The Critics Choice Award for chutzpah goes to … the lady swathed in gold lamé, sporting a Mohawk fade hairstyle who, without so much as a by-your-leave, crashed past me and scooped up a bottle of Milagro Silver tequila that was part of the centerpiece on tables at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
“Can I,” she asks, grabbing the booze.
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Wasn’t my liquor.
The thing that made me jump up in my seat was that Mohawk Lady already had bottles under her arm.
Quick as a flash, she repeated the same move at neighboring tables.
By now she had a haul of five or six bottles. Crash! One of them fell to the ground, so she swiped a replacement.
Stirred the former crime reporter in me. Who was Mohawk Lady?
She’s an online critic, someone at another table tells me.
Later on I ask her directly but she mumbles, unsurprisingly, something incomprehensible.
Please understand that I have no problem with her freeing the booze from incarceration on the hundreds of tabletops. I mean, Milagro Silver retails from between $18.99 and $25.99 a bottle, so the bottles I actually saw her “borrow” amounted to just over $100. No biggie. Not classy though.
It was just, well, the audaciousness of it all. I was about to say the lack of good manners, but then Mohawk Lady did at least ask, “Can I?” Another thing that jolts was Mohawk Lady was getting her jollies just as Barbie’s America Ferrera was making her impassioned speech, where “we’re all worthy of being seen — Black, brown indigenous, Asian, trans, disabled, any body type any gender. We are all worthy of having of having our lives richly and authentically reflective.”
Mohawk lady was being seen alright, with swag.
Also, the occasion. The hangar was heaving with A-listers and Mohawk lady’s behavior seemed a little incongruous.
Margot Robbie wasn’t stealing tequila’
Passing by Robbie’s table at the end of the ceremony, the spirits hadn’t been touched. Nor had a drop been consumed by Robbie’s fellow guests Greta Gerwig or Ken. Um, I mean Ryan Gosling.
Talking of Gosling. Loved the moment Harrison Ford was trying to get his attention.
Hey Ryan, I tell him, Harrison wants to speak to you. “I’m not your real son, you know,” Gosling shouts out to the screen legend. They worked together on Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 back in 2017. Fans of the movie will know what Gosling’s comment was referring to.
Gosling races over and the two men embrace. It’s a lovely, touching moment.
A similar instance occurs a couple of tables away where Robert De Niro is seated with his longtime publicist, the great Stan Rosenfield.
Award-winning Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph saunters by and reminds the Killers of the Flower Moon star that they made a movie together way back in 1992. It was Mistress, she tells him, directed by Barry Primus.
De Niro was gracious. He rose from his seat and embraced the actress.
I love it when I see these moments in time.
Seeing Ralph prompted a fond memory for me as well.
I caught the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls when it played the Imperial Theater on 45th Street. The cast included Ralph as Deena Jones, Jennifer Holliday as Effie White and Loretta Devine, Cleavant Derricks, Obba Babatunde and Vondie Curtis-Hall.
Also, I met the woman who would, a few years later, become my wife. So, Dreamgirls has always been pretty special to me.
I walked over to say hello to Archie Madekwe, who was at the Saltburn table with Emerald Fennell. He reminds me that I interviewed him eight years ago when he got his big break working alongside Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo in director Ian Rickson’s production of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in the West End. Good to see that Madekwe continues to do well. He has the starring role in the film Lurker that’s about to shoot out here in Los Angeles.
Saltburn hasn’t been picking up awards yet, but it has gained traction for the outrageousness of its marketing.
Fennell admits that she jockeyed Amazon to create to ad for Saltburn that features a bathtub drain that contains male bodily fluid. “We fought for it,” Fennell tells me of the ad.
A gent seated on the same table, along with Rosamund Pike, sports a taffeta cravat and pinned to it was a sink strainer — free of fluid, if you’re asking. Oh, the wonderful world of Hollyweird!
It makes me happy to see thespians once championed right at the start of their careers doing well.
Yes, Madekwe’s a case in point; also Gosling, who’s just huge and Gerwig’s Barbie is a classic now. Margot Robbie and I have never properly met, which is odd, but these things happen. But now she’s front and center leading the revolution to upend how the movie business is controlled. She thinks pink but it’s the color of the box office cash Barbie’s raked in that gives her power to sweep away the patriarchy.
Jeffrey Wright, fellow Arsenal supporter, and sublime artist. Well, I knew him way back before he could say boo to a goose. Now he’s an Oscar contender for Cord Jefferson’s scorching American Fiction.
Colman Domingo — he has such swagger and style — and he’s brilliant in Rustin. He and I met years ago when he put on a solo show at the Kiln Theatre in London; it was known as the Tricycle back then. I was on its board as was Indhu Rubasingham, who later became its artistic chief — she was recently named artistic director-in-waiting of the National Theatre. And Domingo’s being celebrated for his powerful portrait of Bayard Rustin in the Netflix film.
Danielle Brooks too. Saw her in The Color Purple on Broadway and now she’s literally kicking doors down in Blitz Bazawule’s movie version.
Same with The Holdovers’ Da’Vine Joy Randolph, though I’ll explain more about that in another column.
Spotted Emily Blunt in a play she did with Dame Judi Dench called the Royal Family in the West End. A light goes off in one’s head and you think: gotta keep an eye out for her! And I can’t get enough of her in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.
Which brings me to Carey Mulligan. I’d seen some early theater work of hers, then noticed her in Joe Wright’s version of Pride & Prejudice, but it was watching her on the set of Lone Scherfig’s An Education that I realized I’d have to watch her career too. What she does in Bradley Cooper’s splendid Maestro is simply extraordinary, such beautiful acting.
I say all this because these screen artists didn’t arrive on the scene perfectly formed; they’ve worked to perfect their art and they, and the other contenders, deserve our appreciation and praise.
And to my mind, Mohawk lady disrespects them. Security shoulda thrown her out. Let her keep the bloody tequila but don’t invite her back next year. I have photos of her, but Breaking Baz is not going to shame her further by running them.
So, I’m not so sure the Critics Choice Awards “beat” the Golden Globes.
Both awards shows need to up their game before going around bragging about who’s got the biggest cojones.