My Reactions To Last Night’s Critics Choice Awards
My Predictions Were Mostly Wrong. Who Cares?
I don’t know how many times I can say how much I love the Critics Choice Awards. They always seem to honor a better class of television than we usually get for the Emmys or Globes, and they always seem to take themselves less seriously than any other awards show. (Well, maybe the Independent Spirit Awards.)
They seemed to having way too much this year. Taye Diggs was in superb form in a way that really makes me wonder why other award shows don’t hire him more. He was a good form walking around the tables. My favorite time with him was when he went to The Good Fight table, joked with former co-stars Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald (the way McDonald and he bantered over their time on Private Practice was adorable) and was great around other guests, particularly Kirsten Bell. Walton Goggins and Chris Hardwick did a marvelous skit, mocking the first ever critics review (Oedipus Rex by Leonard Maltinious) and Wesley Snipes and Niecy Nash did a great job, first in their worship of Eddie Murphy, and then starting the crowd giving a standing ovation to Norman Lear. (I’ll get to that in a moment.) It was a joy, and that was just with the TV.
The awards could’ve been an incidental, particularly as a lot of the TV awards were presented offstage. But as always, I enjoyed the selections, not so much because they’ll necessarily mirror the Emmys (though they did in several key moments) but because they highlighted shows and actors that might well be overlooked otherwise.
This was a great night for HBO, more so because Game of Thrones was shut out. Succession, as at the Globes took the top prize for Best Drama, and though it’s way early in the season, it definitely moves the first tier. They gave Best Actor to Jeremy Strong, whose work was as good as Brian Cox (particularly in the finale). This was also a superb night for Watchmen, which took both the female acting awards. Jean Smart and Regina King did give more than worthy performances, but you’d probably have expected them to give them to Streep and Colman. Will they be front runners as well? Hard to say, considering Watchmen has been shutout of a lot of awards.
The Comedy awards struck a more familiar tone. As you’d expect, Fleabag dominated winning Best Comedy, Best Actress (Phoebe Waller-Bridge continues to be the joy of the awards circuit) and finally, finally Andrew Scott prevailed. Bill Hader and Alex Borstein repeated their wins from last year, but having seen Barry and Mrs. Maisel it’s hard to argue they didn’t earn it. I hope that they at least give nominations to The Good Place next year.
Best Limited Series had a better set of winners than the Globes. Stellan Skaagard and Michelle Williams prevails, as at the Globes. But When They See Us finally got the recognition that the Emmys had refused to give it for Best Limited Series and a deserved win for Jharrel Jerome who, if anything gave a better speech than he did at the Emmys. (He was even nice enough to say a kind words for critics) Netflix did the best here, winning Best Supporting Actress for Toni Collette and Best TV movie for El Camino.
There were great reactions, and the inevitable tie Best Talk Show tied between Late Night with James Corden and Late Night with Seth Meyers. I pulled for both of them, but especially for Meyers, who seems to get very little love from award shows. Meyers speech was typical graceful and self-deprecating: “It’s so pleasing to see so many people I’ve interviewed here… I’d be more emotional, but I have trouble showing my feelings in a airplane hangar in Santa Monica.”
But by far, the best moment of the night came when Best Comedy Special went to All in the Family & The Jeffersons Live. Norman Lear continued his magnificent streak, as well as his ability to be brilliant in a way so many aren’t. “How does it feel to be an old man?’ someone asked me. ‘How would I know? I’m 97. When I meet an old man, I’ll ask him.” Hard to imagine someone being as capable.
And I was nearly as overjoyed to see Kirsten Bell paid tribute to as the ‘See Her’ award. It’s hard to imagine a star more talented, more multi-faceted, or more self-effacing as Bell. I will miss her when The Good Place is over, but probably only til she starts her next project.
This year the Critics, with the exception of the Drama awards, looked more towards the past year then the one to come. But considering that new seasons of Westworld and Better Call Saul, as well as the final season of Homeland will come in the next few months, there will no doubt be much more material to consider. Will this affect the Emmy race? It’s way too early. One thing I can say. The Academy could do well to choose as well the Critics have… not that they ever do.