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Inside the Critics Choice Movie Awards: Winners Are 'The Artist,' Clooney and Davis

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 13, 2012 at 1:38AM

The Critics Choice Movie Awards is a low-key, fun, fast-moving live TV show packed with movie folks eager to win. In other words, at the "Moneyball," "The Help," "War Horse" "The Descendants," "Hugo," "Bridesmaids," and "The Artist" tables, all those folks--from Sony's Amy Pascal to Fox Searchlight's Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula to Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese and Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio--wanted to win.
4
George Clooney
George Clooney

The Critics Choice Movie Awards is a low-key, fun, fast-moving live TV show packed with movie folks eager to win. In other words, at the "Moneyball," "The Help," "War Horse" "The Descendants," "Hugo," "Bridesmaids," and "The Artist" tables, all those folks--from Sony's Amy Pascal to Fox Searchlight's Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula to Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese and Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio--wanted to win.

What the night revealed, in many ways, is how all over the map this year's race really is. And I will bet that the final Oscars will resemble this set of winners. Last year, 18 out of 20 of the Critics Choice Movie Award winners, voted on by 250 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, went on to win Oscars. So the folks who won Thursday night were able to practice their acceptance speeches. (Oscar nomination ballots are due Friday by 5 pm).

Go ahead and file your Oscar predictions now for best picture "The Artist" and director Michel Hazanavicius (that could still go to Alexander Payne), EW Cover Couple George Clooney and Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer, and what Aaron Sorkin called "the U.S. Men's Olympic relay team," Sorkin and Steve Zaillian (adapted screenplay for "Moneyball," Sorkin's second year in a row) and no-show Woody Allen (original for "Midnight in Paris"), and so on (list of winners below).

"I don't know what best director means, strongest maybe, not best," said Hazanavicus, humbly deferring to Scorsese and Spielberg. Our table was "Moneyball" adjacent, so we got to see Brad Pitt limping in and out of the room with his cane during commercials. (Is he a smoker?)  Pitt hung out with his "Inglorious Basterds" co-star Diane Kruger and Clooney during the game of hopping musical chairs between awards. And when Clooney won, Pitt gave his bud a manhug and cheek buss.

"The Help" won an ensemble prize as well as best actress for Davis and supporting actress for Spencer. "I wanted to be somebody and dream big,"said Davis, who started studying acting when she was 14. She said southern women like the characters in "The Help" "gave birth to me and my mother."

Sean Penn accepted the Joel Siegel humanitarian award live via satellite from Haiti, from Clooney. He was fundraising for JPHRO. Martin Scorsese, who was introed by Leonardo DiCaprio and tributed by Bob Dylan in a rocking set, thanked jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt when he accepted the Music + Film Award, as well as his editors on such music docs as "The Last Waltz" and his winning CCMA doc, "George Harrison: Living in the Material World."

Winner of best foreign language film "A Separation," Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, said: "Differences between people in the world are not very important."

Accepting the prize for Best Comedy for "Bridesmaids," producer Judd Apatow said: "Jerry Lewis once said women aren't funny. With all respect, 'fuck you.'"

After losing best supporting actor to Christopher Plummer, Patton Oswalt said, "I gave David Denby a kidney for nothing. The rest of my evening is brought to you by the letter Scotch."

He was not the only one who drowned his sorrows at various afterparties around town--which will be ongoing through the Golden Globes weekend.

WINNERS OF THE 17TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE MOVIE AWARDS

BEST PICTURE     

“The Artist”

BEST ACTOR

George Clooney - "The Descendants"

BEST ACTRESS

Viola Davis - "The Help"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Christopher Plummer - "Beginners"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Octavia Spencer - "The Help"

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Thomas Horn - "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

“The Help”

BEST DIRECTOR

Michel Hazanavicius - "The Artist"

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

"Midnight in Paris" - Woody Allen

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

"Moneyball" - Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (TIE)

"The Tree of Life"

AND

"War Horse"

BEST ART DIRECTION

"Hugo"

BEST EDITING

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

"The Artist"

BEST MAKE-UP

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

BEST SOUND

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

“Rango”

BEST ACTION MOVIE

“Drive”

BEST COMEDY

“Bridesmaids”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“A Separation”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“George Harrison: Living in the Material World”

BEST SONG

"Life's a Happy Song" – The Muppets

Performed by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter

Written by Bret McKenzie and The Muppets

BEST SCORE

"The Artist"

JOEL SIEGEL AWARD

Sean Penn

CRITICS’ CHOICE MUSIC+FILM AWARD

Martin Scorsese

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Oscars, Critics Groups, Critics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.