Critics Choice Movie Awards Clinches Frontrunner Statuses

The announcement of the nominations for the 86th Annual Academy Awards on Thursday morning, January 16, gave us a lot clearer picture of what was going to happen on Oscar night on Sunday, March 2. Later that evening, the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA)–of which ComingSoon.net’s Oscar Warrior Edward Douglas is a member–convened for their annual Critics Choice Movie Awards to dole out their own version of the Oscars/Globes.

Hosted by Aisha Tyler (“Whose Line is it Anyway?”), the broadcast on The CW was fairly slow and the winners were fairly predictable, but in this case, it was a good thing because it helped to set up what is very likely to be the frontrunners for Oscar night.

As has been the case for most of the awards precursors, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) and David O. Russell’s American Hustle (Sony) were well in the lead in terms of nominations and were thought to be the favorites in most categories and that was certainly the case, as the Critics Choice Awards were fairly divided between the two movies, but the group still gave the most honors to Alfonso Cuaron’s outer space thriller Gravity (Warner Bros.).

Still, by the end of the night, it was Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave which won the top prize of Best Picture, following just a few short days after its Golden Globe win for Best Picture Drama. Since the BFCA also has a separate comedy category, they were able to honor Russell’s American Hustle in that category as well as giving Russell’s cast the Best Ensemble award. Amy Adams took home Best Actress in a Comedy for Russell’s film while Leonardo DiCaprio won early in the night for Best Actor in a Comedy, in both cases mirroring their Golden Globes wins a few nights earlier.

The real winner of the night would have to have been Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity though, because while it didn’t win either of the top prizes for Best Picture, Cuaron took the award for Best Direction, his lead actress Sandra Bullock won Best Actress in an Action Movie, the film won in the Sci-Fi and Horror category (the first year that this prize was given out), and the movie swept all of the technical categories including cinematography, editing, visual effects and Steven Price’s amazing original score. That’s 7 wins right there, which put it ahead of any other movie nominated at the CCMAs.

But let’s get to those frontrunners ’cause they were aplenty. Following their respective wins in the lead and supporting actor categories at the Golden Globes, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto pulled in their second awards for their transformative performances in Jean Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features).

Cate Blanchett also took her second Best Actress award for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics), following her own Golden Globe win. Lupita Nyong’o, the breakout star of McQueen’s film won her first Supporting Actress prize after losing at the Golden Globes to Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen won for Best Animated Film, while the popular original song “Let It Go” won in that category.

Top documentary went to the popular music doc about back-up singers, 20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS*TWC), while the controversial Blue is the Warmest Color (IFC Films) won for Best Foreign Language, though no one went up to receive the award. A few moments later, the film’s breakout star Adèle Exarchopoulos went up to receive her own award for Best Young Actor/Actress under 21.

The only other award of note was that Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor (Universal), which won two awards, one for Best Action Movie and one for Mark Wahlberg as an Actor in an Action Movie, though the Critics Choice Awards are the only group to give out these awards.

Oprah Winfrey presented Forest Whitaker with this year’s Joel Siegel Award for his humanitarian efforts, while Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke received the Louis XIII Genius Award, which they accepted by playing around on stage and basically having fun with the concept of being dubbed “geniuses” – Delpy taking credit for being the “most genius.”

The next major awards to be given out will be the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, January 18, although they only have five film-related awards to give out including Best Ensemble cast and there are a number of nominees that didn’t receive an Oscar nomination.

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