Critics’ Choice Awards — 2019

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Getting ready for the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Awards, something happened that I’ve been fearing for awhile now. Finding out my tuxedo no longer fit. Now, it’s had a good five year run with me, but I wasn’t about to go buy another one. I loved the deal I got on this at the Bridal & Tuxedo Galleria in Mission Valley, and if I merely went there and bought another, it wouldn’t be inspiration to lose weight — the number one New Year’s resolution of all-time.

I instead paid a visit to Enrique (“Enrique Suave” as I call him) and said, “Hook me up with a tux. I need it to be green, because I want to honor my favorite movie of the year — Green Book.”

He spent a lot of time talking about velvet tuxedos that come in different colors. He seemed to think that a green one would look odd, and my wife thought I’d look like a pimp from a bad ‘70s TV show. Enrique instead talked about the various accents that could be green — the bow tie, a vest, a pocket square. I was sold. And as he was fitting me for all this, at one point he said, “Let’s try the next size up.” I laughed and said, “You’re probably going to be uttering that phrase a lot with me today.”

He smiled and politely said, “No, no, it’s not a problem.”

Well, tell that to the Blood Bank, where they keep telling me I need to lose a few pounds because of high blood pressure. But I depress. Wait, I mean…I digress. This is about the Critics’ Choice Awards, not my girth.

With tuxedo in hand, I was off to Santa Barbara for the awards show. The drive was made nicer listening to the Chargers on the radio getting their butts kicked.

After the two hour drive, we were at the reception before the awards show started. My wife, who loves the show The Americans (which would win “best TV drama” later in the evening), said to a man walking by “I love your show.” He stopped to say thanks, and I noticed it was Noah Emmerich. As he stood at our table talking, my wife said to him, “My husband loves ‘The Truman Show’ and he mentioned the other day how funny it was that whenever you’d show up to Jim Carrey’s house, you had a six pack of beer. I told him you do the same thing on ‘The Americans’ and I wondered if that was on purpose.”

He started laughing and explained, “I asked them when they first did that if it was on purpose. They said it wasn’t, and I said that everyone is going to think there’s some kind of connection. They told me nobody would even remember that I did that in that movie because it was so long ago.”

I looked to my left and saw Willem Dafoe talking to someone. He got nominated for playing Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate. I said to him, “It’s nice to see your ear healed up nicely.” He laughed. I told him he was great in The Florida Project, and my wife added, “We wished you would’ve had a spin-off movie based on that character.”

I took a photo with him, although normally at these awards, I don’t bother them for photos. They told us they prefer the critics don’t do that, although when Ben Stiller walked in (he was going to be a presenter), I saw eight different people take selfies with him.

Olivia Munn, last year’s host, was walking by us. Judith Light (from The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which won two awards) ran over to her and said, “We have to take a picture together.” We noticed they were both wearing polka dot outfits, so I told my wife to snap a photo. I started to think that, with all these celebrities dressed so well, maybe it will rub off on me. I won’t have to use Enrique at Bridal & Tuxedo Galleria to be my fashion consultant.

I saw Timothee Chalamet (nominated for Beautiful Boy). walk by in a crazy, blue and yellow swirly psychedelic-looking outfit.

Spike Lee, walking around with the scowl he always has, was also sporting a colorful outfit. I laughed when Taye Diggs, who did a great job with the hosting duties, tried doing a bit with Lee. He was wearing a huge afro wig, picking at his hair, and saying things like “Fight the power.” Spike was having none of it, although he did pump his first up in the air afterwards.

Amy Adams (Sharp Objects) looked stunning. As she walked by us my wife said, “This looks a lot nicer than something Lynn [Cheney] would wear.” She threw her head back and laughed, before saying, “Thanks.”

Regina King walked by me and I said, “You look gorgeous, Regina.” She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Why thank you.”

She’d later win for If Beale Street Could Talk.

Antonio Banderas walked by, and I didn’t think he looked as good as on screen, but when Roma director Alfonso Cuaron walked by I wondered if he’d ever work in front of the camera. That’s a good lookin’ dude. But, he won a few awards for Roma, so perhaps he’ll stick to what he’s good at.

A place called Ample Hills Creamery was serving up lots of ice cream, and I ate 3 cups of the chocolate cookies and cream. They had a cute sign that said “A Star is Churned” directed by Bradley Scooper.

There were two people I was most thrilled to meet. One of them was Glenn Close. She’s in one of my all-time favorite movies — The World According to Garp, and I felt her performance in The Wife this year was the best. I told her both those things, and she thanked me. I couldn’t believe how beautiful, and short, she was. Her hair, her outfit…just stunning. And she was glowing as she walked up to stage later to accept her award, which was a tie with Lady Gaga (A Star is Born). They did a great job standing on the stage together, and we were all in stitches.

The other person I was thrilled to meet was Boots Riley. The first time we were walking by each other and I just blurted out “Your movie was one of the best of the year.” He said thanks. When I walked over to the bar to get some wine (which surprisingly pairs nicely with chocolate ice cream), my wife told him his movie was her favorite of the year, and brought up specific scenes she liked.

He ended up being at the table next to ours, and so during one commercial break I leaned over and told him his movie made my Top 10 of the year. He said, “Wow, really? Thank you for that. What were the other movies on your list?”

I started rattling off some of them. I said, “Green Book was number one. I had First Reformed, even though the ending sucked. The Rider was on my list.” As I mentioned a few other films, he looked as if he hated my selections, so I didn’t finish rattling them all off.

I didn’t even realize as we spoke, that the star of Sorry to Bother You — Lakeith Stanfield — was sitting right next to him. Both those guys were wearing some crazy outfits. Boots was wearing a blue, smoking jacket type of thing that looked more like a silk bathrobe. I thought about giving them Enrique’s card, to see if maybe he could hook them up with some outfits.

It’s so insane being at an event with such big Hollywood names. At one point my wife said, “Look who’s walking by you.”

I turned around to see Christian Bale (who would win two awards for Vice). I said to my wife, “Yeah, well…look who’s standing behind you.”

She turned around and Lady Gaga was right there. She had won her first of two awards, and was waiting near our table for a commercial break, so she could walk back to her table.

Elsie Fisher won an award for best young actor/actress for Eighth Grade. I had been talking to someone else in her category earlier — Ed Oxenbould of Wildlife. Although I wasn’t a big fan of that movie, I thought he was great in it. I told him I felt his mother (Carey Mulligan) went a bit too crazy in the second half. He smiled and said, ‘Well…she was crazy.”

Often times, I’m horrible at recognizing people. At one point I said to my wife, “I think that’s Hugh Grant.” She looked over and said, “No, that’s Richard Grant.”

Well, at least I got the last name right. I told him he was great in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

I always like the speeches the winners give, and they were great tonight. When Regina King won, we could all hear a loud airplane [the awards are held at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica]. She said, “I’m hearing the planes and it makes me think I have to hurry it up!”

It was touching to see Lady Gaga crying as she won, and nice to hear her thank Bradley Cooper, saying he was a “magical filmmaker, and just as magical a human being.”

When the music came up on her to play her off stage, she said, “You can play that piano underneath me. I’m used to talking over piano.”

Mahershala Ali deservedly won for Green Book. He brought Kris Bowers, the composer of the movie, onstage with him. He gave a lot of credit to Bowers for all he did for the film, and it was a touching moment.

Now, I would’ve liked Viggo to win for the movie, or for the screenplay to have won (at least Paul Schrader got it for First Reformed, which was terrific).

At our table, there was food set out, but I just kept eating the Lindt chocolates. There were boxes of them. Yet, when I saw a guy walking around with burgers and fries, with a huge, glittery shirt that said “Joey’s Burgers” I called him over for some. He said, “They’re just props.”

It took me a second, and then I realized…it was a play on the Fiji water girl that kept photobombing people at the Golden Globes.

It wouldn’t be the only time the Golden Globes were brought up. When Bale won, and gave a speech that was way too long, he said he wanted to thank people he forget to thank after his win at the Globes. That started with the Hollywood Foreign Press. It was cool that he thanked an editor, because a cameraman came up to film that guy, and we were sitting right behind him. It took me a second to realize…my wife and I might end up on TV. Then as the camera moved away, I realized that I had a huge breadstick sticking out of my mouth.

Sarah Silverman (Wreck it Ralph) went up to give an award, and she was blindfolded. It was a great spoof on Bird Box, but as she removed the blue blindfold she joked about wearing her belt wrong.

One of the two ties for awards, were Amy Adams and Patricia Arquette. They looked thrilled to be on the stage together, and the crowd loved it.

I would’ve loved to have met Viggo, since the Green Book event I went to last month had the entire cast, minus him. My wife said, “Oh, I saw him as I was walking to the bathroom. I was walking right next to him and asked him how he got the physicality down of the Tony Lipp character. He said, ‘I got a lot of help from the Vallelonga family.’”

When Claire Foy (First Man) got an award, someone yelled out “God save the Queen.” She chuckled and said, “Thanks. Oh wait…do you mean me, or the real Queen?”

Sometimes, talking to the other critics is just as fun as talking to the stars. I met this older critic from Arizona. His wife couldn’t make it to the event, since she recently had surgery. We seemed to agree on a lot of the same movies we liked and disliked this year. And, he told great stories of when he worked on the Ed Sullivan Show. I asked if he saw The Doors sing “Light My Fire” and he talked about Sullivan’s nephew being furious about that performance. He said when the Beatles performed, it was strange to see McCartney being so nervous because he’d have to be on stage by himself singing Yesterday. One of our producers said to him ‘There’s nothing to worry about. There’s only 4 or 5 million people watching.’ Lennon was loving that. Paul was so nice. He sent me a few Christmas cards. My kids are fighting over who will get those when I die.”

I saw director Peter Farrelly, and I reminded him of our meeting last month. I said, “Green Book is still my favorite movie, and I even wore green in honor of your film.” He thanked me, and said “Let’s take a picture together. Get your wife in the photo, too. I noticed she had green nails.”

During the commercials, Kevin Pollack was walking by our table. Just as he was walking behind a curtain I yelled, “Kevin!”

He poked his head back around the curtain and I said, “I loved ‘The Late Bloomer’.” He said, “Hey, thanks.”

I figured, he was probably getting a lot of love for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel show, I wanted to give him credit for the movie he directed (where I got to interview him and do the Q&A at the San Diego International Film Festival when it showed there).

Chuck Lorre gave a rather odd acceptance speech. He started it by saying he got a cold from Tom Waits. Nice to hear a shout-out to the former National City resident (who was fun in The Old Man and the Gun), but a few of the other things he said were odd, and he spoke so slowly.

When the cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won, it was funny to hear, “When a Jew hears ‘critics’ we think of our mom!”

Speaking of critics, at one point, they told us to stand up. I was on my way to the bathroom, but looked back to see them all standing. I happened to pass Chrissy Metz (This is Us). It seems at each of the Critics Choice awards, we walk by each other. She has the nicest smile of anybody in the business.

I was bummed The Favourite won some awards. Not a fan of the movie. Strange that none of the cast from it showed up.

This is the second year in a row that I walked by Nicole Kidman and thought — is there a more beautiful, or taller, woman in Hollywood?

I saw Maggie Gyllenhaal walk in, and wanted to tell her Criminal was one of the best con man movies ever. But she was engaged in a conversation with two other people and I didn’t want to interrupt.

Sandra Oh walked by me, and I wanted to tell her how much I loved Sideways. But she was damn near sprinting to get inside, so I didn’t want to slow her down.

Julia Roberts, with dyed blonde hair, was sitting a few tables away from me. It looked like there were a few security guards standing near her, and I wondered if that was a coincidence, or if she requested them. I can understand if she requested them, because people often go up to the stars at their tables during the commercial breaks. It’s so unprofessional, and probably bugs them.

After the show, as we were all heading out to the lobby for coffee, I decided to steal a few of the chocolates on the table. I felt guilty putting three of those delicious round milk chocolate balls in my pocket. Especially since it’s incidents like this that have made my tuxedo and other clothes, not fit anymore. But then….I saw one critic taking an entire box from a table, and another critic taking a box from one table, and filling it with chocolate from another table. Gotta love movie critics.

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