Complete disclosure: this prognosticator is not a fan of the Critics Choice Awards.
With so many legitimate critics groups giving out awards in December and January and the advent of the Globes and SAG Awards, a "fourth" star-studded event just doesn't seen necessary. To make matters worse, the majority of the members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association aren't real critics. Most are just the TV reporters who appear on your local news in markets across the country. Some of them are major quote whores who will say almost anything positive about a movie to make a studio happy (cough, Shawn Edwards, Fox TV) and, sadly, many of them have incredibly questionable taste. Their organization seems to only exist to service this awards show (and get on the screener circuit because of it). For all their faults at least the HFPA uses its muscle and money to donate large sums to charity and non-profit filmmaking endeavors. That said...
...attending the show was a blast.
(Ah, the guilt.)
Again, it's unclear where the Critic's Choice Awards fit into awards season at all or if nominations or wins are even a legitimate marketing tool for the films recognized. However, the show VH1 put on and the starpower on hand Friday night was very impressive. Hints that the Critic's Choice could start becoming a real red carpet event began when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt started showing up three years ago (they skipped out this year), but besides George Clooney, almost every player who will be at the Globes on Sunday found their way to Hollywood Friday afternoon for this show. So, with that in mind, here are 10 things I learned sitting in the audience at the 15th Annual Critics Choice Awards.
Of course 200 members is enough for a tie in one of your biggest categories two years in a row
Somehow, the BFCA has managed to statistically vote a tie in the Best Actress category for two years in a row. 2009's winners saw Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway both winning for "Doubt" and "Rachel Getting Married" respectively and this year Streep and Sandra Bullock tied for "Julie and Julia" and "The Blind Side." It made for great TV as everyone's on the Bullock bandwagon (not that we're complaining), but c'mon. We're not buying this was just the membership's honest votes. Be careful BFCA, if you want to be seen as a legit prize you need to run a squeaky clean operation and not raise eyebrows.
Stars come in all different shapes and sizes
This pundit has met almost all the talent at the Critic's Choice awards tonight, but put them all next to each other and some thing really stand out. Chris Pine and Adam Lambert? Either both were wearing shoes with extremely high lifts or they are each at least 6 feet tall. Host Kristin Chenoweth is beyond petite. Cameron has aged more than you'd expect in the ten years since 'Titanic.' Anton Yelchin is growing up quick and Sandra Bullock still looks freakin' amazing for 45.
Death Cab for Cutie's John Hughes tribute will be hard to top
As Jason Reitman mentioned during his acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay, the rock band's performance of Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" from John Hughes' "The Breakfast Club," was a fantastic and moving tribute to a key figure of 80s cinema. Not sure how the Academy Awards can top this one with their planned tribute.
The Hollywood Palladium is a great venue for Awards Shows
Beyond the easy in, easy out, convenient bathrooms and great sight lines, the newly renovated Palladium should certainly host the next Critics show and possibly some others. The stage set up is more dramatic than the Globes and the side balconies brought a sense of intimacy to the room. Considering how cramped the Beverly Hilton is for the Globes, the HFPA should consider it. You could have the after parties within walking distance (literally the next block) at the new W Hotel. (Yeah, they'll never do it, but pitching it was worth a shot.)
Mo'Nique silences her doubters...sort of
The bashing of "Precious" star and Best Supporting Actress frontrunner Mo'Nique has gone through waves through the season, but seems to flare up anytime a lull occurs on the Oscar beat. The acclaimed actress and comedienne has won almost every award in this category, but due to her commitments to her new TV show (i.e., her livelihood) and her family she's been labeled a "diva" for not appearing at every possible awards circuit stop. Well, if she repeats the fantastic and moving acceptance speech she gave tonight at the Globes, those whispers should officially stop.
The material wasn't up to host Kristin Chenoweth's standards
Chenoweth is one talented actress, singer and performer, but from the opening number to the taped bits (nice, a random "Orphan" reference for the three people who saw the movie) to the random moments within the crowd the writers continually failed her. Watching the teleprompter during the show, Chenoweth did a good deal of her own improvising, but she could only do so much. Hopefully she gets another chance with better writers down the road.
The director of "The Cove" has no problems with making waves
First, Louie Psihoyos gave the look of death to Jason Bateman for thinking he wasn't there when he was taking his sweet old time coming up to the stage. Then, "The Cove" director called out members of the audience for not seeing his doc yet and reminding them it was PG-13 and they had nothing to be afraid of. Clearly, he doesn't either.
Something is wrong when big stars show up and lose...at the Critics Choice.
It's one thing to have big stars like Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman and Julianne Moore show up and sit through a show broadcast on VH1 with no shot of winning, but when the legendary Paul McCartney is there without a shot in heck of walking on stage it's a tad embarrassing. This is the Critics Choice Awards, not the Globes, Grammys Emmys or Oscars. These really aren't the critics or peers you need to be kissing up to.
Jason Bateman's beard is really unflattering
Apologies for being catty, but damn he looked like a homeless person walking into the show. Big fan of Bates, so let's hope it's for a role and not a personal choice.
That Nick Jonas Band thing didn't work
All this pundit is saying is that during the commercial breaks Jonas and his band would play cover songs and the singular "bro" couldn't remember the lyrics. He just kept singing the chorus. Over and over. Really.
What did you think of the Critics Choice Awards this year? Do we really need this event? Share your thoughts below.