Critics' Choice Movie Awards: The kiss heard round the world, and other observations

The producers of the VH1’s Critics’ Choice Movie Awards owe Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock big time, for had the two Best Actress winners not interlocked lips, there would have been practically nothing to remember last night’s show by. But when Streep and Bullock tied for the Actress award, for Julie & Julia and The Blind Side, respectively, the two took matters into their own hands and rescued the sinking ship. Actually, if you re-watch the moment, it appears that Bullock initiated the lip-to-lip contact, as Streep hesitated for a second before Bullock basically yanked her head in for the delivery. Here’s the clip (and I love the cut to Matt Damon’s curious-boy expression):

And after the jump, some observations (and video clips) on what worked and didn’t work during the show:

1. Kristin Chenoweth was about as grating as a host can be. Granted, the actress had painful material to work with, and I commend her for obviously giving it her all, but you could sense the unease in the Hollywood Palladium whenever Chenoweth had the floor. Things started promisingly, though, with a brief homage to Inglourious Basterds during which a film-projected Chenoweth actually told the assembled critics that “You’re all going to die.” Pretty ballsy, and pretty funny, but it was all downhill from there as Chenoweth continued with the requisite opening musical number. PopWatchers, how long you can endure this:

2. The awards themselves were mostly well deserved. EW’s Dave Karger has the full list of winners and an analysis on how various films’ Oscar chances were affected. But I want to mention how pleased I was with The Hurt Locker scoring Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow winning Best Director (a first for a woman filmmaker). I had expected the Broadcast Film Critics Association to hand the top prize to Avatar or Inglourious Basterds. Even though the show consistently reminded viewers that these awards were selected by “critics,” the BFCA is a fairly populist group. Many of its members are responsible for the blurbs you see on TV ads for movies — the ones where the quotes are gargantuan, but the actual critics’ names are microscopic. Nevertheless, if The Hurt Locker can win over this middlebrow organization, it means we might have a real Oscar horse race between Hurt Locker and Avatar.

3. Having the 10 tables surrounding the stage represent the 10 Best Picture nominees was a clever idea, although I’m surprised the show didn’t decide to have more fun with it. “Let’s spin this wheel to determine which table will receive another round of drinks!”

4. The actual tribute to the late filmmaker John Hughes, with Death Cab for Cutie singing “Don’t You Forget About Me” while clips from Hughes’ films played in the background, was appropriately sweet. The tribute’s introduction by Amy Poehler and John Krasinski, however, was just bizarre. Combine a hackneyed script with a likely faulty teleprompter and two presenters who’ve probably been drinking, and you get one awkward tribute intro. At one point, I believe Poehler and Krasinski said this drawn-out line: “Through him, we found out that each one of us is a brain … and an athlete … and a basket case … a princess … and a criminal.” Here’s the clip:

5. If you’re going to include a mention of a current crisis in an awards show — the tragedy in Haiti, in this case — don’t pick a sleep-deprived Tobey Maguire to deliver it.

6. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s in poor taste to make fun of The Lovely Bones‘ Susie Salmon. The disturbing clip:

7. All indicators point to Up in the Air director/co-writer Jason Reitman being an incredibly likable guy, but shouldn’t he have given his co-writer Sheldon Turner a chance to speak while accepting the Best Adapted Screenplay award?

8. Jeff Bridges, who’s pretty much locked to win the Best Actor Oscar at this point, will have additional opportunities to perfect his acceptance speech. One thing he’ll want to get straight by Oscar Night: Scott Cooper, not actor Chris Cooper, directed Crazy Heart. But if anyone can get away with a gaffe like that, it’s Bridges, who deserves all the recognition that’ll be coming his way.

PopWatchers, what did you make of the Critics’ Choice Awards? Anyone ready to wash that taste out of your mouth with Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards?

Comments (75 total) Add your comment
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  • Mari

    Wow, that last video where Suzie gets hit by the hammer: just disgusting and definitely in poor taste. It looks like it was a painful night.

    • TellyB

      That’s BS. Just because EW deems that something is funny or unfunny, we don’t have to parrot it in order to appear smart. I agree that Chenoweth (who is usually superb) was a bore hosting, but that Suzie Salmon/Esther clip was hilarious…

      • Stehako

        Quite low-brow all along, surprising for a critic’s award show, seemed more like a people’s choice award show.

      • Mari

        I wasn’t trying to “appear smart.” That was gross. Just because EW deems that something is funny or unfunny, doesn’t mean I have to disagree nor does it mean that my agreeing is simply parroting what they said, nor is it BS. I am expressing an opinion.

      • singlemillionairesmatch

        I love Meryl and Sandy

  • Julia

    Wait. When did I miss the memo that Bridges was a lock for winning Best Actor?

    • Allan

      Exactly. Clooney has won them all up to now.

      • leo

        I thought Colin Firth was a favorite for the win…

    • Clayton

      Definitely not locked up. Such an open race

      • PJ

        Not really, Clooney’s already won, Firth might have a better chance, but Jeff Bridges has been nominated 4 times, never won, and is pretty popular. Plus, his role in Crazy Heart is amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing him finally win his long overdue Oscar.

  • G

    Bullock and Streep were the best part of the show. They are both so funny. They should make a movie together. Congrats.

  • hope

    There were lots of cuts to Matt Damon last night. I love me some MD, but it did seem overkill at some point.

  • mscisluv

    As I said on Dave Karger’s post, Chenoweth was terrible. I’m a fan (or was, now I’m kind of embarrassed), but she came off as shrill and unfunny. Also, Tobey Maguire looked like hell; could it be due to losing his part in Spiderman 4?

  • Anthony Von Cromphant

    I disagree completely, there were lots of fabulous moments and Kristin Chenoweth was fantastic on stage and in the films. Watch for yourself on VH1 reruns.

  • L

    It’s official: There are too many award shows.

    • KG

      Co-sign on THAT!!

  • Jose

    I’m sorry, but I thought that Susie Salmon/Esther clip was hilarious. Congrats on The Hurt locker and boo for Sandra for winning with Meryl (we know who’s better) but yay for her for waking me up when that happened.

    • mscisluv

      I thought neither of them deserved the award when compared to Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious).

  • Watcher

    If you listen closely to Kristen Chenoweth, it almost seemed like she knew she (or at least her script) was bombing horribly. She made several self-deprecating comments such as “if the joke fails once, repeat it again.” So maybe she’s not entirely to blame…I hope.

  • Jeff Bayer

    I’m a first year member of the BFCA. I’d like to say, ‘better than last year’ but that’s mainly because I don’t remember last year. Overall, I was pleased though Bullock (and Streep) beating my pick was that populist concept you see with these awards.
    Want to see my official ballot?

    http://thescorecardreview.com/news/2010/01/12/15th-annual-critics-choice-movie-awards-my-final-votes/7901

    • Jose

      Wow, a peek into a voter’s ballot.

    • Adam

      Jeff, I was just checking out your ballot. I loved that you wrote “there was no heavy lifting for Clooney.” That’s exactly how I feel about his performance in Up in the Air. It was a good performance, but there was nothing particularly remarkable about it. I don’t understand why he’s been winning so many awards this season, while Colin Firth has won almost nothing.

      • Jenny

        agree. I wasn’t that impressed with Clooney’s acting especially since the role he played is so similar to every role he ever plays. I haven’t seen Firth or Bridges’ respective movies so I can’t really judge but I wasn’t impressed by Clooney

      • soupout

        Ya. I feel like Colin Firth is continually shafted in awards seasons even though he’s probably a better actor than anyone there. I think it’s because he downplays himself so much and his performance is so nuanced. I’m glad that he’s at least being nominated this year though – but, personally, I think that he deserves the Oscar more than anyone this award season (even more so than Bridges…I mean, at least he’s been nominated 4 times before).

      • Lee

        George Clooney seems to always play George Clooney, beginning with ER and going through all those Ocean movies to right now. Both Clooney and UITA are overrated.

  • Jtag
  • Jose

    Wow, Death Cab for Cutie ruined that song for me.

  • bunker

    the scripted material was awful.

  • erf

    As I said in my last comment on the CCA’s,as much as I like Kristin Chenoweth,this wasn’t her finest moment.But the material was really bad.I also didn’t like the big-hair,overdone look.

  • Dave

    I love Kristen Chenoweth. But that opening musical number was absolutely horrendous. Not her voice, just the song itself, along with those little in-between jokes she spit out. I’m surprised I was able to sit through the whole thing right now. Not that any of this makes me like her less, because i still love her. But seriously, that was painful.

    • erf

      My sentiments exactly,Dave.I still
      love her,too,but I was almost embarrased for her.She was given nothing to work with.

      • K

        I completely agree. I absolutely love her and was planning on watching her host the awards, but it became very painful very quickly and I had to turn it off. I felt a little sorry for her that she had so little work with!

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