is not currently considered an Oscar front-runner, relished the chance to give a best-actor speech, winning the room over with remarks that were equal parts funny and heartwarming.
“I know De Niro is nervous around me now,” he quipped. “Bobby, you’ve done some good shit!! But, you know…”
The star also thanked the Safdies, then pivoted to his family, instantly choking up at the mere mention of his late father, who crafted his love of serious films like Dog Day Afternoon and Mean Streets. “I was like oh, fuck—this is going to be a movie that my dad would like,” he said, recalling the first time he read the Uncut Gems script.
Quentin Tarantino also got sentimental, on hand to accept the best-director award, presented by Kill Bill star Uma Thurman. He made a point to thank his below-the-line team, specifically “the greatest collaborator I have ever had, Sally Menke,” his late editor. He also paused to make the audience applaud for all the other directors in the room; Chalamet turned around toward Parasitehelmer Bong Joon-ho and clapped specifically for him, which Joon-ho acknowledged with a smile and a gleeful point back at Chalamet.
The night’s other major draw was Bruce Springsteen, who was tasked with presenting Scorsese, De Niro, and the absent Pacino the icon award. He showered the trio with praise, reminiscing about standing in “long, Avengers-like lines” to see their early films (a funny choice of words, but let’s assume Springsteen doesn’t know about the Scorsese-Marvel battle). In Scorsese and De Niro’s joint speech, The Irishman star called the trio “the three amigos”—then quickly made a barb about how Trump had ruined that, pivoting to calling them the “holy trinity.” Scorsese, on the other hand, went the introspective route with his remarks.
“For me, [an] icon is a great influence for others and I think it’s a great responsibility so I hope I live up to it in whatever time I have left,” the director said. “It has a deeper meaning than just someone who is appreciated…I’ll try to do the best I can with it.”-THE MALAYA POST
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