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Film critic Armond White heckles '12 Years' director Steve McQueen

Film critic Armond White heckles '12 Years' director Steve McQueen
"12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen at the New York Film Critics Circle Award (Cindy Ord / Getty Images)

Not content to let his writing speak for itself, the famously contrarian film critic Armond White jeered "12 Years a Slave" helmer Steve McQueen while the latter was accepting a directing award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Monday night.

According to a Variety report, McQueen had just accepted his prize from presenter Harry Belafonte when White shouted from his back table, "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man," followed by a string of expletives. McQueen either didn't hear the comments or ignored them and thanked the critics group for the award.

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White, a well-known provocateur and former chairman of the NYFCC, previously panned McQueen's film, calling it "torture porn," "a repugnant experience" and "ultimate proof that Hollywood's respect for Black humanity is in absurd, patronizing, Oscar-winning decline."

Those opinions put White squarely in the minority, as "12 Years a Slave" is widely seen as an awards season front-runner and has met with widespread critical acclaim, notching a sterling "96% fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

For comparison, White found the recent comedy "Grudge Match," starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro as two over-the-hill boxing rivals, to be "the most purely entertaining movie released during the Christmas season," one with "mythic undertones." That film has a "24% fresh" rating.

As they say, there's no accounting for taste.

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