Those who like to point out that the Golden Globes are the most fun awards show in Hollywood may not have experienced the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, which rival it as an unbuttoned affair where the biggest names in show business booze and schmooze, on and off camera.
Perhaps noticeably because of the camaraderie they engender between awards voters and contenders — although some might use a more profane term to describe the relationship — both kudocasts are put on by journalists — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Broadcast Film Critics Association, respectively.
But one has a huge Sunday night audience on NBC and one just changed networks from VH1 to the CW, where its ratings and awareness are expected to grow over time.
In case you missed them, the 18th annual CCMAs aired Thursday, Jan. 10, from Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar — an old airplane hangar all dressed up for the occasion — hosted by KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin.
Coincidentally, the ceremonies took place on the same day the Motion Picture Academy announced its Oscar nominations, which infamously left off the directors list one Ben Affleck (along with Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper.)
The critics made no such omissions (nor has the DGA) and Affleck and his hostage drama “Argo” were the toast of the CCMAs, foreshadowing in whose hands statuettes ended up Sunday night at the Golden Globes.
In one of those great acceptance speech lines that becomes a catchphrase, Affleck grabbed the best director prize and immediately proclaimed, “I’d like to thank the academy,” and then joked about receiving the one honor of the two that counts.
It turns out the broadcast critics’ choices were eerily similar to those of the HFPA, but let’s give credit where credit is due, the BFCA was the first to anoint Jessica Chastain as best actress in Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” Jennifer Lawrence as best comedy actress for “Silver Linings Playbook," Quentin Tarantino for his original screenplay "Django Unchained," Anne Hathaway for her supporting actress role as the tragic Fantine in "Les Miserables" and "Amour” as best foreign film. Not to mention the revered Daniel Day Lewis in his performance in "Lincoln."
All of those people, with the exception of Tarantino, were in attendance at the ceremony, as were other nominees and presenters, including Naomi Watts, Tommy Lee Jones, Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Harvey Weinstein, Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Sally Field, George Clooney and others too numerous to mention. But you get the idea: The event drew an A-list turnout that rivaled that of the Globes — minus the sizable contingent of middle people like agents and publicists. As one guest was heard to remark, "This is a real insider Hollywood crowd, without the BS, yet it’s so casual that it’s totally fun."
The fun began, as it often does, with a preshow cocktail reception. But during the actual two-hour broadcast, guests were encouraged to congregate at a bar inside the main "ballroom," which made for some nice bump shots going in and out of breaks.
Those commercial breaks also served as timed schmooze-fests during which guests table-hopped and offered their congratulations to the winners.
While the Globes had Jodie Foster taking the Cecil B. DeMille honorary award, the CCMAs honored Judd Apatow with the Louis XIII Genius Award.
And while Rubin’s hosting job, understandably, couldn’t begin to rival Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s comedic emcee abilities exhibited at the Golden Globes, we might offer a suggestion for next year’s edition of the CCMAs: Give the gig to Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell.