Quvenzhané Wallis was savoring a chocolate-covered strawberry when we asked her to name her favorite part of awards season. "All of it," said the precocious star of Beasts of the Southern Wild as she took in the starry crowd at the National Board of Review Awards dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York on Tuesday night. Wallis, who received the Breakthrough Actress award was among a group of honorees that included Bradley Cooper (Best Actor), Ben Affleck (Special Achievement in Filmmaking for Argo), Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Supporting Actor), Kathryn Bigelow (Best Director) and Jessica Chastain (Best Actress)
Zero Dark Thirty also took Best Film honor and, despite the presence of nine-year-old Wallis in the room, Chastain's often-repeated line from the movie, "I'm the motherfucker that found this place, sir," — a reference to the compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding — was riffed on all night, with awards emcee Meredith Vieira declaring at the beginning of the ceremony that she was "the motherfucker" running the show. From there, the f-bomb was dropped freely and frequently by Chastain, Affleck, James Gandolfini and the refreshingly bawdy Vieira, who was one of the highlights of the night. After Daniel Craig joined James Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli onstage for a tribute to 007, Vieira told the crowd: "So James Bond is 50 and he still looks good. I'm 59 and I feel like Dead Pussy Galore."
Chastain got the night's highest compliment from Al Pacino, who worked with a then-unknown actress on Broadway in Salome in 2006. The Hoo-ah! King told the crowd that the red-headed beauty is the "incarnation of Bette Davis" and predicted she'd have a career as fruitful as Meryl Streep.
Bigelow also continued defending the depiction of torture — and its effectiveness in extracting information leading to the whereabouts of bin Laden — in Zero Dark Thirty, with a single koan-like sentence: "Depiction is not endorsement" that is bound to draw some blowback in and of itself.
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