"We put the 'F' in art." So said one of the 200+ members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association to kick off their televised awards show last year. It was a year after a large portion of the voting body went on stage to announce No Country For Old Men as Best Picture and then remain on stage while the producers tried to give their speech. If the credibility of their voting group hadn't been strained by a quick perusal through their online roster, any last ounce had to be squeezed out forever if you watched their desperate attempts at humor and to acclamate themselves as some serious collection of cinephiles. One by one the normally hidden faces of these junketeers appeared, interspersed with one of the leading quote sluts in the business, Shawn Edwards, who kept coming back to announce one of the other Best Picture candidates as his favorite. When your go to guy for comic relief is that guy, it makes total sense how you could nominate The Proposal for Best Comedy of the year. That's what happens when the people behind In The Loop don't fly them anywhere.
Thus the 15th Annual BFCA Awards was indeed broadcast on VH-1 this evening. There should be a class action restraining order filed against them for referring to their honors as the "Critic's Choice Awards" as if they were a collecting body of every critic in America with a voice. There are some critics in the group. Respected ones at that. It's a shame they have to be associated with the majority who are flown, fed and bed by the studios for ten-minute interviews and quotes that their marketers could write themselves - and occasionally do. In a wise move, the BFCA critics were kept out of the spotlight and none of the nominees were announced with their one-word quotes plastered on the screen in front of them like last year.
This year's event kicked off with a half-hour on the red carpet. There are only two kinds of red carpet interviews - the generically bland and the insultingly moronic. "Why are the people of Pandora blue," Ben Lyons recently asked James Cameron? Last year's introduction by Sam Rubin and Carrie Keagan would have been sad if it weren't so infuriating. Tonight's proved to be more of the generic kind with Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell leading the way, but it did kick off in hilarious fashion with her and co-carpet host, Tim Kash, talking about all the legendary musicians to play the Hollywood Paladium. Just before Nick Jonas and his "band", The Administration, started performing. Look out for the foam, Pete Hammond! Never mind, there's already some on you.
The winners for this year's BFCA Awards were:
Best Acting Ensemble: Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique - Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Best Action Movie: Avatar
Best Animated Feature: Up
Best Young Actor: Saoirse Ronan - The Lovely Bones
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
Best Comedy: The Hangover
Best Song: The Weary Kind - Crazy Heart
Best Documentary: The Cove
Best Picture Made For Television: Grey Gardens
Best Foreign Language Film: Broken Embraces
Best Score: Michael Giaachino - Up
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Makeup: District 9
Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Visual Effects: Avatar
Best Sound: Avatar
Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Editing: Avatar
Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner - Up In The Air
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
Best Actress: (tie) Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia & Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Steven Spielberg is the only winner in the major categories since 1999 (for 2002's Minority Report) to then not be nominated at the Oscars. How does the BFCA measure up with the Oscars?
Eight of the last ten Best Pictures and Directors have won. Seven of the last ten Actors. Six of the last ten Actresses. Only five of the last ten choices for Supporting Actress have won. Six if you count Kate Winslet's shift from Supporting to Lead last year. And just four of the last ten Supporting Actors. The BFCA split their Screenplay category into two for the first time since 2000. All 13 screenplays honored going back to 1999 have been nominated. 8 have won.
It says something about the Broadcast Junketeers Association that they once again produced another tie for a major category. This is the seventh time in their history. How does a voting group of over 200 produce so many damn ties? How is that possible?
2008 - Actress - Anne Hathaway "Rachel Getting Married" / Meryl Streep "Doubt" (tie)
2005 - Supporting Actress - Michelle Williams "Brokeback Mountain" / Amy Adams (tie)
2002 - Actor - Jack Nicholson "About Schmidt" / Daniel Day-Lewis "Gangs Of New York" (tie)
2000 - Adapted Screenplay - Traffic / Wonder Boys (tie)
1998 - Supporting Actress - Joan Allen "Pleasantville" / Kathy Bates "Primary Colors" (tie)
1998 - Animated Feature - A Bug's Life / The Prince of Egypt (tie)
1995 - Supporting Actor - Ed Harris / Kevin Spacey (both for body of work that year) (tie)
Both Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock had some fun with it, sneering at each other. Bullock's utterance of a certain bull feature got through the live censors. Although her faux pas was not meant as irony for her winning for The Blind Side, Bullock reminded us what a lovely presence she can be. If only she can go back to the days of making Speed and While You Were Sleeping instead of The Proposal and All About Steve.
Seriously though, what is with all the ties? You want to bet against the theory of the group hedging their bets to keep the studios paying attention to them and getting all the big celebrities to attend their little soiree? How about after returning for the final award of the night, the announcer telling us not to go away so we can "find out who the frontrunner for the Oscars will be when the 15th annual Critics Choice Movie Awards return." 'Nuff said.