Director Steve McQueen was heckled by a belligerent critic at the NYFCC Awards


The more awards-contenders I see this year, the more convinced I am that 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen is going to break through Hollywood’s glass ceiling and become the first director of color black director to win Best Director. Who else will really fight for it? David O. Russell for American Hustle? Sure, Russell will fight for it and I thought Hustle was a good movie, but he’s not going to win Best Director for it. Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity? Perhaps, just because Cuaron spent years trying to get it made and because Gravity is such a strong technical achievement. But it’s more likely that Gravity will pick up all of the technical awards and McQueen will still win. Who else? Marty Scorsese? Wolf of Wall Street is bloated and stupidly controversial. You get the idea. I think McQueen has it.

McQueen is already picking up awards left and right as well. He’s been nominated for all of the early big awards (Golden Globe, Directors Guild, etc) and he’s picking up a lot of critics’ awards too. On Monday night, McQueen was in Manhattan to receive the Best Director prize from the NY Film Critics Circle. And when he got up to accept his award, some a—hole heckled him.

The 79th annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards turned awkward on Monday night when CityArts editor Armond White started to heckle director Steve McQueen. McQueen had just accepted his prize for “12 Years a Slave,” presented by Harry Belafonte, when the interruption broke out.

As soon as McQueen took the stage, White started shouting from his table at the back of the room. “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man,” White boomed. “F—you. Kiss my ass.”

McQueen either didn’t hear the comments or pretended not to. He thanked the critics group for honoring him with an award previously given to John Ford and Woody Allen, at which point White hissed “pulease.”

This isn’t the first time White, a controversial critic who often hates the movies everybody else loves and panned “12 Years a Slave,” has thrown a public fit at the annual gala meant to celebrate film.

In 2011, White hosted the ceremony and took verbal jabs at the winning performances from Annette Bening and Michelle Williams. In 2012, he jeered at Robert DeNiro and Viola Davis as they were speaking on-stage.

[From Variety]

I thought this was a one-off thing, but Bedhead told me that Armond White is something of a notorious troll and drama queen contrarian. It’s a wonder why the NY Film Critics Circle allows him to attend the event year after year. Maybe they’re counting on him to make a terrible scene just so the smaller awards ceremony will get some added attention? I don’t even know. But damn, that’s really rude. I don’t get why ANYONE would say “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man” to Steve McQueen. Is that racist? Is it hate speech? Is White ignorant? Was he drunk? So many questions. I just don’t get it.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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81 Responses to “Director Steve McQueen was heckled by a belligerent critic at the NYFCC Awards”

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  1. Lindy79 says:

    My feelings on White are perfectly summed up by Steve McQueen’s youngest son in that last picture.

  2. MrsBPitt says:

    White gave Toy Story 3 a bad review…TOY STORY 3! He is an ass, and just loves to be “different” to get people talking about him…They should have escorted him out of the building!

    • Dani2 says:

      Toy Story 3?? Is he serious? Okay this guy is just a douche. I’m not even going to try and analyse what he said to McQueen beyond that.

    • Rhea says:

      Seriously?! The third one was the best! My kids love it along with Madagascar 3 and Despicable Me.

  3. MCraw says:

    I hope he goes all the way on the awards circuit. Am I the only one who hated Wolf of Wall Street? It felt like such a waste of time and money to watch a glorified Spring Breakers movie. Pointless and repetitive.

    • CaribbeanLaura says:

      I HATED spring breakers. I have never hated a movie so much I think, I and I’ve read that WOWS is basicallys a upperclass version of that s#it so I won’t be watching it.
      That being said I NEED to see 12YAS, but i never came out where I live.

      • TG says:

        I hated Spring Breakers also and couldn’t even finish it. I forced myself and my husband to watch up to the point of where on of the girls gets shot in the arm and just couldn’t finish it. I can’t figure out why Anyone would enjoy spending their days on a drinking and drug binge. No one looked happy. Won’t be seeing Wolf of Wall Street at least no in the theatre.

    • Lindy79 says:

      I havent seen Wolf of Wall Street so I’ll have to withhold my judgement until I do but from the trailer, there seemed to be no hint at a truly serious element to the movie and the effect the real life events really had on people. It looked exactly as you said, rich boys on Spring Break. Given that asshats like the one the movie is based on are partly the reason the world economy crashed I’d find it hard to take if that’s all it is.

      (and yes I am aware they didn’t single handedly do it but as someone whose country is in financial meltdown as a result of corruption and greed by our government and banks and no one has been held accountable other than the average joe who has been expected to pick up the tab, this just leaves a sour taste for me)

      • MCraw says:

        Lindy, that’s exactly why I was extremely disappointed. There was no “moral of the story” element. Nothing that indicated why Leo’s character was bad for everyone else. They barely showed Coach Taylor and why he would care about the success of his case against the Wolf. Just a celebration of drugged up frat-boys. It was like a wanna-be Goodfellas of Wall Street and not nearly as good as the original.

    • Tapioca says:

      3 hours long AND Jonah Hill? No, thank you!

      The only film I’m currently wanting to see is Dead Snow 2…

    • Peppa says:

      I haven’t seen the movie, but I did read the book and it wasn’t serious at all and even though it’s a memoir, it’s written as if it were satire. The book was also incredibly long and Belfort showed absolutely no moral compass. I will probably end up renting it as opposed to seeing in the theater because I love Scorsese, but given the source material I can see why it would not be well liked.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      You’re not the only one that hated it–there’s a huge movement to boycott Wolf on Wall Street.

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      Everyone but my boss seem to hate it but she describes WOWS as some ground-breaking cinematic masterpiece and yesterday she spent about half an hour on telling me how wonderful it was and how I should see it. She even wished it was longer. She’s a serious, 51-year old woman, and it makes me wonder why would someone like her love a glorified Spring Breakers so much? She doesn’t even like DiCaprio.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t think it was a masterpiece, either. It struck me as bloated, and I’ve seen enough from the Rich People Behaving Badly genre that a movie of that sort needs to really be something special to catch my interest. This one wasn’t.

  4. Yeah, I read this on Yahoo!–apparently White’s entire table was loud and obnoxious the ENTIRE NIGHT. People nearby said that they could barely hear the speeches over them, especially if it was someone they didn’t like.

    McQueen’s son is so cute! He’s got an adorable grumpy face. I love his daughter’s hair–that’s how I wanted mine to look. Mine goes into an afro, unfortunately.
    His wife is dutch, right?

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Just classless people I guess. Why even invite this dbag to award ceremonies if he’s a known troll?

  5. Brown Eyed Girl says:

    some people are just a-holes. thats the end of it.

  6. lisa2 says:


    so why do we respect Critics again or give a shit about what they think. Such disrespect. you don’t have to like a film or agree with who wins or loses.. but have some respect. For yourself above all.

    I’m hoping Steve rides it all the way and FU to those that are mad by that.

  7. Leah says:

    It sounds kind of racist but i don’t know the context and anything about this critic ( i don’t know how intelligent he is). But calling a black person door man and garbage man does take on unfortunate connotations.

    • LL says:

      This critic is always been a jerk. Also, I don’t know if its been said but this critic is also black(I wish they posted his picture also). So have no idea what was behind his outburst but it probably was him being himself(or trying to get attention).

    • Godwina says:

      AW is African-American, so if he’s racist, it’s heavily internalized. Sad either way.

      • You can be black and be racist against other blacks. One good example is my aunt’s godmother. She became my particular aunt’s godmother BECAUSE this aunt had the lightest skin color of all of her siblings (and it’s not like my aunts, mom, and uncles were SO dark either)—she didn’t like dark skinned black people.

        That being said, I don’t know if he’s heckling because he’s an a-hole AND because Steve McQueen is a dark, black man.

      • Kiddo says:

        Anyone who heckles at an event like that, aside from being an a*hole, is probably already three sheets to the wind, as it is with most hecklers.

    • Leah says:

      Thanks for the info on the critic. I don’t really understand this, even if you dont like the movie its an important piece of history being brought to life. For him to attack Mqueens person just makes him seem off. To ad Mqueen is probably one of the more educated and intellectual directors working in Hollywood today.

      • Gauchita says:

        My sister used to date a black guy from Ghana (Africa) and he told her than in his country “black” means literally black, while brown is just a shade of white (pink), so he didn’t consider himself black, ’cause he was medium brown. He HATED that people saw him as black, he was racist. Let’s not forget most african countries/societies have been shaped by centuries of racist white europeans.

      • LAK says:

        Gauchita – Please read more about the rest of Africa and meet some more real life Africans before posting this sweeping generalisation.

    • Mairead says:

      If the critic was African, as opposed to being African-American it might be a classist thing.

      The funniest insult I’ve ever heard was a number of years ago when I was sharing a house with some Nigerians at the time. MySpace was the big thing back then and somehow we were discussing it, the type of people you meet online etc. (they weren’t members). They were very annoyed at me because I was being racist by not entertaining the creepy-ass African blokes that targeted new female members… So I showed them some of the messages I got complete with photos of them lurking about in the bush half-naked.

      One of the lads just started creasing himself laughing at this poor sap. The other however got so angry and insulted that this boy was shaming his country, he let loose a tirade against hi that ended with “he is nothing but a… a…. BUS CONDUCTOR!!!!!”

      It was the most random insult that the rest of us heard and that was it, we laughed for a good solid half-hour with himself muttering “bus conductor” to himself every so often. 😆

      • LAK says:

        That is funny.

        People never understand how classicist Africans are.

        My parents’ worst insult was always that we might be mistaken for ‘villagers’.

  8. Maya says:

    I am sincerely asking this question and I hope someone can give me a proper answer.

    Armond White is a black man himself. So does it count as racist when a black man calls another black man door man & garbage man?

    I am glad that 12 years a slave is getting the awards because it thoroughly deserves the acclaim. Hopefully it will also win all of the Academy Awards as well.

    • Mia4S says:

      Not only is the critic a black man, he’s also apparently gay and is known as a right-wing Christian conservative! I’m not sure I want to try and figure out his thinking on this heckling.

      What’s worse is that the news should be all about Harry Belefonte’s speech introducing McQueen. That was beautiful. I can’t find a link on my phone so if anyone does, please post.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “Not only is the critic a black man, he’s also apparently gay and is known as a right-wing Christian conservative!”

        What??? That’s just…..huh? what?

        I’m going to go back to 3 minutes ago, when I had never heard of this guy. I think I like it better that way.

      • Anon says:

        @TheOriginalKitten me too, it’s too cold to process or even think about the combo I just read “he’s also apparently gay and is known as a right-wing Christian conservative!”

      • lunchcoma says:

        Armond White is a professional troll. I can understand why people invite him to things, because he attracts controversy, but I don’t know why anyone would take his opinion seriously.

    • Renee says:

      Yes it is. People of color are racist towards one another frequently, both inter-racially and intra-racially.

  9. LadySlippers says:

    If you have to *ask* if it’s racist and hate speech — it’s probably because it is.

    • Mia4S says:

      Would it be too much to hope that the next doorman who recognizes White slams the door in his face?

      Also the ultimate comeback to being called a garbage man would simply be “so I earn a respectable living wage doing a labor-intensive, very important service? Why thank you!”

      White’s an elitist ass.

      • Izzy says:

        Nope, not too much to ask. I also don’t think it would be too much to ask all garbage men, or waste disposal specialists, as I think they deserve to be called, take their trucks full of other people’s trash and dump it on White’s lawn. And on his car. And if they can get to it, in his house as well.

        We’re all entitled to wish for karma, right?

        Why is that a-hole even allowed to attend those events? They should just stop inviting him altogether.

      • meh says:

        The ultimate comeback to being called a garbage man is “I know you are but what am I?”

  10. Kiddo says:

    If he pulls this type of stunt frequently, why is he still invited? Who does he work for? The net effect is that Steve McQueen got more attention, so was including him in the audience intentional to spice up an otherwise sedate event? I never heard of White before.

    One more question, is there any film that he has ever really liked?

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Oh, sorry, Kiddo, I didn’t see your post and said the same thing below. I don’t understand why he hasn’t been dropped from the guest list.

  11. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I thought Kaiser asked an excellent question – WHY do they continue to invite AW to these award ceremonies when he has behaved so badly?

  12. Chloe says:

    Since I’ve seen several of the nominated films already I think the chances of him winning Best Director are pretty good, he directed that movie like it was a piece of art, his scene shots were amazing and he could make scenes where there was no speaking by the actors talk for themself, which is pretty hard to do and many directors have failed. I have to admit I passed on Wold of Wall Street , but my movie buddies saw it and said it was a mess and I did not like American Hustle, it was long and boring, though I thought Amy Adams was great along with Christian Bale the other actors seemed to be overacting.

    • LAK says:

      Steve McQueen is an artist. He started out as an artist specialising in video installation. He was once nominated for the Turner prize before he turned to full time movies.

  13. Renee says:

    I’m not trying to be pedantic here but didn’t Ang Lee win a best director award for Brokeback Mountain so wouldn’t he have been the first director “of color” to receive one?

    • Kaiser says:

      Oh, that’s a good point! I was going to write “black director” but I thought that was too “on the nose” and I went for a more PC choice. I’ll change it.

  14. L says:

    Seriously, this guy has done this to someone every year for the last 3-4 years. He made Michelle Williams cry. He heckled legend HARRY BELLEFONTE at the same event this year. He’s not even writing for the NY paper anymore.

    They invite him because it gets headlines and gets the NYFCC press. Period.

  15. ashley says:

    I’m so proud of steve mcqueen!!! That heckler has issues,i can’t stand d-bags.

  16. aquarius64 says:

    Why is this jerk invited to events when he acts like this? Acting like an ass gets press…but so does one that gets the cops involved.

  17. Kiki says:

    Is the girl with curly hair his daughter? She’s so beautiful!

    • lisa2 says:

      Yeah she is very pretty. And his son is cute too. Look at that look on his face. He is not into it at all.

      Steve has a beautiful family.

  18. lucy2 says:

    I truly feel sorry for people like that. What a miserable way to live, always angry and striking out at people for no reason.
    I haven’t had a chance to see 12 Years yet, but I’m rooting for McQueen regardless just based on everything I’ve read about the film and the impact it’s had on the audience.
    His family is so cute too, especially his son’s expression in that photo!

  19. LAK says:

    Best to ignore trolls.

    Their comments are a reflection of them.

  20. Nanea says:

    Armond White has been trolling movies since forever.

    He hates Denzel as an actor with a passion and is convinced that the first movie that Denzel directed, Antwone Fisher, was a con job.

    He thought the movie Precious was damaging the Black community, he thinks Samuel L. Jackson is the ultimate Uncle Tom ( – and he preferred Ghost Rider to Zero Dark Thirty.

    • jaye says:

      This guy’s an asshat, but I wasn’t crazy about “Precious”, either. It was more of the same emotionally overwrought, predictable garbage that is a hallmark of a Tyler Perry production. (He and Oprah produced/financed the film). I found the movie to be VERY depressing. I know it wasn’t meant to be a feel good movie, but it was a definitely a one note movie.

      • Side-Eye says:

        I really liked the movie, but I think it would’ve been better if they would’ve stuck to the theme of the book more–Precious, a self-hating dark skinned woman, thought these aspects of her character are what made her unnattractive and unappealing and that being dark skinned and big were inherent negatives. That is, until the dark skinned teacher and all the other dark skinned women made her feel proud of her skin. It was a big deal that her looks didn’t make her a bad person, and Tyler Perry, in his usal fashion, made all the light skinned, pretty people the saviors. Defeating the purpose of Sapphire’s whole point against conventional beauty in the black community.

      • Nick says:


        It was Lee Daniel that directed Precious, not Tyler Perry. You made some good points about the movie though.

  21. Ashley says:

    Armond White was on the /filmcast recently to review 12 years and to say he was not a fan is an understatement.

  22. Aly says:

    I think the best director Oscar is gonna be either Alfonso Cuaron or Steve. I’m giving Alfonso the edge over Steve though not because I like the movie better necessarily, but I think Hollywood did. 12 years a slave was a fantastic film, but still weirdly controversial to some. I’ve not seen people gush over a movie in a long time like they did over Gravity. Plus the special affects and the Sandra Bullock factor…idk. It’s gonna be a close one.

    Either way I’ll be happy. A black and a Mexican have directed the two best films of the year (IMO) and how awesome that we will most likely see one of them up there. Which makes me wonder, has a Hispanic ever won an oscar for directing? Or would Alfonso be the first?

  23. moot says:

    Not a defender of Armond White (I’ve tried to understand where he’s coming from critically, but I can’t quite cover the gap), but he did reply to the accusations yesterday (also addressing the thing about heckling De Niro and Bening):

    • lunchcoma says:

      “Did I make sotto voce comments to entertain my five guests? Sure, but nothing intended for others to hear and none correctly “reported.”

      Yeah, unless he wants to own up to what he did actually say, I think I’m going to treat his denial with a big dose of skepticism. He’s on record as disliking this movie elsewhere, and I don’t think the repeated accusations of rude personal behavior are the result of an entire industry deciding to pick on him.

  24. Side-Eye says:

    This is the guy who said Transformers 2 was better than Synedoche, so his opinion means literally less than nothing.

  25. joan says:

    White claims he didn’t do it and that no one at his table did it — but witnesses said someone was yelling from back there.

    I actually liked hearing Scorsese got heckled, after all I’ve heard about his new film, but had the impression he wasn’t being given an award as it happened.

    The way this happened for this film just seems offensive.

  26. d b says:

    So, are you saying that McQueen will win because the other directors are weaker hands? That’s not exactly an endorsement.

  27. Jess says:

    McQueen had better get best director at the Oscars, and I love that pic of his son. Adorable! That critic is an a-hole.

  28. Kimberly says:

    BEFORE I saw some photos of Armond White, I automatically assumed that he was caucasian. Sorry, that was just pure ignorance on my part. I wonder if this award show pays him to say shi#t like this every year? And how much. It’s obviously a publicity stunt if they keep inviting him. Anyway, I’m so happy to hear that Steve won this award!! 😀 (before sour grapes spoiled his achievement)

  29. homegrrrl says:

    I literally wept at Toy Story 3, the moment when all the toys realized they were going to die, like youth, and innocence and the immersion in childhood magic…see…I’m weeping again. Okay, almost, but that drives the point home; this White guy is inappropriate. It’s very classy of McQueen to ignore the rants of the imbalanced and out of line. Hopefully they’ll have bigger bouncers at these events, because he should most definitely have been escourted out. Twelve years is really the only film I want to see this year; “Wolf” sounds like a glamorization, and I won’t see DiCaprio playing himself as a souless womanizer.

  30. Cece says:

    Wow!!! that made me angry.I was going to scream racism and feel so ashamed that this could happen,there of all places! I immediately assumed this ass was white (Im white for whatever purpose that need be said). Steve seems awesome! His film,epic! Im not sure that I cant even bear to see his film at this time but I truely believe its something in history that noone should miss. Just breaks my heart how horrible mankind can be. This, WWII so difficult to comprehend.Even today we all still see this. It still exists and people hate.The innocent suffer and others are judged and blamed for the sins of 100 years ago because it still exists. This must have been so difficult.Imagine going home and trying to sleep at night.

  31. Cece says:

    Oh,and this White character,he is a disgrace to everything he may believe he stands for. A man,a black man,a gay man and most of all he is no Christian. About as Christian as ‘Duck daddy’ and dont get started on that!

  32. Cece says:

    Im not gay either Mr White but I sure know what a *real* Christian values are.