Accepting his Best Director nod for Carol from the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday night, Todd Haynes recalled arriving as a boy in New York from Los Angeles in 1970. “This award has a very special meaning for me, coming as it does from this most seminal city,” he told the audience of film critics, producers and creatives during the ceremony at Tao Downtown restaurant. Presenter Alec Baldwin read an excerpt from a recent Film Comment interview with Haynes, prompting the director to confess his slight embarrassment at hearing his own words before paying tribute to the setting and his hosts.
“I fell in love with this city from my very first visit, when I was nine years old … and 15 years later it was New York where I first entered the world, though in those days and in those years, as a gay aspiring film maker, there was no choice in the matter. The times and the place demanded it.”
It was a big night for Carol, winning for best film, screenplay and cinematography along with directing. On hand to present the awards were Tony Kushner (to Carol screenwriter Phyllis Nagy), Jim Jarmusch (to the late William Becker and Janus Films), Liam Neeson (to best actress winner Saoirse Ronan, for Brooklyn), Samuel L. Jackson (to absent honoree composer Ennio Morricone), Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon and Kevin Kline, among others.