When the New York Film Critics Circle named Girls Trip co-star and scene-stealer Tiffany Haddish the year’s Best Supporting Actress, it put her into serious Awards Season contention – to everyone, perhaps, but Haddish herself. “I didn’t know that existed,” she told The New York Times, of the critics’ organization. “I had to ask people, ‘What is the importance of it?’ Jada [Pinkett Smith] called me and told me, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ She was like, ‘Girl, it is an honor.’ And I said, ‘Why is it an honor?’ And she said, ‘It’s an honor because they don’t like people.’ I said, ‘Yeah they do, they gotta like somebody.’ And she said, ‘It’s really hard to get in. You did a good job.’ I still had to Google them to try to figure out how prestigious they were.”
At the group’s awards dinner last night, she joked more about her previous ignorance of the group: “The only critics I knew before this was Siskel and Ebert, and when they passed, I was like, ‘Oh well!’” That was but one of the highlights of an epic, 17½-minute acceptance speech that was equal parts raunchy comedy monologue, off-the-cuff improvisation, self-reflection (recalling the years in which the muted reception to her work prompted her to ask, “Does anybody even know I’m alive?”), affirmation (“It’s supposed to be now.”), inspiration (“Speak your truth! Be yourself! It’s the healthiest way to be!”) and across-the-room flirting with Michael B. Jordan – all the while sipping from her drink with the ace comic timing of George Burns puffing on his cigar while waiting for the laugh. “That might be too much information, but I don’t care,” she noted, late in the speech. “If this was a black party, everybody’d be laughing! I’m teaching y’all something today.”
NYFCC member Alison Wilmore caught the entire thing on her smart phone, and posted it with a “sorry in advance for the video quality.” Watch:
It’s said in some circles that a great acceptance speech for an earlier award is an important part of an Oscar campaign – because you’re showing the Academy how entertaining you’ll be on the big stage if you win. If that’s the case, Haddish has got this shit locked up.