Michael Keaton won best actor for “Birdman.” The most nominated film of the evening, it also took prizes for score, original screenplay, ensemble and comedy actor award for Keaton.
“Boyhood” also racked up wins for director Richard Linklater, supporting actress Patricia Arquette and young performer Ellar Coltrane. “A year ago I really didn’t think anyone was going to care about this movie,” said Coltrane.
Comparisons to the Academy Awards are limited because the Critics Circle has many different categories, but in the crucial race of best-picture, it has matched the eventual Oscar-winner in 12 of the last 15 years.
The event was held at the Palladium in Hollywood Thursday evening, continuing the Critics Choice tradition of beginning ceremonies about 12 hours after the announcement of Oscar nominations. That means a long day which inspires muttering from awards strategists and journalists (including the BFCA members). But it pays off with bragging rights: This is the public debut of the morning’s newly anointed Oscar contenders.
Among the Academy Awards contenders on hand was Julianne Moore, who won best actress for “Still Alice.” “Thank you for noticing a little movie,” she said, recognizing the other nominees as well as Alzheimer’s disease sufferers.
Best adapted screenplay went to Gillian Flynn for “Gone Girl.” J.K. Simmons added to his long list of awards with his supporting actor win for “Whiplash.”
The CCMA has 24 categories with six contenders in each, and separate categories for comedy film, action film and sci-fi/horror, in addition to its top prize, which is labeled simply best picture.
In comedy, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was tapped top pic and Jenny Slate from “Obvious Child” for comedy actress.
“The Lego Movie,” which had been surprisingly shut out of Oscar noms, won best animated film. “What a roller-coaster of emotions today has been,” said co-director Phil Lord. Referencing the Charlie Hebdo attack, he continued, “Artists shouldn’t be silenced by fear.”
“A Most Violent Year’s” Jessica Chastain won the first-time MVP award, getting in a plug for diversity and acceptance in her speech. Ron Howard was honored with the Genius Award from Louis XIII. “The creative horizons are broadening,” Howard said. “Let’s just find a story that we believe in, and let’s go out and make it.”
Another honor went to Kevin Costner for lifetime achievement. “Nobody has it better than the actors, so try to act grateful,” he said.
Best song went to “Glory” from “Selma,” with Common dedicating the award to his father.
Action movies get several categories at the Critics Choice, with “Guardians of the Galaxy” winning for movie, Bradley Cooper as actor for “American Sniper” and Emily Blunt actress for “Edge of Tomorrow.”
The first award of the evening went to “Interstellar” for top sci-fi or horror film.
New Oscar nominees on hand included Eddie Redmayne, Robert Duvall, Alexandre Desplat, Dan Gilroy, Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Linklater, Common, Keaton and Moore.
There were also plenty of Oscar shutouts, who nevertheless looked sunny and upbeat including Ava DuVernay, Angelina Jolie, Flynn, Chastain and the “Lego Movie” team of directors Lord and Christopher Miller, and producer Dan Lin.
The Broadcast Film Critics Assn. consists of nearly 300 reviewers from TV, radio and online. Airing live on A&E, it was hosted by Michael Strahan, star of the upcoming “Magic Mike XXL,” who gamely dropped trou and boogied along with suggestive male dancers.
The mood was loose, which made for a fun evening but some long and sometimes rambling speeches. Most dramatic moment came after Keaton accepted his prize, and then tumbled off the stage as he went to greet Ethan Hawke seated at a nearby table. It was a slightly “Birdman” moment but Keaton jumped up and smiled, apparently OK.
Fox Seachlight had led the CCMA nominations with two films, “Birdman” (13 noms) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (11). IFC Films’ “Boyhood” followed with eight.