Critics Choice Awards: Eight Things the TV Cameras Missed
From A-list interactions (Jane Campion and Kristen Stewart! Jung Ho-yeon and Kathryn Hahn!) to hot topics (Ukraine and the BAFTAs), the biggest moments that didn’t make it on air.
Sunday night’s 27th annual Critics Choice Awards once again brought together a star-studded group of nominees across TV and film, but some of the best moments of the Century City-based show didn’t make it to air. With The Hollywood Reporter inside the room, here are the top things the TV cameras didn’t show.
Thoughts for Ukraine
While several stars — including Billy Crystal, Michael Keaton and Hannah Waddingham — expressed support for Ukraine in the war against Russia during the show, Maria Bakalova, an Eastern European native, spent significant time on the red carpet discussing the crisis.
“I’m from Bulgaria and my home city is just a few hundred miles away from Ukraine. It’s scary, it’s heartbreaking and it’s mind-blowing that in 2022 we have a legit war happening between brotherhood countries,” the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm star told THR. “And it’s unfair, it’s unfair that people are suffering because of the madness of one man that has decided basically the destiny of two nations, Ukraine and Russia, as well because we have people from Russia put in jail for years because they are against this craziness.
“I wish they were able to hear us and see us all the supporters and people with them because the bravery of the people of Ukraine is just inspirational. You see the spirit in the face of adversity that they’re facing,” she continued. “And for me being an artist and having the chance to work in America, in Hollywood, probably the only thing I can do to use my platform in a way that I would be proud of is to bring more attention to our countries, our region of the world and try to usher in a new era of cultural and artistic exchange between Western cinema and Eastern European artists, something that has been a foundational force in the first half of the 21st century. And I hope that through the power of empathy that we see all expressed all around the world, we will get there.”
Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk also told, “There is currently a war going on and it’s very heart-wrenching. The message that we wanted to convey through Squid Game is there’s good in all of us, in our hearts there’s goodwill and humanity. I truly hope and I’m currently praying that all of these atrocities will come to an end as soon as possible.”
The show saw a starry mix of TV and film nominees that led to some award-worthy mingling, led by best director winner Jane Campion, who rubbed shoulders with Kristen Stewart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Dornan and Yellowjackets stars Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis and Jasmin Savoy Brown. Dornan also spent time with friend Andrew Garfield and Tick, Tick…Boom! director Lin-Manuel Miranda, as Miranda stopped for a chat (and a selfie) with Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, along with a hug to Rita Moreno. Margaret Qualley and boyfriend Jack Antonoff held hands and made the rounds with Nat Wolff, Kaitlyn Dever and Zoey Deutch, and across the room Will Smith — seated next to wife Jada Pinkett Smith as well as King Richard EPs Venus and Serena Williams — held court as friends Denzel Washington and Halle Berry stopped by. Squid Game star Jung Ho-yeon also bounced around the tables, conversing with Sandra Oh, Wiig and Hahn; and Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons chatted with Succession stars Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong, along with Plemons’ Friday Night Lights co-star Zach Gilford.
MIA for BAFTA
As the BAFTA Awards took place in London on the same day as the Critics Choice Awards, many casts and crews were split across the pond, including the CODA ensemble, with Troy Kotsur accepting a BAFTA win in-person and a Critics Choice win virtually. His co-star Daniel Durant held it down in L.A., though, telling THR, “We’ve been texting this morning, Marlee [Matlin], the whole group, the Rossi family. We’re all freaking out. This morning I was already awake, I was so excited because they already won.” Upward of half of the Critics Choice winners were not in attendance, in fact, appearing either via a London watch party or missing the ceremony entirely, leaving a less star-studded room than in years past. Some, though, like Will Smith, opted to stay stateside despite BAFTA noms, missing his in-person win there, but King Richard producers Tim and Trevor White said they experienced Smith’s win via texts from their team on the ground: “His first BAFTA nomination and to see him win for it, it’s just a validation of the film and the way it’s reaching people.”
Though Critics Choice has discouraged selfie-taking with stars in recent years, audience members — composed of TV critics from all over the country — were quick to make a mad dash for celebrity photos every time the show broke for commercial, with Stewart, Smith and the Williams sisters as some of the most in-demand.
Fire False Alarm
About two hours into the show, while the live televised program was on commercial break, the fire alarm briefly went off inside the Fairmont Century Plaza’s ballroom, where the show was held in a move from its traditional home at Barker Hangar. The alarm sounded and lights flashed for a few moments before shutting off, as the audience was briefly disrupted and then returned to the show.
With the first year in the new venue, there were some kinks to work out, which included that not all of the invited critics fit in the hotel ballroom. Event producers organized an overflow room with the org’s leadership trying to sweeten the pot for members who would volunteer to sit inside by waiving the group’s annual membership fee. But, per multiple sources, members were grumbling about sitting in the Fairmont’s overflow space and being outside the room where it happens (and away from all the boldfaced names), which was set up in a separate ballroom of about a dozen 10-top tables Sunday, and left to watch the show on TVs rather than with a view of the stage. Table issues extended to talent as well, as production realized within minutes of the show starting that some seats had been double booked, leaving those like Zoey Extraordinary Playlist‘s Skylar Astin and Jane Levy temporarily without a spot.
Continued Pandemic Precautions
Though much of the country, as well as Los Angeles, has lifted many COVID-19 precautions amid lower cases, the Critics Choice Awards still maintained a number of requirements, including mandating guests be fully vaccinated and provide a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival. K95 masks were also passed out to press on the (mostly outdoors) red carpet, though most were ditched by the time it came to the on-camera show.
Chenoweth’s Closing Time
As guests excited the ceremony, with many heading to Netflix’s afterparty, Kristin Chenoweth helped send stars on their way, joining in with the live jazz musicians playing in the Fairmont lobby for a brief serenade.
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