Jared Leto at the Critics Choice
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Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts turn out for BFCA Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Remember that sandstorm in “Mission: Impossible 5 – Ghost Protocol”? The one everyone saw coming but didn’t properly deal with until Tom Cruise found himself chasing some guy through it? That chaotic blend of sand, panic and preparedness (Cruise did, if you recall, have goggles on hand) is better recognized in Hollywood as awards season.

It’s not yet the home stretch for the yearly procession of ceremonies, Q&A sessions and power breakfasts that require huge amounts of curated speculation, careful wardrobe consideration and a two-drink minimum.

Thursday night’s Critics’ Choice Movie Awards at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar brought out the cast of “American Hustle” (which won best acting ensemble, among others), “12 Years a Slave” (best picture, among others) and “Dallas Buyers Club” (for which Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both took home awards) – an impressive turnout considering the Academy Awards nominations were announced that morning.

Hollywood talent, their agents and publicists, even the studio execs were tired – nay exhausted — and rightfully so, considering that the asinine ritual of waking up well before the sun to make the morning shows in New York persists.

Lately, tired Hollywood resembles a drowsy puppy, fighting to stay awake in order to not miss anything, but really just wanting to be left alone. This may help to explain why the stars sprinted down the red carpet and bolted out of Barker Hangar before the final winner of the night, Steve McQueen, uttered his last “thank you.”

It was extraordinary, the Victorian dance of handshakes and artful dodges, say, of “American Hustle” star Jeremy Renner, who was flanked by two towering women and in his exit stopped only to take a couple of quick Instagram-worthy pics, or of “The Wolf of Wall Street” beauty Margot Robbie, who made it into the event early enough to network the cocktail hour and beat everyone to her front row table, only to magically disappeared moments after the show finished.

To those who stayed post-broadcast: “Nebraska” stars June Squibb and Bruce Dern, who both ate their banquet dinners (an awards-show rarity); Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, who are deep into writing their next project which they hope to release next summer; and master networker Harvey Weinstein, I salute you. Until next time, and by that I mean Saturday’s SAG Awards.

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