There are legendary moments in history that you could never recreate these days, like that time Robin Williams was required to step in and help out a completely baked Jack Nicholson with his acceptance speech during the 8th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards.
The year was 2003. The ceremony had arrived at the category of Best Actor. Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated for Gangs of New York, Jack Nicholson was nominated for About Schmidt, and Robin Williams was nominated for One Hour Photo.
The decision came to a tie. Both Day-Lewis and Nicholson would take home the award. The former ascended to the stage and offered your conventional, gracious acceptance speech. The latter… was Jack Nicholson. So conventional was never really on the cards. And just to make things a little spicier, he’d also gotten wailing high beforehand. We’re not talking about a quick honk of that bobo, either. We’re talking – as a certain comedian would say – 1970s, jean jacket, Bad Company high.
Ever the versatile operator who was quick to think on his feet despite the slight mental impairment, Jack Nicholson called upon his dear friend, Robin Williams – who was also the only nominee to come up empty-handed. Naturally, inviting someone with that much manic energy and that level of razor-sharp improvisational wit was like throwing a molotov cocktail into the dynamite factory. Williams came out of the gates swinging, Nicholson accent and all…
“What Jack is trying to say here… is he’s so happy to be here he could drop a log.”
The contrast just makes for a delicious viewing experience. You have Williams running a thousand miles a minute, Nicholson zooted out of his mind, unsure of what to do with his hands, and just drifting in and out of focus/this dimension; all on national television, no less. This is the stuff of friendships that transcend lifetimes.
“Tell ’em, Jack. Tell ’em like it is, because you’re the Buddha of show business.”
But enough talk. This is something you just have to experience for yourself. Hit the video above and enjoy the next six minutes of Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson at their very finest (skip to 2:06 for the real action).