It was a night of fresh faces being anointed and returning favorites being rewarded with more acclaim at the fifth annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards.
The awards, considered by many to be a precursor to the Emmys, are voted on by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) and were presented at the Beverly Hilton Sunday night at a gala hosted by Cat Deeley, which was broadcast live on A&E.
In what many have felt was a very long time coming, FX’s spy drama “The Americans” — which recently completed its third season — took the prize as best drama while the second season of “Silicon Valley” (HBO) knocked out the competition to claim best comedy.
Among the crop of crowned winners were two leads in new dramas. Taraji P. Henson was honored as Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Cookie Lyon on Fox’s “Empire” and Bob Odenkirk received Best Actor in a Drama Series for AMC’s “Better Call Saul” — proving once more that the critics retain a place in their hearts for its beloved, late parent, “Breaking Bad.”
On the comedy side, Jeffrey Tambor was awarded Best Actor in a Comedy Series for “Transparent” (Amazon) and Amy Schumer took Best Actress in a Comedy Series for “Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central). She unseated “Veep’s” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has taken home that trophy for the past two years.
In all, 18 of the best series in television were honored and HBO was the most awarded network with seven wins, followed by FX, which took home three trophies.
HBO’s limited series “Olive Kitteridge,” which starred Frances McDormand and Bill Murray, came away from the night as the most honored program with three wins. The pay cabler’s telefilm “Bessie,” with Queen Latifah playing the title role of Bessie Smith, was awarded best made for television movie.
In what has become a four-year tradition, “Archer” (FX) was honored as Best Animated Series. For the second year in a row, Allison Janney was awarded Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in CBS’s “Mom.”
In receiving the award, she was subject to a lengthy kiss from presenter and new late-night host James Corden, a kind of role reversal from the infamous Adrien Brody-Halle Berry Oscar smooch.
And in another unexpected moment, Syfy’s ”Face Off” received the Best Reality Competition Series award, topping a field that included favorites like “The Voice,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Amazing Race.”
The reality series prize went to ABC’s “Shark Tank” while Cat Deeley was awarded Best Reality Show Host for “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox).
In what is certain to be the beginning of a last round of kudos before the show changes hosts in September, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central) won Best Talk Show for the third time.
But there were more newcomers for the trophies. Jonathan Banks was awarded Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for “Better Call Saul,” T.J. Miller was named Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for “Silicon Valley” and Lorraine Toussaint was given Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for “Orange Is the New Black” (Neflix).
Veteran actors also got their due. Sam Elliott was named Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series for his role in “Justified” (FX) and Bradley Whitford took home Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series for his role in “Transparent.”
David Oyelowo was honored as Best Actor in a Movie or Limited Series for his role in “Nightingale” (HBO), and Sarah Paulson won Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Limited Series for her role in “American Horror Story: Freak Show” (FX).
BTJA honored Seth MacFarlane with the Critics’ Choice Louis XIII Genius Award for demonstrating unprecedented excellence in the television arts. Charlize Theron, his co-star in “A Million Ways to Die in The West,” presented the award to the CCTA and two-time Emmy Award winner.
In a characteristically irreverent speech, the man behind “Family Guy” and “Ted” diminished the award, saying that being called a genius in Hollywood was “kind of like being called thin at Disneyland.” MacFarlane concluded by saying, “Because you guys are being so cool here, I’m going to give you an out. You can take this back after you’ve seen ‘Ted 2’ and Mark Wahlberg gets sperm in his eyes. In all seriousness, all I can say is that I’m very grateful, and if my work has made the world even just a tiny bit better … I would be incredibly surprised.”
The audience award for Most Bingeworthy Series went to “The Walking Dead” (AMC.)
Honored as Most Exciting New Series were “American Crime Story” (FX), “Aquarius” (NBC), “Blindspot” (NBC), “Minority Report” (FOX), “The Muppets” (ABC), “Scream Queens” (FOX), “Supergirl” (CBS) and “UnREAL” (Lifetime).
The Critics’ Choice Television Awards honored programs and performances that aired between June 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015, except for the Most Exciting New Series category, which are shows premiering after May 1, 2015.
Winners of the 2015 Critics’ Choice Television Awards
Best Drama Series: The Americans (FX)
Best Actor in a Drama Series: Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Best Actress in a Drama Series: Taraji P. Henson, Empire (FOX)Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Lorraine Toussaint, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Sam Elliott, Justified (FX)
Best Comedy Series: Silicon Valley (HBO)Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent (Amazon)
Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley (HBO)
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Allison Janey, Mom (CBS)Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series: Bradley Whitford, Transparent (Amazon)
Best Movie Made for Television: Bessie (HBO)
Best Limited Series: Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
Best Actor in a Movie or Limited Series: David Oyelowo, Nightingale (HBO)Best Actress in a Movie or Limited Series: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Limited Series: Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Limited Series: Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
Best Reality Series: Shark Tank (ABC)Best Reality Competition Series: Face Off (Syfy)
Best Reality Series Host: Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance (FOX)
Best Talk Show: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Best Animated Series: Archer (FX)
Critics’ Choice LOUIS XIII Genius Award: Seth MacFarlane
Most Exciting New Series: American Crime Story (FX), Aquarius (NBC), Blindspot (NBC), Minority Report (FOX), The Muppets (ABC), Scream Queens (FOX), Supergirl (CBS) and UnREAL (Lifetime)
Awards Tally by Networks, Channels & Distributors
HBO — 7
FX — 4
Amazon — 2
AMC — 2
Comedy Central — 2
FOX — 2
ABC — 1
CBS — 1
Netflix — 1
Syfy — 1
Awards Tally by Show
Olive Kitteridge — HBO — 3
Better Call Saul — AMC — 2
Silicon Valley — HBO — 2
Transparent — Amazon — 2
The Americans — FX — 1
American Horror Story: Freak Show — FX — 1
Archer — FX — 1
Bessie — HBO — 1
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart — Comedy Central — 1
Empire — FOX — 1
Face Off — Syfy — 1
Inside Amy Schumer — Comedy Central — 1
Justified — FX — 1
Mom — CBS — 1
Nightingale — HBO — 1
Orange Is the New Black — Netflix — 1
Shark Tank — ABC — 1
So You Think You Can Dance — FOX — 1