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Chelsea Handler ‘Goes Rogue’ at Critics Choice Awards, Invites Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie to Give Impromptu Acceptance Speech for ‘Barbie’

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The run of show for the Critics Choice Awards got a surprise update when host Chelsea Handler decided to “go rogue” and call Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie to the stage.

Gerwig and Robbie’s “Barbie” had picked up a host of awards during the evening, but many were presented during the commercial breaks, including best comedy. That wasn’t going to work for Handler, who dedicated a good portion of her monologue to saluting “Barbie” for its $1.4 billion box office achievement and cultural relevance amid “The Year of the Woman.”

“I’m gonna go rogue because Greta and Margot deserve the opportunity to make an acceptance speech,” Handler said. “Would you mind coming up and accepting the award?”

The camera cut to Gerwig and Robbie, who excitedly scrambled to the stage from their table.

“Thank you, Chelsea. We love you so much,” Robbie said onstage. “You know, when everyone is like ‘Oh, this is so unexpected. This is actually unexpected and was not a part of the show.’ We were very grateful nonetheless and I’d like Greta to talk.”

The filmmaker began by thanking Handler too: “We were excited in our chairs. And it’s nice to be up here. Thank you to everyone that helped make the movie. I laughed during most takes. Because of our beautiful cast — Margot and Ryan and America [Ferrera] — who got to be as brilliant as they are.”

Gerwig then thanked the corporations behind the film — Mattel for “letting us take their beloved icon and make something so unhinged” and Warner Bros. for “standing behind us every step of the way.” She saved her final shoutout for Noah Baumbach, her co-writer and new husband. “We wanted to make everyone laugh and we made the world laugh, too.”

By this point, “Barbie” had won awards for original screenplay (Gerwig and Baumbach), original song (“I’m Just Ken”), production design (Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer), costume design (Jaqueline Durran) and hair and makeup. Picking up the best comedy prize meant the film had won six out of its record-setting 18 nominations — which included best picture, director, actress (Robbie), supporting actor (Ryan Gosling), supporting actress (America Ferrera) and three for original song.

Plus, Ferrera was honored with the Critics Choice SeeHer Award and delivered a powerful speech that evoked her viral monologue from the movie, looking back at her two-decade career and dedicating the award to “every kid yearning to break in.”

“I’m deeply thankful for this acknowledgment and this honor for my contributions to more authentic portrayals of women and girls,” Ferrera began. “I couldn’t be more meaningful to me because I grew up as a first-generation Honduran American girl in love with TV, film and theater who desperately wanted to be part of a storytelling legacy that I could not see myself reflected in.”

She continued: “Of course, I could feel myself in characters who are strong and complex, but these characters who are strong and complex, but these characters rarely, if ever, looked like me. I yearned to see people like myself on screen as full humans. When I started working over 20 years ago, that seemed impossible.”

But, thanks to writers, directors, producers and executives — like Robbie and Gerwig — who “were daring enough to rewrite outdated stories and to challenge deeply entrenched biases,” Ferrera and her Latino colleagues have been “supremely blessed to bring to life some fierce and fantastic women.”

It’s about carving out a pathway for the new generation of talent, like Ariana Greenblatt, who played Ferrera’s daughter in “Barbie,” Jenna Ortega and Selena Gomez.

“This is the best and highest use of storytelling: to affirm one another full humanity. To uphold the truth. That we are all worthy of being seen — Black, brown, Indigenous, Asian, trans, disabled, any body type, any gender. We are all worthy of having our lives richly and authentically reflected.”

America Ferrera accepts the Critic’s Choice SeeHer Award at the 29th Critics Choice Awards.
Michael Buckner for Variety