January 31, 2023

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National Board of Review Gala Honoring Steven Spielberg, Michelle Yeoh

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Awards season can be long and hard for those in search of glory, but the novelty of recognition from Hollywood isn’t lost on Michelle Yeoh, who was honored at the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress for A24’s indie blockbuster “Everything.” Everywhere at once.”

“I feel like I’ve entered my own metaverse,” Yeh said to thunderous applause at Sunday night’s event, held at Cipriani 42nd in midtown Manhattan. “Usually when someone accepts one of these awards, they stand up and say, ‘I can’t tell you how much this award means to me.’ But tonight I want to tell you honestly how much this award means to me.”

“I am incredibly proud to be the first Asian actress in 45 years to receive this honour,” she continued. “I hope it means Hollywood and the filmmaking community recognize that this is a watershed film and everything I’ve stood for and tried to accomplish in my four-decade career.”

NBR winners are selected by a group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, academics and students.

The star-studded affair, hosted again by Willie Geist, is another stop on the awards circuit since the winners are announced in advance. This takes the potential pressure off of losing and gives the recipients time to prepare the speech, which has no deadline since the event is not televised. The evening’s top award for best film went to “Top Gun: Maverick,” with producer Jerry Bruckheimer giving the final speech of the night because Tom Cruise was not scheduled to appear and co-star Miles Teller was under the weather.

Steven Spielberg, who won best director for “The Fablemans,” received a standing ovation when he took the stage to talk about making his most personal film. The semi-autobiographical drama depicts a film-obsessed teenager growing up in Arizona and Northern California.

“I realized for the first time that I can’t hide a mothership or a T-Rex or a big mechanical shark that never works,” she said, adding that it felt like reliving her childhood on-screen “going back with it. My parents and my sister.”

“Say you can’t go home again? Oh, no,” Spielberg said. “That’s wrong. You can go home again.”

Gabrielle LaBelle, who played a fictionalized version of Spielberg in “The Fablemans” and won the breakthrough performance award, wowed everyone with her raunchy speech. “I never thought I’d say this – because it’s Steven fucking Spielberg – but the great Steven Spielberg changed my life.”

“I feel like I owe, like I owe you my first born child or something,” he said. “I don’t know how I’ll pay you back.”

The F-bomb became a recurring joke during the hour-long event. Daniel Craig didn’t try to dampen his excitement about his “Glass Onion” co-star Janelle Monae, the best supporting actor recipient — “her deliciously gorgeous surprise,” he told the audience.

“Are you kidding me? You got to fuck James Bond?” Mona said, injecting some much needed stimulation as the clock struck 10pm

He continued, “There are so many people who could be standing here tonight. So, I’m standing here in the greatest pool of gratitude for this recognition.”

Colin Farrell also electrified the room as he took to the stage twice, once to accept the best actor honor and the other time on behalf of his “Banshees of Inisharine” scene partner Brendan Gleeson, who was not in attendance. “I’m pissed I can’t celebrate there,” Gleeson wrote in a note read by Farrell.

Farrell, an unabashed film buff, spent part of his speech describing the excitement of seeing “ET” in theaters for the first time. She admits that the experience of going to the movies was more emotional than the birth of her two children.

“I’m glad it’s not televised,” Pharrell joked.

“Banshees of Inisherin” writer-director Martin McDonagh, who is credited for his original screenplay, thanked the film’s distributor Searchlight for having “no notes in the script … which is probably why I’m here tonight.”

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