The Envelope Logo

Gold Derby

Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Critics Choice Awards

Meryl Streep addresses her long losing streak at the Oscars

January 16, 2010 |  7:38 am

I wasn't the only Derbyite asking tough questions backstage at the Critics' Choice Awards. Our forums moderator Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch confronted Meryl Streep to find out what she thinks of her prolonged losing streak at the Oscars. Although she currently holds the record for most nominations (15), she's won only once for lead actress ("Sophie's Choice") and once for supporting ("Kramer vs. Kramer"), and it's been more than two decades since she's given an acceptance speech before an academy crowd.

Also check out videos of the other tough questions we asked backstage: confronting Mo'Nique with the criticism of skipping key events during derby season and asking "The Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow what it's like to beat her ex-husband, James Cameron ("Avatar"), twice.

Mo'Nique responds (kind of) to criticism at the Critics' Choice Awards

January 15, 2010 | 10:18 pm

Moments after she won best supporting actress at the Critics' Choice Awards, I asked Mo'Nique back in the press room to respond to criticism about her failing to show up at the Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival and New York Film Critics Awards to support "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." Instead of answering the question, she deferred to her husband, who is also her manager, to respond on her behalf. He gave me the blah-blah-blah answer about her being a busy mom and talk-show host, then asked me if he'd answered the question.

I was tempted to say "No," and pursue the point further. In the case of the New York Film Festival, for example, Mo'Nique had promised to attend, then suddenly backed out. When she said she couldn't attend the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, her "Precious" director Lee Daniels promised to accept on her behalf, but then he backed out. (Read more about the controversy here and here.) Presentation of the trophy was handled clumsily during the ceremony. But I decided not to follow up and mention all this to Mo'Nique's husband at the Critics' Choice Awards, didn't want to sour her victory. Enough is enough.


Mo'Nique to snub New York film critics' awards

Is Mo'Nique ruining her Oscar chances with diva antics?

Curious Oscar wild card: Christian McKay

January 15, 2010 |  6:45 am

Believe it or not, Christian McKay ("Me and Orson Welles") has a real, albeit long-shot, chance of winning best supporting actor at the Oscars — that is, if he can get nominated. And that's a big "if."

Currently, Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") is odds-on-fave to prevail on March 7, of course, and he'll probably win both the Critics' Choice Award (for which McKay is nominated) and Golden Globe (for which he is not) this weekend, but Waltz must be leery of McKay after that. The supporting races are the hotbeds of Oscar upsets. Those categories are where voters love to veer from mainstream expectations and jump off cliffs. Think of the jaw-droppers pulled off in past years by, say, Jim Broadbent ("Iris") and Marcia Gay Harden ("Pollock").

Christian mckay me and orson welles news 2

Those are two good examples to cite because Broadbent and Harden have much in common with McKay: They portrayed real-life people — voters are suckers for that — (Broadbent as hubby of novelist Iris Murdoch, Harden as wife of painter Jackson Pollock) and they had lead roles hiding in the supporting category, where size often matters.

McKay portrays that holy terror of showbiz, Orson Welles, who dared to battle the power dragons of the Hollywood film and New York theater worlds. In "Me & Orson Welles," he portrays the notorious rascal at age 22 while staging a shocking adaptation of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" in Manhattan. Variety joined a loud media chorus of cheers for the film: "An extraordinary impersonation of the American theatrical boy wonder by the young English actor Christian McKay is the indisputable highlight of 'Me and Orson Welles.'"

McKay is nominated by the Indie Spirits in addition to the Critics' Choice, so that means he's a player in the awards game. Frankly, it's surprising that he wasn't nominated by Screen Actors Guild, because he stars as one of the sainted giants of the acting biz, but it's possible that the small, obscure indie didn't get proper exposure to the 2,100 members of the nominating committee.

McKay is back in the game at the Oscars because nominations are determined by peer group, but again the actors may experience trouble seeing the film. I think McKay would have a better chance to break in if Freestyle Releasing had sent his DVD earlier to academy members. However, it arrived in voters' mailboxes around mid-December within a day or two of them receiving "Up in the Air," "Invictus," "Star Trek," "The Road," "The Young Victoria," "A Single Man," "Nine," "It's Complicated" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Also the DVDs of movies starring McKay's two toughest rivals for the Oscar: "Inglourious Basterds" (Waltz) and "The Lovely Bones" (Stanley Tucci). Two weeks later, voters received their Oscar nomination ballots.

Have voters had enough time to catch up with "Me & Orson Welles"? Accountants say that most voters fill out ballots a week or two after receiving them. The absolute final deadline for ballots to be returned to the academy is Jan. 23. Nominations will be announced on Feb. 2. Below, check out my webcam chat with McKay.

Photo: Christian McKay as Orson Welles. Credit: Freestyle Releasing

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.

Oscars derby update: Can 'Avatar' triumph at Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards to emerge as official front-runner?

January 14, 2010 |  1:46 pm

Now that "Avatar" has proven its enduring might with fans ($440 million at the U.S. box office after four consecutive weeks at No. 1) and film critics (82 score at RottenTomatoes), and "The Hurt Locker" just swept the film critics trifecta -- wining best picture from the journos in New York, Los Angeles and in the National Society of Film Critics --  they both must battle "Up in the Air," "Precious" and "Inglourious Basterds" this weekend at the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes.

Those five films recently established themselves officially as the most serious rivals to win the top prize at the Oscars by reaping nominations from the Directors' Guild of America  -- the most important Academy Awards omen.

Avatar Golden Globes Critics Choice awards news

But how accurate are the Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globes? What will we learn from seeing who wins this weekend? (The Critics' Choice Awards are on VH1 on Friday, the Golden Globes on NBC on Sunday.)

Let's examine what's happened over the past 10 years. The Globes have two sets of awards, remember — drama and comedy/musical. One of their two best pictures repeated at the Oscars six times since 1999. That percentage is slightly lower than the Globes' average over the past 50 years, so maybe their level of agreement with Oscar will rally soon.

Critics' Choice is much higher: 80% over the past decade. In 2005, members of the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. opted for "Brokeback Mountain" over "Crash" and, in 2004, "Sideways" over "Million Dollar Baby."

The Critics Choice Award also has a better history predicting best actor and actress than the Golden Globe over the past decade. Seven of the 10 best-actor prizes bestowed by BFCA repeated at the Oscars. Only five of the 20 best actors crowned by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. went on to Oscar glory.

The Critics Choice voters aren't so savvy forecasting the lead actress champs. Their percentage is only 60% in 10 years. Globers hailed eight Oscar winners in one of their two lead-actress categories; nine if you count Kate Winslet, who won in lead at the Oscars for "The Reader" and in supporting at the Globes. Of course, Winslet also won the lead Globe race too, for "Revolutionary Road."

The reason that these two awards are so good at predicting the Oscar is because they actually influence academy voters, who tune in to view the precursor award shows on TV. Winners must give performances on the podium just as amazing as the film turns that got them there. Hilary Swank and Jamie Foxx won Oscars for "Boys Don't Cry" and "Ray" largely because they were so amazing on the Globes' stage sharing stories of their tearful struggle to make it in showbiz (Swank) and love of a grandmother (Foxx).

Giving a knockout performance on the podium is easy for an ole pro like Meryl Streep, who always wows, but the pressure is really on young stars like Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), who don't have experience at this. Lucky for them both, they're not competing at the Globes against Streep, who is pushed off into that separate race for comedies/musicals. If one of the young new stars can get past veteran Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") in the race for best drama actress, she has the chance of a lifetime to become an Oscar-bound superstar.

Memo to Mulligan and Sidibe, whoever wins: Keep the laundry list of names short. Go for a knockout punch to TV viewers' guts, breaking our hearts. Share your dream, tell us a story, and don't be afraid to cry. Genuine, triumphant tears are perfect for the occasion. Kate Winslet shed a river of them at the Globes last year, and they helped to float her to Oscar victory.

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.

'Inglourious Basterds,' 'Nine' lead Critics Choice Awards

December 14, 2009 |  6:30 am
Inglourious Basterds 12

Finally, here comes "Inglourious Basterds," breaking onto the derby track with all guns blazing — just as I had warned you would happen. It ties "Nine" for the most Critics' Choice Movie Awards nominations (10), including best picture, director, etc. That's the most bids in these awards' history, by the way. Just this year, the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. added new categories for the tech races, where "Basterds" is particularly strong (cinematography, editing, etc.) See the full list of nominees at the BFCA site.

"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"A Serious Man"
"Up in the Air"

Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron, "Avatar"
Lee Daniels, "Precious"
Clint Eastwood, "Invictus"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"

Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Viggo Mortensen, "The Road"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"

Emily Blunt, "The Young Victoria"
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Saoirse Ronan, "The Lovely Bones"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"

Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christian McKay, "Me And Orson Welles"
Alfred Molina, "An Education"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"

Continue reading »

Will the Critics' Choice Awards predict the Oscars?

January 9, 2009 |  5:38 pm

The Critics' Choice Awards may have revealed a thing or two about this year's Oscars derby.

Even before last night most Oscarologists believed that "Slumdog Millionaire" was ahead for best picture and director, so the Critics' Choice Awards just helped to underscore that point. Are the Critics' Choice Awards really trusty Oscar prophets? Well, they only forecast seven of the Oscars' winners of best picture correctly, but most of the misfires were in the kudo's early days of its 13-year history. Over the last seven years, it's nailed five correct. The two differences: the broadcast film critics preferred "Sideways" to "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004 and "Brokeback Mountain" to "Crash" in 2005.


What the Critics' Choice Awards pointed the harshest spotlight on was the Kate Winslet problem. Voters snubbed "Revolutionary Road," which — happily for Kate — focused attention on her "supporting" role in "The Reader." Thus she pulled off the big upset last night, prevailing over Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), who now has good reason to be nervous about the derby ahead.

Cruz had early momentum thanks to claiming trophies from the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and National Board of Review, but what about the Golden Globes this Sunday? Even before last night I was predicting Winslet will snag the Globe simply because I know how much members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. love "The Reader" and want to give it a big win someplace. If that happens, suddenly the Penelope Cruz bandwagon comes to a screeching halt. Can it get back rolling again?

That depends on which category Oscar voters put Winslet — lead or supporting for "The Reader"? Obviously, it's a lead role that was sneakily campaigning in supporting because Winslet preferred the movie directed by her husband, Sam Mendes, "Revolutionary Road." Now kudos chaos reigns. The Globes nominated Winslet in lead for "Rev Road," but the academy?

Over the last five years, the Critics' Choice Awards did great predicting the Oscars' best actor race (correctly forecasting all five) and lead actress (four), but since the broadcast critics didn't nominate Winslet for "Rev Road" this year, it's hard to size up what to think of the tie between Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") and Meryl Streep ("Doubt"). Up till last night, most pundits had Winslet ahead to win the Oscar for "Rev Road."

I have a hunch the Critics' Choice Awards just did a fine job tattling on how little support there is in the industry for her turn in "Road." And pointing to the two true front-runners: Hathaway and Streep.

Continue reading »

Critics' Choice Awards reax: Boos & cheers from our forum posters

January 9, 2009 |  3:27 pm

Below, some of our forum posters' reactions to the Critics' Choice Awards. Disagree? Add your voice to the discussion of the Critics' Choice Awards in the ENVELOPE FORUMS.


Atypical: This was a big night for "Slumdog Millionaire," and I think I'm happiest for Danny Boyle winning best director. That was a great acceptance speech for him. I wish that Dev Patel could have been there, since he probably would have had one of the best reactions of winning an award and just being in the presence of those A-listers. I'm somewhat surprised that Sean Penn was even there, or Brangelina (both of them looking flawless), or Clint Eastwood.

Pacinofan: I do think they try to predict the Oscars a lot of the time (maybe not the year "Sideways" won). "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind" won the Critics' Choice awards and those films did not make many major critics' top 10 lists much less top them. As much as I loved "Chicago," it would apply to that film as well.

Caresa: WTH with giving it to "Slumdog Millionaire" then? This is completely bogus! IMO, "Slumdog" is highly overrated.

Jason Travis: Over all, a dense program, but we can expect this from the Broadcast Film Critics awards. However, the winners were all very deserving. "Slumdog Millionaire" cleans up, no surprise. Glad it won score too, but I was counting on it to win best song too — that's a great track, though we might get sick of hearing it over and over as the film continues to rack up awards, and its theme must be played each time. Surprised that "Benjamin Button" got zilch; perhaps this really is going to be honored as just a technical achievement. I have no doubt that it will win Makeup at the Oscars, but could that be it? Maybe Visual Effects.

AJ: The wins themselves were good overall but the show was just so "blah." Also, what happened to the woman backstage interviewing the winners when they came offstage? She interviewed Josh Brolin and the other guy (was it James Franco or Emile Hirsch? I feel stupid for forgetting) . . . to awkward results . . . and then we never saw her again. It was like they were trying to erase the painful moments of the evening in hopes to salvage as much excitement that they possibly could.

Continue reading »

VIDEOS: Anne Hathaway and 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Danny Boyle backstage at the Critics' Choice Awards

January 9, 2009 | 12:43 pm

Back in the press room at the Critics' Choice Awards last night, I shot these videos using a small hand-held Canon PowerShot camera. Not bad, eh? Check out the remarks of best actress co-winner Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") plus Danny Boyle, who won for director of best picture "Slumdog Millionaire."

Scenes from the Critics' Choice red carpet

January 8, 2009 |  6:33 pm

Here's the parade of glitterati heading into the Critics Choice Awards. From top: Clint Eastwood, Kristin Scott Thomas, Brangelina, Angela Bassett and Frank Langella, Mickey Rourke and Josh Brolin and Diane Lane.






L.A. Times photos by Tom O'Neil

Let's predict the Critics' Choice Awards!

January 7, 2009 |  9:43 pm

On Thursday night the Critics' Choice Awards will be doled out by members of the Broadcast Film Critics' Assn. during a telecast on VH1 (8 p.m. ET/ PT). Will they be harbingers of Oscars' champs?

That's a very controversial question. Some kudos gurus claim that the Critics' Choice Awards are the precursor award with the best rate of predicting the Oscars. But that's a tricky assertion to make because analogies need to be qualified. For example, BFCA frequently notes that it has the highest percentage of overlapping nominees with the Oscars. Well, sure, yes, but for many years BFCA only had three nominees in the acting slots, so thus it had less chance of being wrong. But also less chance of netting Oscar's wild cards like upset winners Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball"), Denzel Washington ("Training Day") and Adrien Brody ("The Pianist"), who weren't nominated by BFCA. Nowadays BFCA has five nominees in the acting categories and double the number of best picture contenders you find at the Oscars (10).


How have the Critics' Choice Awards done among winners? Over the last 13 years, BFCA forecast eight of the Oscars' best actors and seven lead actresses. That's respectable. It's done especially well in recent years after there was a big shakeup in membership. (Leaders got tough about proof of qualification.) Over the last five years, BFCA correctly forecast all of Oscar's best actors and four of its lead actresses. You can check out a full list of nominees HERE. Below, my predix. Full disclosure: I know dozens of members of BFCA personally, and some of them ratted to me how they voted. Let's see if that means I can piece together results.

Close races between "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Bet on "Millionaire" hitting both jackpots.

Sean Penn ("Milk") has won all other critics' awards. This one's next. But, beware: That doesn't mean he'll claim the Golden Globe this Sunday.

Fierce diva clawfest between Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") and her ole costar Meryl Streep ("Doubt"). Streep pummeled Hathaway in "Devil Wears Prada" and will do so again here.

Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"), of course. Members of BFCA are junketeers who did final video interviews with Ledger just before he died. (I participated in those junkets too.)

In this race, I'm totally befuddled. Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona") had the early buzz, but Viola Davis ("Doubt") and Kate Winslet ("The Reader") have come on strong in recent weeks. Cruz and Winslet were chummy darlings of the junket scene in recent years, so it's probably between them. BFCA members are suckers for glamour. Cruz it is.

Take over, please. You predict the rest HERE.

Photos: Fox Searchlight, Miramax, Focus Features, Warner Bros.

Critics' Choice Awards toast 'Milk' and 'Benjamin Button,' snub 'Revolutionary Road'

December 9, 2008 |  7:44 am

"Milk" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" lead with the most Critics' Choice Award nominations at eight apiece while "The Dark Knight," "Doubt," and "Slumdog Millionaire" have six each. All five are among the 10  films competing for best picture.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association's voters took a sharp detour from "Revolutionary Road," which was completely snubbed. No nod for picture, director (Sam Mendes), actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), supporting actor (Michael Shannon), adapted screenplay and — most surprisingly of all — actress (Kate Winslet).


Perhaps its snub for best picture isn't surprising considering that all 10 nominees for that top prize scored higher in the numerical tallies that sum up the voters' opinions at the Broadcast Film Critics Association's website ("Changeling" barely edging it, 79 to 78 — "Revolutionary Road," meantime, has a perfect 100 score from the print and Internet critics at, but the Critics' Choice Award likes to pride itself as an Oscar crystal ball. Many Oscarologists consider Winslet a front-runner to win best actress at the Kodak Theater next February. Could this be one of those cases like Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball") or Denzel Washington ("Training Day") where Critics' Choice misses the Oscar mark so much that it fails even to nominate the eventual winner? Or does this snub spell gloom for Winslet's Oscar hopes in that race? She is nominated today in the supporting category for "The Reader."

Below is a partial list of nominees. See more at the Critics' Choice website HERE.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire"
"The Wrestler"

Clint Eastwood, "Gran Torino"
Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"

Kate Beckinsale, "Nothing But the Truth"
Cate Blanchett, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"

Photos: Focus Features, Paramount, Paramount Vantage

Critics Choice reax: Boos & cheers from our forum posters

January 8, 2008 | 12:23 pm

Below, some of our forum posters' reax to the awards bestowed by the Critics Choice. Disagree? Add your opinion to the mix - CLICK HERE

Dr. McPhearson: The only speeches I've really enjoyed were Blonsky's, Bardem's and Affleck's substitution for Amy Ryan. The rest has been really painful to listen to, like they are making it up on the spot, and doing a not-so-good job of it.

seanflynn: They did what they wanted - they picked whoever is the consensus front runner as of now (the ones most of us would say is the front runner) with one category being a tossup (actress) where it is basically a coin toss.

AJ: I am give-and-take on the Hairspray win and I am thrilled with Diablo Cody winning for Juno. However, I am kind of surprised by the boy from The Kite Runner winning. I thought it would be Michael Cera for one of his roles. I am stunned, as well, for the Nikki Blonsky win but she was very good in Hairspray.


Continue reading »



In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:

About the Blogger

Pop & Hiss



In Case You Missed It...