You may well be on the fence about watching the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards, which happen Sunday from the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel and air live to most of the country on The CW at 7 p.m. ET (delayed to the West Coast except for its home base of Los Angeles, where KTLA will air the show live beginning at 4 p.m. PT). But if you aren’t sure you want to dedicate at least three hours of your life to the show, here are several reasons why it might be a good idea:
- It’s a fairly accurate precursor in gauging how the Academy Awards will go. Last year, for Best Picture, the Critics Choice went for “The Power of the Dog,” while the Oscars opted for “CODA.” But otherwise, in the major categories, the two lined up exactly: Will Smith for “King Richard” in actor, Jessica Chastain for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” in actress, Troy Kotsur for “CODA” in supporting actor, Ariana DeBose for “West Side Story” in supporting actress, Jane Campion for “Power of the Dog” in director.
- The host is Chelsea Handler, a very funny, often caustic and unpredictable personality who seems tailor-made for this gig. She isn’t averse to calling attention to the ironic or the absurd as necessary. And the good news for Handler is that she has an especially easy act to follow in last Sunday’s Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael, who seemed especially poorly cast for that job and that room. Leave it to someone named Handler to handle the job with gusto.
- Since the show features a whopping 37 categories, it could become its own network. And there is something for literally everyone from both the film and TV worlds. I think they’re even handing out trophies for Best Depiction of an Auto Mechanic and Best Best Boy. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” isn’t just the name of the feature film that generated the most nominations this year with 14. It’s also the Critics Choice slogan to describe its widespread appeal.
- It’s going to be wet out there tomorrow, boys and girls. If you’ve always wanted to see stars not completely looking their best, this is your year. Many are expected to appear as if they just escaped a deluge, because in fact, they will have. The smartest entrepreneur in Beverly Hills on Sunday will be the one standing in front of the Century Plaza underneath an umbrella selling cordless blow-dryers. And if you want to blame anyone besides God for this, point a finger at “Avatar” director and Best Director nominee James Cameron. He slyly planned this during a weekend that would tie in nicely with his title “The Way of Water.”
- Because Jennifer Coolidge is again up for an acting award for “The White Lotus: Sicily,” and because it’s exceedingly likely she’ll win (she already earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the role), viewers will have a guaranteed, incredibly entertaining 5 or 6 minutes of her acceptance speech. You honestly never know what the woman will say or do. Or wear. She’s liable to begin conducting the play-off music orchestra. Her gown will be tight and shimmering and a great challenge to her lungs to continue their intake of oxygen. Honestly, Jennifer should be given her own awards show. It’s really long overdue.
- The Critics Choice is in something of a no man’s land between the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards and the Oscars. But to that end, it’s a cleansing exhale. If it were a Monopoly game, it would be FREE PARKING. It’s always nice to win one of these things, but it’s not quite devastating to lose, either. Winning is like getting a birthday card from your crazy uncle in Tallahassee. Losing is like having your penniless aunt in Skokie cut you out of her will.
- This: “The Critics Choice Awards are chosen by the more than 600 television, radio and online critics and entertainment journalists who make up the Critics Choice Association (CCA). It was established in 2019 with the merger of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, recognizing the blurring of the distinction between film, television and streaming content.” Allow me to translate: nearly everyone in the United States has a vote and can claim some form of ownership of them. And beyond that…
- …you can safely predict that the Critics Choice winners will go a long way to helping Oscar voters (currently filling in their nominations ballots) decide, since there is no inspiration more powerful than following the lead of others. Along those same lines, expect a lot of repeat winners from the Globes, when applicable. Names like Spielberg and Blanchett and Farrell and Quan and Bassett and Brunson are likely to be called when the envelopes opened.
- There is the very real possibility that a pair of nominees who are no longer alive, like Leslie Jordan and Ray Liotta, will beat people who are still with us. And if you think it’s crushing to an actor to lose to living fellow nominees, being eclipsed by those who are deceased carries its own special form of anguish.
Anyway, if this isn’t enough to convince you to dedicate your Sunday night to the Critics Choices. perhaps no volume of pestering will be effective in changing your mind. But I have a feeling you know what the right thing to do is. Now, go do it.
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