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Things I Learned at the Critics Choice Awards

by Anne Thompson
January 12, 2013 10:18 PM
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Affleck and Cooper

What a week! Thursday morning started early at the Academy with the Oscar nominations and ended late with the Critics Choice Awards, held at a chilly hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. Some 250 broadcast and online pros vote for these awards, and they often match up with the Oscars. With a changed calendar this year, this first broadcast awards show of the Oscar season--days ahead of the Golden Globes--went live on the CW the afternoon of the Oscar nominations, so that was the hot topic of the night. (Full winner's list below.)

People debated the reasons why directors Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck and Tom Hooper were left out by the Academy directors' branch, as well as why "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Amour" did so surprisingly well. (Sexism, director still earning his stripes, and varying reactions to "Les Mis" were contributing factors, along with the glaring math of having nine best pictures and five best directors.)

Most insiders agree that three films are now in contention for best picture: Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," and David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." All three won prizes at the Critics Choice Awards. It was fun to watch grinning "Beasts" director Benh Zeitlin, who was sitting near my "Life of Pi" table, going over to meet Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis. (And no, Ang Lee has not yet read Eric Roth's script for "Cleopatra. It isn't finished.)

The surprise of the night was "Argo" winning the 2013 Critics Choice Awards, for both director and best film --producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov joined onstage the Oscar-snubbed Ben Affleck, who quipped, "I want to thank the Academy..."

The Critics' Choice and Golden Globes offer Oscar contenders a chance to practice their acceptance speeches. After getting a standing ovation, Best Actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis was witty and charming, calling Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner "fearless Sherpas," and said that making "Lincoln" was "one of the greatest unforeseen privileges of my life."

Oddly, Jennifer Lawrence was competing in three categories, for not only best actress but actress in a comedy and action film. She charmingly accepted awards in the latter two categories for "Silver Linings" and "Hunger Games," respectively.  "I love critics," she said. "I am the happiest I've ever been in my life."

"Silver Linings Playbook" got another boost for its Oscar campaign by winning best acting ensemble and best actor in a comedy for Bradley Cooper, who thanked David O. Russell for "a real script. He got all of us to be real." The film also won Best Comedy; Russell clarified, "it's' a comedy and a drama," and thanked his son, who inspired him in making the film.

Jessica Chastain, winning her first award, she said, took home best actress for "Zero Dark Thirty." "It was a great honor to play a woman defined by herself and not her male counterpart," she said. Both Lawrence and Chastain are expected to win in the separate comedy and drama categories at the Globes.

Nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis had a very good day with a best actress Oscar nomination and a win as best young performer at the Critic's Choice Awards, where she read her acceptance speech off a pink smart phone, and later danced joyfully at the after party

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More: Awards, Awards, Critics Groups


  • Edward Copeland | January 13, 2013 2:10 PMReply

    Doesn't Steve Rubin work on TV? I never watched Desperate Housewives and I knew it ended last year and Eva Longoria wasn't "currently" on the show. Also, didn't we update the last time a comedy won best picture stat when Shakespeare in Love won? Really, it should be even more recent since Chicago was a musical comedy. Gets the facts right for crying out loud.

  • Jamie | January 13, 2013 1:31 PMReply

    The whole show was worse that just bad. It was an overwhelming snooze fest that no one in their right mind would ever want to repeat in the future.

  • Remy | January 13, 2013 11:50 AMReply

    ""Why are we here?" asked Sally Field, who swears she will never go back again."

    Juicy! I get the feeling that what was happening in the audience was more fun than what was happening on stage.

  • Jules | January 13, 2013 8:49 AMReply

    Lighten up FYI...The BFCA Awards were about what I expected, really. I agree Anne, Jennifer Lawrence was charming in her acceptance speech as usual.

  • fyi | January 13, 2013 7:11 AMReply

    Anne, I watched the Critics Choice Awards-the most boring telecast ever. Anne Hathaway really didn't scold BFCA-she was being funny with no malice and she was very articulate. Now, I have seen Jennifer Lawrence accept awards on several shows, and this lady is not well-spoken. Jennifer can take some tips from Jessica Chastain and Hathaway on how to deliver good speeches with a modicum of intelligence. It is not charming to be inarticulate , but it is embarrassing.

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