Critics' honor year's best

HOLLYWOOD What awed the crowd at Thursday’s Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica was the crowd itself: the star and exec turnout placed the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s event in the kudocast big leagues.

“Three years ago this was like a Knights of Columbus banquet,” said Sony Classic’s co-topper Tom Bernard. “It’s improved tremendously.”

“Milk” producer Dan Jinks said the event has “grown up — this is the same crowd as the Globes and SAG.”

Though there were a slew of jokes about the irony of attending a dinner hosted by critics (emcee Jason Alexander said the event was for “the people who make the movies and the people who watch them for free”) the organizers did a good job of keeping the evening compact. With a two hour length, the event was shorter than most of the movies nominated.

For those who wanted to prolong the schmoozefest, after-party was at the nearby Viceroy hotel and had an equally strong celeb and exec attendance.

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