While my colleagues Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna are up in Park City for Sundance, I was holding down the fort in a hangar outside the Santa Monica Airport live-blogging the Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Voted on by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, these are a consistent bellwether for the Oscars. So, of course, on everyone's minds that evening were the Academy Awards nominations announced yesterday. All CCMA winners listed after the jump.
Big winners of the night were "American Hustle" for Best Comedy, Best Comedy Actress Amy Adams and Best Ensemble (the latter will likely repeat at the upcoming SAGs), "Gravity" (Director, Action Actress and tech prizes) and "12 Years a Slave," which the BFCA named Best Picture and crowned Lupita Nyong'o Best Supporting Actress, effectively breaking Jennifer Lawrence's recent streak.
Judging from uproarious applause for nominees Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, it's clear Hollywood isn't too pleased about their Oscar snubs. Speaking of shut-outs, "Blue Is the Warmest Color"'s Adele Exarchopoulos won the Young Actor award from the BFCA, one of last prizes she will likely pick up this season. "No one from my team is here, and I can't even drink to celebrate," the 20-year-old actress remarked in nervous English.
Best Actor was Globe-winner Matthew McConaughey, a possible upset at the upcoming SAGs and Academy Awards. For comedy actor, Leonardo DiCaprio repeated his Globes win, while "Wolf of Wall Street" continues to gain traction even amid controversy.
Among the elbow-rubbers on the red carpet were nominee Jonah Hill, looking sharp, winner Mark Wahlberg, looking small, svelte Brie Larson noshing on a souffle cup of Yogurtland, and dapper Oscar snub Daniel Bruhl, predicted supporting actor contender for "Rush" who didn't make the Academy cut. Chatting away on his iPhone on the fringes of the red carpet was Harvey Weinstein, who's having a good week since his "Philomena" made the best picture nine.
The audience wasn't swept away by host Aisha Tyler, whose crass joke about "12 Years a Slave" being so beautiful that it made her "want to go back to that time" seemed to piss off Oprah Winfrey.
But the charm of the evening's winners more than made-up for the lackluster emcee. Humble Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett, upon accepting her prize for "Blue Jasmine," thanked Woody Allen for creating "so many great roles for women," remarking that she was just the "lucky girl" who he happened to call. "My kids couldn't give a shit about what I do," she cracked, "but they should be grateful it is I, and not Jasmine French, who is their mother."
Supporting Actress nominee Julia Roberts took the stage to announce Best Picture and got big laughs. "This whole night has been like some strange Fellini movie I forgot was in my Netflix queue." That evening, she'd been sitting with "August: Osage County" pals Meryl Streep, Juliette Lewis and, of course, Harvey Weinstein, visibly pleased that in spite of mixed reviews, the film nabbed two Oscar noms.
Oscar Supporting Actor hopeful Barkhad Abdi, new in town for "Captain Phillips," looked overwhelmed as pushy publicists ping-ponged him from one camera crew to the next. Whether it was Aisha Tyler's off-color remarks or the many shut-outs for "12 Years a Slave" is anybody's guess, but Steve McQueen was not loving the evening, looking tense and uncomfortable. Never an awards circuit charmer, McQueen lost yet again to "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron. But he was thrilled to accept the Best Picture win.
But no one seemed happier that night than "Before Midnight" trio Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, beaming as they accepted the BFCA's Louis XIII Genius Award. "We're just glad people came out for a romantic comedy that isn't geared toward teenagers and the hopelessly naive," Hawke remarked as Delpy pushed the pair out of the way to announce, "I am the most romantic of the three of us, and the closest to genius." The three are up for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.
So what did we learn from this mixed-bag of an evening? Well, since the Broadcast Film Critics make up the largest critics group in the country, with over 250 members, it's the closest to a consensus vote we've had this awards season. At least among critics. The awards confirmed that "American Hustle," "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" are the films to beat, and they will go toe-to-toe at the Oscars on March 2nd, likely splitting across the main categories.