by Bennett Marcus, Vanity Fair
Jessica Chastain, John Krasinski, and Anne Hathaway; photos courtesy of WWD, Steve Eichner, and Thomas Iannaccone
While celebrating the movies of 2012, the National Board of Review awards gala on Tuesday included a touch of cinema history, featuring a special tribute to the James Bond franchise on its 50th anniversary and a dose of reality, with members of the Central Park Five, C.I.A. agent Tony Mendez (portrayed in Argo), and Sixto Rodriguez from Searching for Sugar Man.
And yet! It being awards season, movies were the focus of the long evening at Cipriani in Manhattan. We present some highlights from the (more than 40!) speeches heard at the gathering:
Meredith Vieira, in her opening remarks as host, paraphrasing Maya from Zero Dark Thirty: "I'm the motherfucker who's running this show."
John Krasinski, accepting the Freedom of Expression prize for Promised Land: "Thank you, Matt Damon, for not being able to show up, because I'm about to make my first acceptance speech."
John C. Reilly, accepting Wreck-It-Ralph's animated-feature award: "This is my first big animated feature for Disney. For years, people have been telling me I have the face for voiceover work."
Famke Janssen, on being a Bond Girl: "My parents wanted me to grow up to be Margaret Meade or Mother Teresa; I wanted to be Pussy Galore. Maybe the thing that made them proudest was they had a daughter that could crush men to death with her thighs."
Tony Mendez, the real-life C.I.A. agent whom Ben Affleck played in Argo: "I was more than a little flattered when [Affleck] chose to portray me, even though he's not good-looking enough."
Ben Affleck, on his Special Achievement in Filmmaking award for Argo: "Thank you, Tony, that was a lovely introduction. Although I hoped [Time film critic] Richard Corliss was going to introduce my movie, because he gave us zero stars. He did like the un-releasable Terrence Malick movie where I didn't speak."
And on thanking everyone in speeches: "You know, people do this obligatory "thanks," like the James Bond people thank Sony. I mean, like, Sony was gracious enough to make James Bond. Universal would kill Paramount for a third of James Bond."
Anne Hathaway, accepting the ensemble award for Les Misérables: "I'd like to thank Tom Hooper for inspiring my hairdo tonight."
Jessica Chastain, accepting her best-actress prize for Zero Dark Thirty: "Kathryn Bigelow is my captain and my champion. Thank you for trusting me with this role. In my moments of greatest insecurity and self-doubt, and we both know that there were a lot of them, you lifted me up to the confidence to play Maya. You taught me so much about fearlessness in filmmaking. I will forever be grateful to you for your guidance and strength. You're the motherfucker that's changing the game."
Bradley Cooper, presenting Leonardo DiCaprio with a best-supporting-actor prize for Django Unchained: "I'm so excited to do this. And that's mainly because, well, let's be honest, how many of us haven't imagined ourselves as Rose being held by Jack in the bow of the Titanic?"
Leonardo DiCaprio, who arrived quite late in the evening, directly from the set of The Wolf of Wall Street: "I've been in White Plains all evening, screaming at loud, boisterous financiers. And I'm not talking about Harvey Weinstein."
Josh Brolin, as he took the stage to introduce best actor Bradley Cooper: "Yep, I'm out."
Bradley Cooper, on first learning about his N.B.R. best-actor win for Silver Linings Playbook: "I was hanging from sheets on the side of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas--not recreationally, it was Hangover 3--and then on a break, I checked my phone, and Harvey Weinstein e-mailed me that this happened. And I literally couldn't breathe. I was like a little kid, really."
James Gandolfini, presenting the best-director award to Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow: "I'm in this film for five minutes. I didn't go to Jordan. I didn't go to all the other countries they went to. They called me about a week before, and they asked me to come to England to play Leon Panetta. I had about a week to do this, went to this lovely hotel on Stratford Upon Shire or some fucking thing. And it was full of knights. They were about this big, little suits of armor, and there were bunnies everywhere, little fucking rabbits everywhere. So I had this wig on--they found this wig, I think, from some old production somewhere in the West End. So I sent a note to Leon saying, 'I'm very sorry about everything. The wig, everything. You're kind of like my father. You'll find something to be angry about, so please let me know.' So Mark Boal, yesterday, goes, 'Leon Panetta would like your phone number because he doesn't know how to get in touch with you.' This is the head of the C.I.A."
During the festivities, VF Daily caught up with Affleck, who said he intended to party on his big night. "I'm going to try to have fun. My wife's not here, I miss her. She's looking after the kids. But, you know, I've really learned to appreciate this stuff. I've been in situations where I wasn't invited to any parties for my movies, so I'm going to take this one as it comes and really try to have fun." As a swarm of well-wishers surrounded him, we asked Affleck if he'd seen Jimmy Kimmel's show on Monday, the last one before moving to the new, earlier time slot, which featured that hilarious "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck" video with half of Hollywood singing along. "Yes!" he said, cracking up, as he got swept up in the crowd.
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