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Robert De Niro claims awards speech censored to remove political comments

Robert De Niro appeared confused during his live speech at the Gotham Awards, claiming the autocue had been edited to remove comments which included criticism of former US president Donald Trump.

The 33rd annual ceremony took place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York with Hollywood stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Penelope Cruz, Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Laura Dern among those attending.

During the live ceremony, Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon was honoured with the historical icon and creator tribute award.

2023 Gotham Awards – Arrivals
Leonardo DiCaprio attends the Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in New York (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/PA)

Two-time Academy Award winner De Niro appeared on stage to honour the US filmmaker, but appeared to struggle reading the autocue before noting there was a “mistake”.

He said: “I’m going to go back, I’m sorry. There was a mistake in this. I’ll keep going. Just keep scrolling. Can we go back? Sorry.”

After a short film about Scorsese was shown, De Niro told the audience: “I just want to say one thing. The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out, I didn’t know about it. And I want to read it.”

He continued: “History isn’t history anymore. Truth is not truth, even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness… lying has become just another tool in the charlatan’s arsenal.

“The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four years in office, and he’s keeping up the pace in his current campaign of retribution, but with all his lies, he can’t hide his soul.

“He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature and shows disrespect for example by using Pocahontas as a slur,” referencing the former president’s nickname for Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“This is where I came in and I saw that they edited all that.”

2023 Gotham Awards – Arrivals
Lily Gladstone (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/PA)

De Niro appeared to suggest he was supposed to thank the Gotham Awards, but did not want to “for what they did”, referencing cutting his speech.

“How dare they do that actually,” he added.

Flowers Of The Killer Moon star Lily Gladstone accepted the award on behalf of Scorsese and later picked up the top prize, winning outstanding lead performance for her role in The Unknown Country.

Barbie, Maestro, Ferrari and Rustin also received tribute awards.

2023 Gotham Awards – Arrivals
Margot Robbie attends the Gotham Independent Film Awards (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/PA)

Margot Robbie and director Greta Gerwig appeared on stage to collect the global award for Barbie, with star Robbie noting: “Having audiences around the world wear pink and show up to the movie theatre has literally been a dream come true.”

Gerwig said the “most charming” part about Robbie is that she “can’t sing”.

Maestro star Bradley Cooper said it is an “understatement” that playing late composer Leonard Bernstein in the upcoming Netflix biopic had a “profound impact on my life”.

“The journey that we went on in telling the story as authentically and as truthfully as we could, it never would have happened without the support and love of Jamie, Alexander and Nina (Bernstein),” Cooper said on stage.

The Bernstein children defended Cooper’s use of make-up to amplify the resemblance of the late composer, which came under fire for what critics called not using acting to “get the power of the man’s story and Jewishness”.

2023 Gotham Awards – Arrivals
Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan attend the Gotham Independent Film Awards (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/PA)

Ferrari star Adam Driver praised filmmaker Michael Mann for his upcoming biography of Enzo Ferrari.

“He profoundly cares and will go to great lengths to create something that is immersive and deeply felt as films are to him… humanity to Michael is key,” Driver said.

Ali Wong, who won outstanding performance in a new series, thanked creator Lee Sung Jin for taking a chance on her to star in Beef because “I know you originally envisioned the role for Stanley Tucci”.

Beef also won breakthrough TV series under 40 minutes.

Charles Melton won outstanding supporting performance for his role in May December, opposite Moore and Portman – who gave him a hug after it was announced.

He beat Ryan Gosling for his role in Barbie, British star Claire Foy for All of Us Strangers and Jamie Foxx in They Cloned Tyrone, a week after Foxx was accused of sexual assault while at a New York rooftop lounge in 2015.

A representative for Mr Trump has been contacted for comment.