Representing OC at the LAFCA awards

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lafcagif.gif(photo credit: Leonard Klady)

Saturday night, the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association (of which I'm pretty sure I'm the only member writing for an OC publication), held their annual awards ceremony, the first such event I've attended. I had heard horror stories about prior sartorial disasters, but I have to say that most of the critics "cleaned up" very well in formal wear, though I do think my pal Andy Klein looks better in just a plain shirt, rather than with a suit jacket on top.

Leonard Maltin did a fine job as host for the evening, and while I won't pick on anyone in particular, you can tell which critics are and are not used to being on TV. Not that this was televised -- it wasn't -- but you can tell by who looks uncomfortable on stage under the lights.

As someone who's gotten used to Santa Ana cuisine, I found the lack of hot sauce disconcerting. The stuffed chicken with sundried-tomato sauce was fine, but some spicy burn would have kicked it up a notch.

Awards shows are always long -- Paul Thomas Anderson, accepting the award for Best Director, made a joke about how the next critic who complains that his movies are too long will be reminded of this ceremony. The difference, Paul, is that no-one's claiming our awards were a masterpiece in the annals of award show history. Yeah, they were long, but your movie was too.

I sat next to former OC Register critic Henry Sheehan, who snuck in a radio and headphones to keep up with some sports score or other. I also sat next to a certain critic for the New York Times who insisted I not blog about anything she said or did. Therefore, like Robert Wise directing THE HAUNTING, I will leave it to your imagination, and you'll probably conjure something far more terrifying than I could show.

There weren't really any fan-boy celebrity moments for me, but I did step out for a while and watch Janusz Kaminski (winner of Best Cinematography for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, but more notably responsible for lensing one of my favorite movies ever, COOL AS ICE) discover the bar outside. He asked for a double scotch, no ice (because he's cool as...), then as the bartender began to pour it, asked "How much is that?"

"$16" replied the bartender.
"Better stop pouring then!" said Janusz.
"Okay, eight dollars."
"Good thing I asked!"

Daniel Day-Lewis, accepting the Best Actor Award, made some references to his partnership with Paul Thomas Anderson on THERE WILL BE BLOOD being like a marriage, but they hadn't figured out who's the bride and who's the groom. I think it would have been funnier if he'd said "top" and "bottom" instead of bride and groom, but he is an elegant fellow, after all.

Marion Cotillard is super-beautiful in person, which means she deserves her Best Actress award for making me believe she looked like a scary grandma. Marjane Satrapi, accepting for the mostly black-and-white movie PERSEPOLIS, had the most colorful outfit, a dress that looked like somebody had drawn cartoons on it.

I wasn't able to find a date for the evening, even after begging, so now allow me to rub it in by telling you all just how awesome the gift bag was that you missed out on getting.

-Cloth "Amoeba Records" shopping bag
-Multiple DVDs directed by the evening's lifetime award winner, Sidney Lumet: EQUUS, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, RUNNING ON EMPTY, and SERPICO
-DVDs of ONCE and RATATOUILLE
-Soundtrack CDs for THERE WILL BE BLOOD, PERSEPOLIS, and ONCE
-JUNO T-shirt designed to look like the high school logo shirt Michael Cera's wearing on the poster.
-Fancy chocolates with flavors like "wild huckleberry" and "pear brandy."
-Peppermint flavored water.
-An odd, bitter-tasting kumquat soda.
-Children's activity book from THE WATER HORSE.
-Screenplay for THE SAVAGES.

So there. Now don't you feel bad for missing out?

Anyway, the main difference between the LAFCA awards and the LA Press Club awards is that film critics seem to head home the instant it's over. Journos hang out and drink more. I was the only critic sitting at the hotel bar when the evening drew to a close.

Missed opportunity: It would have been funny if Leonard had closed out the evening by doing a Daniel Day-Lewis impersonation and saying, "I'm finished!"


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