12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen was heckled by a New York film critic as he accepted an award on Monday night (06Jan13).

The British filmmaker was presented with the Best Director honour by the New York Film Critics Circle for his retelling of the real life story of a free African-American who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

MCQueen took to the stage in tears to accept his award after being introduced by singer/actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, Jr., but the evening was made awkward by heckling from the back of the room.

Armond White, the editor of New York arts publication CityArts, whose opinions are often at odds with those of other film critics, called out, "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man. F**k you. Kiss my a**."

MCQueen appeared not to hear the taunting and thanked the critics group for honouring him with the award, at which point White heckled him again, according to Variety.com.

It is not the first time White has badgered stars during the NYFCC Awards - in 2011, he sniped at Michelle Williams and Annette Bening for their winning performances, and in 2012, he heckled Robert De Niro and Viola Davis while they were speaking on stage.