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Lady Gaga sheds tears, Martin Scorsese makes surprise appearance at NYFCC event

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 3/21/2022 Anika Reed, USA TODAY
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NEW YORK — Lady Gaga shared a lot of "big feelings" — and some tears — as she accepted a best actress award Wednesday night for her role in "House of Gucci."

The singer and actress, who starred in the 2021 biographical crime drama as Patrizia Reggiani, took home the honor during the New York Film Critics Circle gala at Manhattan's Tao Downtown, marking her first major award win this season for her leading role in the film.

In giving her the recognition, she said, the critics organization also "recognized all the women in my family, because it was through them that I was able to create the heart and soul of this character, the one that she deserved."

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"These women taught me how to have big feelings in a man's world and that having big feelings is beautiful," she said, fighting back tears. "And having big feelings also, to a lot of the world, people think it's really ugly. And they think women with big feelings are ugly. But it's not ugly. It's just real. And for me it's Italian.

"It's who we are. We're hard work and big feelings. And also meatballs," she said to laughter from the crowd. "Or actually in Italy, like meatballs aren't a real thing. It would be ragú."

Calling her "an actress (who) has brought commitment, emotion and truth to her performances," Guillermo del Toro appeared virtually to present Lady Gaga with the award, winding down an evening filled with unexpected appearances, emotional speeches and film's elite.

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New York stalwart Scorsese arrived on stage (one of the few times "they let me out," he said) to a standing ovation before showering praise on "The Power of the Dog" director Jane Campion, who took home best director.

"It's a precious thing to have an artistic voice as powerful as Jane's developing over time. It's like a great ongoing conversation, and it's something that shouldn't be taken for granted," Scorsese said.

The veteran director flanked the stage as Campion accepted the award for her Western drama, which leads the Oscars pack with 12 nominations, including four acting honors and best picture.

NYFCC's "support (of 'Power of the Dog') raised our spirits as it raises them tonight. And to have you, Marty, be here and present it as well," Campion said, her voice cracking as she thanked Scorsese. (Her recent acceptance speech for her best director win Sunday at the Critics Choice Awards sparked backlash and resulted in an apology from the New Zealand director following comments she made about Venus and Serena Williams.)

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Best actor and best supporting actor went to the film's stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee, both of whom were not on hand to accept their awards due to filming movies across the pond. But Sam Elliott, who previously criticized "Power of the Dog" and its portrayal of the West, wound up in the line of fire during The Hollywood Reporter film critic David Rooney's intro for Cumberbatch.

"I assume I get this honor because I'm probably the only antipodean in the New York Film Critics Circle. Also because Sam Elliott was unavailable," Rooney said. "He's busy in his day job as the gatekeeper of Western mythology."

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Al Gore attends the New York Film Critics Circle Awards gala at Tao on March 16, 2022, in New York. © Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Al Gore attends the New York Film Critics Circle Awards gala at Tao on March 16, 2022, in New York.

Former Vice President Al Gore was also on hand to accept a special award on behalf of late film executive Diane Weyermann, who earned the honor for supporting daring and impactful filmmaking. Weyermann, who died in October, championed Gore's 2006 documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

Weyermann "wanted to ensure that the stories she told didn't just end when the credits rolled," Gore said. "I take comfort in the knowledge that her legacy lives on in every person who has drawn inspiration from the stories she told."

Japanese director Ryuichi Hamaguchi, honored with the best picture award for "Drive My Car," poses at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards gala at Tao on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in New York. © Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Japanese director Ryuichi Hamaguchi, honored with the best picture award for "Drive My Car," poses at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards gala at Tao on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in New York.

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The final award of the night went to Japanese drama "Drive My Car" for best picture, and director Ryusuke Hamaguchi was "in disbelief."

"Everything is so unreal to me," he said. "I'm really not understanding what's going on because there's Lady Gaga first and now (director) Jim Jarmusch is giving me this award."

Hamaguchi, whose acclaimed road film is up for four Oscar nominations including best picture, said though a film might not "necessarily change the world, maybe watching a film is to maintain ourselves, but maybe (it will) change ourselves a little bit at a time. But I think that 'little bit' is a little bit of a change in the world."

Best first film award honoree for "The Lost Daughter," director Maggie Gyllenhaal, left, and husband Peter Sarsgaard attend the New York Film Critics Circle Awards gala at Tao on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in New York. © Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Best first film award honoree for "The Lost Daughter," director Maggie Gyllenhaal, left, and husband Peter Sarsgaard attend the New York Film Critics Circle Awards gala at Tao on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in New York.

Other notable winners and presenters included Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Thomas Anderson, Renate Reinsve, Abbi Jacobson and Benny Safdie.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lady Gaga sheds tears, Martin Scorsese makes surprise appearance at NYFCC event

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