If you’re prepared to forgive Bill Murray for being the lone impediment to the progress of Ghostbusters 3, all you have to do is read his speech introducing Sofia Coppola at the National Board of Review Awards last night. The event was full of charming introductions and thank-yous (even Christian Bale came off well — he joked that he’s found his The Fighter role so hard to shake that the actresses he’s about to screen-test opposite for The Dark Knight Rises “will be the first to get to see Dickie as Batman”), but no one had the crowd roaring like Murray, who introduced his Lost in Translation director with a delightfully deranged speech delivered while sucking on candy. Here it is in its entirety. (Also, check out Vulture’s guide to sitting next to Murray at dinner.)
“They told me I have two minutes. I’m going to pop this Red Hot [candy, pops in mouth] so I’ll be finished in two minutes [mumbling with candy in mouth]. Why do you give this award? Why? Because you have to throw a party. Because you have to compete with the Golden Globes. [Cheers.] We all asked that question. You’re able to get out tonight, celebrate — without your relatives — you earned, you deserve it.
But why do you give it to Sofia Coppola? Why? Because you want to encourage her, I think. I think that’s the real reason. Look at her. Look at her! She comes from a family, mother and father both very successful, creating entertainments, amusements and thought-provoking work. She wrote a spec script for The Virgin Suicides. The ambition of these young people! Can you believe it? The ambition! She got the job as the director. She directed Lost in Translation in another country in another language, and got a prize for it. [Pause.] God, this is a hot, hot Red Hot. But I’m not going to quit on you people, because I’ve got another half in my pocket. [Pulls out of pocket and puts in mouth.] I got one-and-a-half in my mouth right now. [Mumbling.]
Then she decided to work in France to do Marie Antoinette, a woman who was beheaded. Not a sympathetic creature, you know what I mean? A lot of directors would pass on that. Who do you root for? You know? She did a beautiful, beautiful movie. And now she did this Somewhere, which takes place … somewhere. I know — it’s the West Coast, Southern California based.
So why do you give this person an award? You give them an award because they need to be encouraged. You look around this room and you can look around the world of film, and you can see people that had great success early in their career. Some earned it, some were lucky, some got it, but at a certain point they live life. They get into life, like Sofia has gotten into life. She’s married. Now she’s got a French lover, [Phoenix front man Thomas Mars]. She has two beautiful children by this French lover. And I, for one, am sick of these directors with the homely kids. I can’t stand it anymore. She’s got beautiful children, and she lives with a man who is the only Frenchman that could play rock and roll, ever. Fuck Johnny Hallyday! [Audience roaring, gasping.] Pardon my French.
So why do you encourage these people? Because now she’s had this success, she’s had this work, she has this life, she has this family, she has this thing going, and now is when people like you have chosen well to say, ‘Let’s give this person another boost, let’s give this person another boost to say keep going, because now life will come to you hard, like it’s come to everyone that’s lived long enough. It comes hard and it gets in the way of your career; it stops your career, it stunts your life — not necessarily your life, but it definitely will make your career go left. You show me an actor doing a shit movie, I’ll show you a guy with a bad divorce. [Audience laughs.] Right? Right? [Looking around the room.] You know who I’m talking about.
I want the best for her because she’s a lady. She acts like a lady, the women in her movies are ladies, they have strength and power and they’re strong. Even the pole dancers in this latest movie have enough of themselves to call the lead actor a moron. As all you women should call your men this evening, I think, pole or not. So we’ll give her a boost to say, go on, you’ve made it this far, push her out into the deep water, push her out into bigger and deeper films, more and more films. She has a beautiful eye. She has great taste in the people she chooses to work with. She’s a kind and thoughtful director and editor and producer. She’s all the things that we hoped we could be when we were like this. She’s been lucky so far, and she’s been strong so far. Let’s keep her going. I appreciate your asking her to receive this award for filmmaking achievement. Ms. Ms. Ms. Sofia Coppola.”