Critics Choice Awards: ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ Kicked Ass

The CCAs have given “Everything Everywhere All at Once” a boost as it heads toward an Oscar nomination. “The Fabelmen” not so much.

The Critic’s Choice Awards at Century City’s Fairmont Hotel were noisy as everyone interested in the results clamored for their favorites. The A24 band erupted loudly at the front of the stage as Ke Huy Quan won again (as ‘Elvis’ star Austin Butler and many others stood and applauded) for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, then again and again. it ended up winning a total of five awards, including best director, original screenplay and picture for the Daniels duo.

It was the A24 table again when Brendan Fraser cried received another round of applause when he accepted the award for his poignant performance in ‘The Whale’. At the end of the night, as the room cheered them on, Daniels thanked A24, “the most supportive studio ever.” These winners the SAG Awards, BAFTAs, Indie Spirits and the final destination, the Oscars on March 12th, are getting a strong boost.

It won’t get that boost: Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” (which won best young actor for Gabriel LaBelle) and Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” will probably do better at the BAFTAs.

At my table, “Titanic” star Suzy Amis was rooting for her husband of 23 years, Jim Cameron. Best picture contender “Avatar: The Way of Water” cost $350 million, according to evening ace host Chelsea Handler, while rival Sarah Polley “had to shoot ‘Women Talking’ in a barn.”

Each film settled for an award, for VFX and Adapted Screenplay, though you’ll have to watch the screen like a hawk to see those announcements flash. The three-hour CCA awards show was sped up, but with the organization of more than 600 national media (including me) honoring both television and film, not all awards were presented live.

Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser accepts the award for Best Actor for “The Whale” at the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association

It was a good night for India’s SS Rajamouli as ‘RRR’ won the Best Foreign Film and Song (‘Naatu Naatu’) award – a category awarded on the pre-show red carpet. At the end of the night, Cameron went over to tell Rajamouli how much he admired ‘RRR’ (which Rajamouli posted on Twitternatch).

Actor Stephen Lang at the “The Way of Water” table, along with dazzling young breakouts Trinity Jo-Li Bliss and Jack Bright, and producer Jon Landau had fun analyzing the winners’ speeches (“You’ve got to try it!” “It’s time to stop!”) . Lang credits Fraser (“stand up and walk into the light, good things will happen”) and supporting players Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”), Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and Jennifer Coolidge (“White Lotus”), who received the room’s warmest welcome yet. “It’s not over until it’s over,” he told the room. “It’s not over until you die.”

The energy in the room was palpable. “We’re here to have a good time and keep the vibe going,” Handler instructed at the start. The CCAs were more star-studded than the tepid Globes, from the radiant Julia Roberts and honorees Janelle Monae and Jeff Bridges, to hosts Miles Teller and Anya Taylor-Joy, and winner Cate Blanchett, who plays Stealth Oscar nominee Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”) gets a mention as she won Best Actress for “TAR,” which also won Best Score for Hildur Guðnadóttir (not eligible for the Oscar).

“I dream of doing a ‘Chucky’ with all of you,” host Aubrey Plaza said.

A COVID no-show for Michelle Pfeiffer and Globes attendees Jamie Lee Curtis, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, none of whom won. (“Did they know in advance?” Lang cracked.)

James Cameron and Guillermo del Toro at the 2023 Critic Choice Awards

Anne Thompson

Cameron courted well-wishers during commercial breaks, including winners Ruth Carter (Costumes, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), Giancarlo Esposito (Serviceman, “Better Call Saul”), Rian Johnson (Comedy and Ensemble, “Onion: Mystery of the ‘Little Ones’ ) and his longtime pal Guillermo del Toro, 33, who gave him a shout-out when he won again for best animated feature for “Pinocchio” (he’ll repeat at Oscars night). Cameron was visibly moved. “With ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ I took a new story and tried to make it timeless,” del Toro said. “With Pinocchio, I took an eternal story and tried to make it new again.”

The show played well in the room; aired on the low-rated CW. As showrunner Seth Rogen pointed out, “I’m not saying the CW is bad. What I will say is that it’s the only network to get zero Critics Choice nominations — you they say it’s bad. We are on your least favorite network. How did it happen? Nominate yourself next time, you could have won. No one will think it’s weird, but that it’s okay.”

Will the awards show, which boasts historically low ratings, ever catch up to the better-branded but rickety Golden Globes? Last year the CCAs came up with a Sunday night slot in January when the Globe couldn’t be counted on. This year, the show stayed on site, while the Globe had to settle for a Tuesday night and miserably low ratings.

Fate of Globe on NBC To Be Determined; the SAG Awards will eventually move to Netflix. But at least the CCA awards have nowhere to go but up.

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