Around the time that one might have thought Kanye West would be dining with Kim Kardashian on her 33rd birthday, he instead made a surprise appearance Monday night at the Hollywood Film Awards in Beverly Hills.
Just after 7:30 p.m., West opened the show by presenting an award to “12 Years a Slave Director” Steve McQueen (above right).
Two and a half hours later, West surprised Kardashian by proposing to her in an empty baseball stadium in San Francisco, 378 miles north.
“I flew in from San Francisco to deliver this award and I’m flying back tonight,” West told the crowd of industry heavyweights at the Beverly Hilton.
The table-talk over sorbet inside the ballroom, a gathering including Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Harrison Ford, Harvey Weinstein, Jared Leto, and Jake Gyllenhaal, chalked up West’s quickie visit as a professional commitment or a typical “Yeezus” idiosyncrasy.
“I’m going off teleprompter right now, so you might as well stop that (scrolling),” he opened from the stage, drawing the crowd’s uneasy laughter to frost his perma-agitation.
“I’ve always admired Steve’s work. I saw an exhibit of his at (Miami fine art festival) Basel earlier this year, and it’s amazing the way that he presented his work,” West said.
West has presented some of McQueen’s work himself, choosing a photograph of a haunting tree once used to hang slaves as the backdrop for his minimalist MTV VMA performance, “Blood on the Leaves” in August.
In a two minute tribute to the director, West echoed his rant-of-the season: that fashion and fine-art elites pigeon-hole, snub, and suppress commercially successful artists, like himself.
However in this speech, West revered McQueen as a peer who has broken the paradigm.
“For this guy to understand the sensibilities and be respected in that art world, and to be able to do actual high art, and also understand the sensibilities of story telling, and to mix those two worlds, is kind of an incredible statement for the artist of our new generation – to not be held in or boxed in.”
“Steve McQueen completely breaks the noise and breaks the madness and is respected across the board. And that’s the reason why I flew in from San Francisco to deliver this award, and I’m flying back tonight.”
West’s cameo at the star-heavy, awards-season-wishing-well event likely threw off his fiancé, and the media. Perhaps he acquired a new taste for stealthy awards attendance from a former bestie of his future wife: Paris Hilton.
During the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, Hilton walked the red carpet, did interviews, swallowed a brutal on-air tear-down from Sarah Silverman with stiff-upper-lip reaction shots, and then slipped out of Universal City and checked into jail while no one was looking.
The oddsmakers have yet to signal which project to “go long” on: “12 Years a Slave” or “Kardashian Matrimony III”.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/HFA2013/Getty Images for DCP)