news reel

Clooney, Freeman, and Gyllenhaal at the NBR Gala

During the speeches at last night’s National Board of Review Awards, there was so much back-and-forth banter between the nominees and presenters, we wondered if they’d all traded their jokes in advance in order to better prepare witty comebacks. Or maybe they brought their speechwriters along to the dinner? Highlights, after the jump.

Morgan Freeman, on sharing his best actor award with George Clooney:
“I deeply, deeply, want to express my appreciation to the National Board of Review for not settling for George Clooney.”

George Clooney, accepting his best actor award after having been described as a “hunk”:
“Where’s Morgan? You hear that Morgan? That’s right, pal. Nelson Mandela? Hunk!”

Walter Kirn, Up in the Air author, on having screenwriters Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman adapt his novel:
“What it’s like to have your novel adapted into a large-screen work of mass entertainment? A prison rape … It’s like being roofied one night in a bar, waking up with your face covered in bandages, realizing you’ve had extensive plastic surgery whose results you will not be able to see for 28 months, until the bandages are removed and the film is released.”

Jason Reitman, accepting the best adapted screenplay award:
“Walter, I hope I get to prison-rape you many times in the future again. Oh yeah, I look forward to roofying you again, everything you said.”

Gabourey Sidibe, accepting her breakthrough performance award:
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. And George Clooney, let’s get a drink.”

Clooney, best actor, an hour and many speeches later:
“I’ll see you at the bar.”

Clooney on Up in the Air director Jason Reitman:
“I’m here only because of Jason Reitman. He is incredibly talented. He made a beautiful film. He, uh, he’s 32, so you know what? Fuck him. I don’t like him at all.”

Reitman on George Clooney:
“You actors mean the world to me. Particularly you, George, for being so brave to take on a role that is so different from who you are, to simply disappear in this character who doesn’t want to settle down, is a great honor.”

Reitman, thanking Marlo Thomas, who was there to present an award to Anna Kendrick:
“People talk to you about the women in my movies, and how they are written, and I love writing movies for women, and Marlo Thomas, I burned that record of Free to Be You and Me to the ground. I played it so many times there’s no more acetate on the record. ‘Mommies are people, people with children/When mommies were little, they used to be girls like some of you, but then they grew, and now mommies are women/Women with children, busy with children and things that they do/There are a lot of things, a lot of things a mommy can do.’ Thank you, Marlo.”

Clooney, Freeman, and Gyllenhaal at the NBR Gala