Last night, notorious film critic Armond White (dubbed The World's Most Contrarian Film Critic by Time) continued his tradition of howling, transparent public spectacle at the New York Critics Circle Awards. This time, his heckling was aimed at 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. You know how Lady Gaga sings, "I live for the applause"? It's just like that, except the opposite for the troll that is White.
McQueen had just accepted his prize for "12 Years a Slave," presented by Harry Belafonte, when the interruption broke out.
As soon as McQueen took the stage, White started shouting from his table at the back of the room. "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man," White boomed. "Fuck you. Kiss my ass."
McQueen either didn't hear the comments or pretended not to. He thanked the critics group for honoring him with an award previously given to John Ford and Woody Allen, at which point White hissed "pulease."
In 2012, White reportedly yelled "The Good Shepherd!" while Robert DeNiro was on stage, and "Ethel Waters!" (twice) at Viola Davis. The year before, he talked shit about The Social Network, shaded Michelle Williams and made Annette Bening cry. This is his thing. Gene Shalit has his puns, Sandy Kenyon has his taxi TVs, and Armond White has an asshole where his mouth should be.
White, who made his name writing for the defunct New York Press and now edits something called CityArts, is nothing if not true to this rancid brand he's made of himself. The stuff he eviscerates in person is stuff he's already eviscerated in print—he called 12 Years "torture porn" and claimed "the only conversation this film inspires would contain howls of discomfort," which Internet discourse rendered categorically untrue, but whatever. He said it. (He also once passionately defended Adam Sandler movies by explaining that they're "really love stories," whatever that means.)
In a perverse way, I have something approaching partial admiration for the guy, though. White is willing to back up the shit he writes with IRL shit-talking, which is not something that you encounter everyday. Also, he keeps the New York Critics Circle Awards interesting. Except maybe to run down its winners, no one would be writing about this ceremony were it not for White's calculated hot-messing. But almost every year around this time, we hear a little story about White that makes us feel superior and more civilized.
Until next year, buddy.
Update: Armond White has categorically denied Variety's report. "I was misquoted, lied about...I didn't yell anything. I was talking among my friends at the table...What I read on the Internet today is outrageous and I don't know what that means," he told the New York Times.
[Images via Getty]