NEW YORK - The high in Manhattan on Tuesday? A whopping 14 degrees.
So perhaps not the most ideal night to celebrate the National Board of Review's film winners at its annual gala, held at Cipriani.
Then again, after Steve McQueen was apparently heckled at last night's New York Film Critics Circle dinner while accepting his award for 12 Years a Slave, anything was an improvement.
"Thank you for such a pleasant evening," director Ethan Coen told the NBR audience, perhaps referring to the incident, while accepting the prize for best original screenplay for Inside Llewyn Davis.
But then again, as the quest for the Oscar really gathers steam, it would take more than a little verbal, or weather-related, windburn to slow anyone down. Especially, of course, since most of these folks fly private and travel in chauffeured cars.
Before the show, Meryl Streep was her usual lovely, chatty, kind self. "I think it's just sort of divine," she said of awards season.
Streep was there to present to Saving Mr. Banks' Emma Thompson. "We're all working on our own projects and once a year, everyone gets to see each other. Secretly, we love that part. There's no doubt about that. The hype and the horror, that's another thing. How can there be that many photographs?" wondered Streep.
Indeed. But there are perks. Fruitvale Station's Octavia Spencer, unlike so many stars, gets to keep her frocks, she told us before the show: "They are custom-made for me. That's the thing about being pleasantly plump."
And Mike Myers was there to "support Spike Jonze, for the movie Her, and give him an award. He has one foot in the avante garde and in the world of being a humble entertainer," said Myers. And during the ceremony, Blue is the Warmest Color's Adèle Exarchopoulos half-joked about her "(expletive) English" and thanked her co-star Léa Seydoux -- the two then donned their coats, locked arms, and left, presumably to party elsewhere.
Will Forte was spotted walking around by himself, murmuring and seemingly practicing his speech. He told us earlier that he was nervous and didn't know yet what he was going to say.
Local boy and Fruitvale Station breakout star Michael B. Jordan thanked his dad, for showing him "what it was to be a man," and his stylist. Fruitvale director Ryan Coogler said he was still waiting "for someone to pinch me and wake me up." Appropriately enough, Thompson told him in her speech that she'd be happy to take him aside and pinch him. Touche.
For the most part, the night was long, with verbose speeches punctuated by emcee Lara Spencer, who also spoke at length before every intro. It took The Wolf of Wall Street's Leo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese to wake up the audience with a spirited, hilarious and biting acceptance speech that lasted slightly longer than two minutes.
"I'd like you to go first, but keep it short," Scorsese told DiCaprio at the outset of their joint speech.
"You mean, like under three hours?" quipped DiCaprio, referring to Wolf's run time.
The two were like a married couple, said DiCaprio. And Scorsese said the actor had everything he looked for in a leading man. "Like an Italian last name," retorted DiCaprio.
Best Director: Spike Jonze, Her
Best Actor: Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Best Actress: Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Best Supporting Actor: Will Forte, Nebraska
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station
Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
Best Adapted Screenplay: Terence Winter, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Best Animated Feature:The Wind Rises
Breakthrough Performance: Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Breakthrough Performance: Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue Is The Warmest Color
Best Directorial Debut: Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
Best Documentary:Stories We Tell
William K.Everson Film History Award: George Stevens, Jr.
Spotlight Award: Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio
(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)