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Friday
Jan162015

Up Close at the 20th Annual "Critics Choice" Awards

Goddess with regular person. But at least he's in a brand new expensive suit.Did you want the Critics Choice Movie Awards last night? That accounts for my radio silence. I had the extreme good fortune of sitting at Jessica Chastain's table. No, I couldn't believe it either for which I must thank A24 profusely. It's true The Film Experience has been kinda nuts about their movies here from Spring Breakers to Under the Skin to the already weirdly underappreciated A Most Violent Year (opening in late late December is so hard for movies that are small and aren't directed by Clint Eastwood) but it was still an unbelievably kind gesture.

It turns out though that sitting at a table with some of the honored stars (Jenny Slate, also at the table, took home Best Comedy Actress) that is smack dab in the center (Wild table to the left, Theory of Everything and Unbroken to the right, Selma tables --plural, that's a big cast behind you) is rather terrifying and chaotic. Because I had the back to stage seat, the cameramen were running up to squat or stand hovering over me carrying loads of equipment to point the camera at Jessica and Jenny for reaction shots and for their wins. [More...]

The back to stage seat also results in neck and shoulder pain the following day (Hi - Right now!) from the quick cranks around but it's the price of showbiz from a good seat.

In short: had a great time but you maybe saw the actual show better on TV. Except for the Magic Mike themed opening. That was surely better from inside the house. Our table was loving it.

the theme of this awards season is "Ginger Beauty"

The most surprising revelation, being up close, is how much more personal the acceptance speeches feel. At home when you're watching and stars rattle on with names you haven't heard, their behind the scenes machinery, it can be numbing but it's not like that in the room; those very people are often sitting there feeling the love and tearing up. 

Another revelation is the "Stars. They're just like us" (*gag* I'm so sorry) factor. Noticing that stars also want personal photos with other stars -- it isn't just the civilians rushing up to celebrities during commercial breaks -- is very humanizing / adorable. Jessica is very popular as you might imagine and quite social. We talked very briefly about The Babadook (since we both suddenly cheered loudly when it's nomination came up onscreen) and about her speech - she was rehearsing it at the table and nervous. And since I had the best view of Michael Keaton falling off the stage rather dramatically (I'm not sure if the cameras caught it!) I assured the table he was okay. He landed on his feet but Ethan Hawke, who he was waving to when he fell, jumped up to break the otherwise inevitable tumble: Man hugs!

Scenes from the after party. My plus one Lauren (she's a young rising movie producer. We met and became friends at the Nashville Film Festival some years ago) with Tony Revolori who was very sweet and me looking dumb with Vera Farmiga who wore the best gown of the night I think.

But enough about all that. The winners, in case you didn't watch, were: 

Best Picture – “Boyhood”
Best Actor – Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Best Actress – Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

There were so many tables in the house that I didn't even realize Julianne Moore was there until she won. I never saw her except on stage. 

Best Supporting Actor – J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Best Supporting Actress – Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Patty, before you win the Oscar please memorize your speech. No more with the reading from cheat sheets!

Best Young Actor/Actress – Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”

Mackenzie Foy, who played the young "Murph" (i.e. Chastain as a child) in Interstellar was in the house and after this prize, Jessica jumped up to give her a hug. So thoughtful.


Best Acting Ensemble – “Birdman”
Best Director – Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Best Original Screenplay – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., Armando Bo, “Birdman”
Best Adapted Screenplay – Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl”

Absolutely loved her speech, didn't you?

Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
Best Art Direction – Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Anna Pinnock (Set Decorator), “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Best Editing – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione, “Birdman”
Best Costume Design – Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Best Hair & Makeup – “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Best Visual Effects – “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
Best Animated Feature – “The Lego Movie”
Best Action Movie – “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Best Actor in an Action Movie – Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Best Actress in an Action Movie – Emily Blunt, “Edge of Tomorrow”

I don't know how well the cameras caught her husband bounding out from backstage to kiss her but it was tremendously fun live. It was also a thrill to hear Blunt talk about this movie and be so happy to claim the name 'Full Metal Bitch'. Sometimes people mock the plentiful awards as naked ploy to hand more celebrities trophies -- I've done it myself -- but where else could Emily Blunt be honored for that killer performance?

P.S. Jessica loved her speech.

Best Comedy – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Best Actor in a Comedy – Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

Keaton was up on stage three times that night. Maybe I was wrong about the Oscar being Redmayne's?

Best Actress in a Comedy – Jenny Slate, “Obvious Child”
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie – “Interstellar”
Best Foreign Language Film – “Force Majeure”

I talked to the two male actors from the cast because I loved the movie and they admitted they'd had a disorienting day. They had their personal cameras prepped to do their happy Oscar nominee selfies for social media that morning and "well, you wouldn't want to see what happened next!" Because of course they were not actually nominated despite all the foreign film wins along the way, I believe they're running second to Ida with prizes but out of the running for Oscar now.

Best Documentary Feature – “Life Itself”
Best Song – “Glory”, Common and John Legend, “Selma”
Best Score – Antonio Sanchez, “Birdman”

 

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Reader Comments (44)

I adore this post!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterzig

Julianne Moore tweeted that she's "mortified" for leaving out La Marion in her acceptance speech. Guess the whole six-wide thing threw her, too, after Marion's been sitting some of these other rounds out.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

The telecast cut out many speeches. We didn't see Gillian Flynn's or many others. What did you love about it?

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDev

"Best Adapted Screenplay – Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl”

Absolutely loved her speech, didn't you?"

They didn't show either of the screenplay wins on TV! :(

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Did you meet Milena Canonero?

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Very cool that you were sitting so close!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Julianne actually touted Marion big time at Cannes, so I think she's excused for the oversight. Then again, she did actually swipe the Golden Globe she predicted Marion would win...

The Critics Choice Awards seemed to function as a consolation prize for Blunt, Lego Movie, and Force Majeure.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Bruno -- it did right? Only we voted before the nominations were announced so it was a happy accident.

January 16, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

What an exciting post. Thanks for sharing and good for you for landing such a great seat.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Looks like you had a great time! How cute is Eddie Redmayne in person?

I'm not sure I buy the statement "weirdly underappreciated" re A Most Violent Year (even though you qualified that with "not directed by Clint Eastwood"). I'm a HUGE J.C. Chandor fan, championing his two previous films with everyone I know so I was very much looking forward to this film. It literally opens today in Boston in 2 theaters (no 'burbs multiplexes). Think about other noir crime films like The Departed--they do huge business, in the theater and on VOD, and generally there's lot of chatter. So annoyed with these "qualifying" releases. If the filmmakers want the big prizes, or at least to be in the conversation, they should open mid-fall. Relying on campaigns and screeners is BS. There would be a different conversation re Selma if it had opened earlier. Sorry for kvetching, but this really bugs me about award season.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam

OMG you met La Chastain...can I touch you!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

This sounds amazing- so glad you were not only able to hear Jessica Chastain's amazing speech in person (which makes me unable to wait for her to get her Oscar win), but that you were able to see her before and after!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

You are truly blessed - what fun! These personal posts of yours makes us feel like we're right beside you!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Watching the event at home was sort of bland and predictable.

Random thoughts:

I know why I do not like Bradley Cooper.. He reminds me of a young Kevin Costner

Arquette's speeches are doing nothing for me... As soon as she tarted to get out the 3 pages of notes and glasses... Good lord! How old is she? Even Jessica Tandy could give a speech without all that- what shot mess!

Obviously this site is on full on Chastain mode- but I read chilled reactions to her from many of the room- Jolie, Blunt? Her speech was ok.. Guess she likes to give her opinion about things.

Bradley Cooper/American Sniper- Action film?

Rene Russo- take NyQuil if you are sick, not Valium... She was a mess

Keaton nominated and winning both Best Actor and Best Comedy Actor- a little bit unfair and not sure of the distinction- should have been Redmayne's... Why would this even be allowed? Why is it not set up like the Globes?

Emy Blunt needs to win more awards.
Many stars noticeably missing( especially Streep) :(

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Looks like it wasn't just the Oscars that were WHITES ONLY.

I've seen Selma and Birdman and Selma is heaps better. Birdman was good but not great.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

Pam -- i've actually met Eddie Redmayne in person several times now (weird that. that's not normal for me) and he is unbelievably adorable in person. even cuter than onscreen. Also agreed on tiny releases. I understand it (vaguely) from a money perspective but it also seems like if you're going to spend the money on advertising you need to have the product available for people to buy

Jamie -- obviously i can't see reaction shots when i'm in the audience. so that's interesting. political speeches tend to be divisive i know

January 16, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

So bummed they didn't show Gillian Flynn's acceptance speech on TV! I recently read Dark Places and it is such a damn good book!

Overall, a pretty good telecast. However, Michael Strahan is not a good host. I don't even like him on Live with Kelly. They could have picked someone better.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

RE: Arquette. Maybe if she loses the SAG Award (spoiler alert: I ain't votin' for her), she'll see it as a wake-up call and come up with a speech she can memorize or improvise.

RE: Force Majeure. Was one of the actors you spoke with the ginger bear from Game of Thrones? Great face.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Did JC recall that you had interviewed her in the past?

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBillyHeldAnOscar

Yes, please ignore my questions.

Michael Strahan was a horrible host! Did I really see a segment where he was trying to name a TABLE? And sought out suggestions from Twitter to do it? Hot ass mess if I've ever seen one.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDev

In this clip the camera passes what looks like the back of your head as Jessica C. walks to the podium. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJulQJXvMbU

I wouldn't read too much into the reaction shot of Jolie. She just seems composed, not chillly toward Jess.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

"Violent Year" is weirdly underappreciated because no one outside fests, NY and LA have seen it because A24 has been lax about distributing it. I live in Seattle and it still hasn't played here.

That said, I hope you told Jessica Chastain that she gets better looking every year.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterErik

Paul what does her speech have anything to do with her being a deserving winner ?????

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRami

SanFran -- ahah. that is me. yep, my bald head. (sigh). at least i't s only a second and at least it's a new suit :)

January 16, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Michael Strahan seems like a nice guy, so I feel bad about piling on... but wow, that was a horrendous hosting job. Not all his fault, obviously. You could plainly see the directions the "producers" had been giving him ("Ellen Degeneres interacted with celebrities in the crowd at the Oscars - people love that!" "social media is a thing - let's use that!"). The problem is that he is not a comedian nor an improviser by training; the man was clearly panicking and had no idea how to deliver a joke, let it land, and then move on to the next one. His "material" consisted almost entirely of asking movie stars if he could be in their next movie and relying on costumes to be the entire joke rather than be in service of an actual joke. A Gandalf costume?! In 2015?!

I am always interested in how the mood in the room differs from what we perceive on television. The awkwardness of the Lego Movie guys accepting their award and acknowledging their Oscar miss in the same breath suggested to me a much more dampened atmosphere than, say, at the Globes earlier this week. I think it's actually really crass to hold this ceremony on the day of the nominations announcement. They do it to be the first red carpet with the new class of Oscar-anointed ones walking it, but the flip side is that they also rely on viewers' curiosity to peer at "the snubbed" to drive ratings. I think the Aniston cutaways would have been reduced by at least 25% had she actually made the Best Actress lineup; a focal point of the evening was pretty clearly "how are Jen/Jessica/Selma cast & crew holding up?" And that just doesn't feel right/respectable to me.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

Nat. Just out of curiosity, who else was seated at your table? Was JC the star and everyone else from the production company and guests like yourself or were there other actors from their films present and just how big are those tables. They always look like they would comfortably seat 8 but are set for 16.

I agree with Paul re Arquette. It's a matter of professionalism and respect to have your remarks ready. Especially if you are the front runner.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

RJ -- i 100% agree. I think it's terrible form to hold it on that day and you definitely feel that. Last year for example Daniel Bruhl seemed to be in a horrible mood and you could tell that people were pissed for the Selma table about them getting only 2 oscar nominations

Dev -- i wanted to answer but after typing this i realized i had no recall of what she said just that it was funny about writing and writers and I think she mentioned Rosamund Pike in a cool way. Anyway i loved it in the moment but can't recall why. argh.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Henry - my table was the distribution company, Jenny Slate and guest and Jessica Chastain and her team and me and my guest somehow. I'm still in disbelief.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

You're reading something into my comment that wasn't intended. I wasn't planning on voting for Arquette before I saw her give a speech, Rami.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Nat- You lucky sod. I heard Jenny Slate on "wait, wait....don't tell me" and she seems so lovely. Good for you.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Did you get to meet Dick Poop?

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHmm

That is so great, Nate. You were lucky to be there because watching the show was painful.
And two awards to Keaton was wrong.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaveylow

You lucky so and so!

You were also so close to my future husbear, Kevin Costner. How did he look?

And how long was it between when Miss Chastain won her award and when she came back to the table after the press room backstage?

I hope you had oodles of fun! Air Kisses!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Loved reading this! I forget that they actually do have acceptance speeches for any awards not televised ("Awards won previously tonight..."). Glad to see Emily Blunt win an award on TV, and CONGRATS on getting that table seat!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

Sorry Paul my bad. I find it kind of endearing that Patricia has a piece of paper each time , it seems to be a safety net for her.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRami

So cool that you got to spend time with Jessica Chastain! I'm sure you cheered her up a bit. She gave an excellent, very thoughtful speech that I hope resonated with the audience. I would love to see more people follow in her footsteps by calling out injustices in the film industry.

I find Patricia Arquette's 3-hole punch paper to be rather endearing. Then again, she can do no wrong in my eyes after 'Boyhood.'

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

"They had their personal cameras prepped to do their happy Oscar nominee selfies for social media that morning and "well, you wouldn't want to see what happened next!""

Oh yes, I would!

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Why can't Patty memorize her speeches? Isn't her job as an actress to memorize lines anyways?

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCris

You can, it's online, par. But it may be staged.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

So glad you had a great time, Nathaniel! You looked lovely in your new suit. :)

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Paul - i think it's staged. planning a post about it.

January 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Year in, year out this is by far the hardest thing to watch for me. It's just painfully unfunny and feels cheap, like their only reason to hold this is in relation to the Oscars. Like, they don't have drama/comedy/action categories, they have general "Oscar prediction" fields and then the other two, so someone, like Michael Keaton ends up taking home two best actor prizes at one show for the same performance. And I agree on the day of Oscar noms thing and how it's distasteful. My heart hurt every time they looked at Ava or David Oyelowo because they looked upset like they didn't even want to be there. It's in poor taste, as if they hold it the same day just to get fresh reactions from the stars and try to make the show relevant. :/

But I'm glad it plays better in house!

And RE: Patricia Arquette... I'm a huge fan and I've been rooting for her ever since I heard about Boyhood, but yes. I agree. Memorize a speech. It's not like they have to change all that much. I mean, apart of me does think it adds to her down-to-Earth motherly charm, but it can be hard to watch. And it's just unprofessional, you're up for an award and if you have common sense you know you're the frontrunner, memorize something short but sweet. I mean, you're an actress, it's not like we're asking you to do something completely foreign.

January 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I'm happy that you seemed to have a great time Nat!

Although based on the photos, I guess you aren't one of those bloggers/reporters who make fun of HFPA members for photo ops with the stars :P

January 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCC

CC - lol. I used to. But honestly I only took these two. Last year I took none. I do find it distasteful that some people just go from table to table at each commercial break getting photos with the celebs.

January 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

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