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Christopher Nolan wasn't ready to hear Peloton criticize his films

by Stewart Cole

To the Peloton trainer who criticized a Christopher Nolan film during a recent class: You might want to check the leaderboard before you weigh in next time.

Onstage at the New York Film Critics Circle dinner in Manhattan Wednesday night, where Nolan accepted the best director award for Oppenheimer, the director put his own spin on the saying that everyone is a critic. “I was in my Peloton and I was doing a little bit of panting with long intervals, some shit,” he began, vaguely but accurately describing the feeling of being in the middle of training. “The instructor started talking about one of my films, saying, 'These are hours of my life that I'll never get back.' After a pause for laughter, Nolan expressed his gratitude for real film critics: “When Rex Reed he understands your movie, he doesn't ask you to work out more with him.”

Untelevised and with winners announced a month in advance, the NYFCC dinner is a relaxed, lower-pressure opportunity for the year's biggest contenders to take the stage a few days after New Year's. Many of Wednesday night's winners, including Nolan, are likely to have repeat wins at the Golden Globes on Sunday. But TV awards shows have famous countdown clocks and a lot of pressure to deliver a good sound. At the NYFCC dinner, meanwhile, the speeches were long, the introductions were heartfelt—and according to the NYFCC chairman Matt Singer, The whole thing ended 15 minutes early anyway.

It's traditional for each of the evening's honorees to be introduced by another high-profile figure in the film world, leaving room for some amazing stories that might not otherwise make it to an awards stage. Richard Jenkins was about to enter The Holdovers star Da'Vine Joy Randolph, The night's Best Supporting Actress winner and revealed that after working together on one film, he specifically asked her for a role in his next one. (Both appear in the 2020 films Kajillionaire and The Last Shift, though no one specified who came first.) “We actors have a way of looking for greatness in other actors,” Jenkins said on stage. “That's called jealousy.”

Supporting Actor Winner Charles Melton he was sitting at the Netflix table next to the actor who introduced him, Lucas Hedges, who remembered meeting him May December star in karaoke years ago. “Like Todd Haynes [the director of May December], I had no idea what to do with how beautiful he was,” Hedges said. Praising Melton's charisma and talent — the first Riverdale The star's karaoke song was 'Halo,' an incredible twist—Hedges added a caveat: “Now, if anyone knows anything about the star or the successful actor, everything I just said about Melton is as much a red flag as nicely. Melton could so easily be a monster. But that's not who he is. I can say this with certainty: Melton deserves his light.”

Experiencing his first awards season, Melton was effusive in his excitement for his fellow winners and many presenters. Shout out Paul Dano, in the presentation room Justine Triet with the award for best international feature for Anatomy of a Fall, as an inspiration to him as a young actor. After Dano's own moment on stage, he brought Melton down and the two shared a hug in a corner of the room, talking animatedly for a few minutes before returning to their tables.

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