NEW YORK – “With The Social Network, David Fincher has done what many said was impossible: he peeled America away from Facebook long enough to watch an entire movie about Facebook.” Then people re-connected to Facebook to ‘like’ the movie.
That was one of a slew of punchlines by Stephen Colbert as he introduced The Social Network, which won the best film honor, at Tuesday night’s star-studded National Board of Review awards gala here. Winners were previously announced.
It also featured a range of comments on Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was not in attendance, and a snow storm that started during the gala.
“[The Social Network] has been a huge success, grossing $94 million domestically,” Colbert also said. “$94 million. To put that in perspective: That is only $6 million less than Mark Zuckerberg gave to the Newark school system to seem like less of a jerk after the release of The Social Network.”
And he shared this thought on why the film is worthy of awards season attention. “Finally, a film that tells the gripping tale behind a technological breakthrough that allows people I barely remember from middle school update me on the pants they just bought,” he said.
The release by Sony’s Columbia Pictures picked up four awards at the gala, including for best adapted screenplay for Aaron Sorkin, best director for Fincher and best actor for Jesse Eisenberg.
“Tonight, we honor the story of a young nerd who beat the odds to make a fortune – David Fincher,” Colbert quipped to more laughs.
And he asked the crowd: “What is it about fast-talking megalomaniacal assholes and Aaron Sorkin that just fits!?”
In accepting his award, Eisenberg, who was welcomed on stage with much applause and many cheers, said playing Zuckerberg allowed him great range given that the Facebook founder is “frightening and frightened at the same time.”
Producer Scott Rudin accepted the best film award, thanking his team and Zuckerberg, whom he called a good sport. He earlier told The Hollywood Reporter that it would be great to see Zuckerberg attend the Academy Awards. “I hope he does,” Rudin said. “It would be wonderful if he did.”
In other acceptance speeches, Jennifer Lawrence, who was honored as breakthrough performer, thanked Oliver Platt for introducing her and being a great partner on X-Men: First Class. “Working with you was like a puppy licking my face,” she said.
“Mistress of Ceremonies” and Today co-host Meredith Vieira followed Lawrence by promising: “I’ll try that line on Matt Lauer tomorrow.”
Fincher’s acceptance speech gave her another idea for a comment for Lauer, she said. Without his group of collaborators, Fincher said “I’d only be an asshole with a lot of opinions.”
Bill Murray also earned his share of laughs as he introduced Sofia Coppola who won her second NBR special filmmaking achievement award. “They told me I have two minutes,” he said as the show was running long. “I’m going to pop this Red Hot [candy] to finish in two minutes.”
He ended his speech on an edgy note, calling the father of Coppola’s kids, Thomas Mars, the French lead singer of rock band Phoenix, “the only Frenchmen who could ever play Rock’n’Roll.” Said Murray: “Fuck Johnny Hallyday. Pardon my French!”
With another snow storm predicted for the awards night, Colbert opened his comments, the final introduction speech of the night, with a joke about New York’s slow clean-up after the recent holiday season snow.
“I bring you news from outside,” the comedian said. “The first flakes have started falling – and New York has devolved into a post-apocalyptic cannibal culture.”
Mark Wahlberg‘s introduction of Christian Bale and Bale’s comments also got the audience’s attention Tuesday night.
When he saw Bale in his first movie, he noticed his blue-collar storyline, which also seemed fitting for their work in The Fighter.
Wahlberg quipped he’d “blue-collar” Bale any day of the week though. “I’ve been in prison, dude. Come on!” he said before turning serious. “Unfortunately that part is true. I won’t go back.”
Bale said the latest Batman film is next for him, but he is still in the mode of his Fighter character Dickie since he hasn’t played any other roles since. “I’m interested to see how Chris Nolan takes Dickie in a Batsuit,” quipped Bale.
The snowstorm once again came up in his speech, as Bale mentioned that he, Wahlberg and the rest of their table would have to run off right after they get off stage to make it out of town – or risk being stuck. Bale mentioned he particularly needs to return to LA to work on screen tests for possible Batman co-stars.