Throughout all of this evening, which took place sans dinner at the ironically named Supper Club, Matt Damon worked the room without a publicist.
"Did you come alone?" I asked the always cheerful and still not corrupted star of "The Departed and "The Good Shepherd."
"Well, my wife was going to come but she wasn’t feeling well," he replied.
I had meant, where is the publicist? But Damon persevered, and every actor should take a cue from him. He managed to have conversations with filmmakers and press people without any trouble. It was almost, uh, normal.
Does he think Jack Nicholson minded being snubbed by the SAG Awards this week, I asked him?
Damon started laughing heartily. "I don’t think so," he said. "I don’t think he cares about this stuff at all, do you? He’s Jack." Good point.
But it fell to Matt Damon to remind people that some serious matters were at hand, specifically "United 93," the best picture selection of the New York criterati.
Even though he and Mr. Greengrass became friends while making "The Bourne Supremacy," (they are currently shooting "The Bourne Ultimatum") Mr. Damon admitted that he found himself reluctant to go see the film.
"I wasn’t rushing out to see it," he said, explaining that he had been in lower Manhattan on that day, and knew people who had died in the attacks.
"But eventually I did see it," Mr. Damon added. "It was a very tough experience, I have to say, but I was really glad that I saw it when all was said and done."
Matt Damon, there to present the best-picture award to his friend Paul Greengrass for "United 93," summed up the importance of the NYFCC honor best: "They’re in line with the Academy Awards like 40 or 50 percent of the time, but when they’re not, it’s when the Academy gives it to ‘How Green Was My Valley,’ and they give it to ‘Citizen Kane’; when the Academy gives it to ‘Dances With Wolves’ and they give it to ‘Goodfellas.’ You’re on the right side of history tonight."
After Mr. Greengrass’s speech, there was a mass exodus, but Guillermo Navarro, the cinematographer, hung out at the bar."“Hey, this is my green card," he joked, showing the Baguette the paper certificate for Best Cinematographer, which he won for "Pan’s Labyrinth."
Mr. Damon was there, too, nursing a beer. The Baguette asked if he paid for it himself? "Yeah I did. I paid for it," he said. "Seven dollars. Actually I gave her a $20 because my wife is a bartender. People don’t normally tip at these things."