Jennifer Coolidge held court while eating ice cream and Julia Roberts, Thuso Mbedu and Cate Blanchett were among the stars working the room to say their hellos.
The stars were out Sunday to celebrate the Critics’ Choice Awards, except for those who had COVID. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star Jamie Lee Curtis, “The Banshees of Inisherin” leads Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson and “Babylon” actor Jean Smart missed out on the show after testing positive.
The Critics Choice Association, an organization comprising some 500 broadcast, radio and online critics and entertainment journalists, handed out its top prizes in television and film to “Abbott Elementary” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
While audiences could tune in to the CW Network to watch the show, the action really began when the cameras stopped rolling during commercial breaks.
Celebrities are fans, too. The second the live show cut to a commercial break, Roberts, Blanchett, Angela Bassett and more used those moments to visit other tables. Roberts, who was nominated for her performance in “Gaslit,” spent one break deep in conversation with “Tár’s” Nina Hoss. During another, she stopped by to say hello to Coolidge. “Andor” star Diego Luna sought out director Guillermo del Toro moments before the show went on air. Blanchett was spotted over on the far side of the room swinging by to greet Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett.
Austin Butler Wins “Most Selfie Request.” Runner-up: Jennifer Coolidge
Austin Butler, Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin missed the show’s opening minutes, arriving at their table during the first commercial break. While Butler didn’t win for “Elvis,” he took home the honor for most selfie requests. Butler happily obliged as attendees including Keegan-Michael Key and Janelle Monáe were among those who stopped by to bestow praise for his performance or try to take a selfie.
Butler had to make a quick exit at the end of the night because he had an early morning flight on Monday.
Coolidge held court at her table, eating the Coldstone Creamery ice cream being served, taking selfies and being praised for her fabulousness.
The craft award winners were displayed the same way they were shown on TV — the winners for best costume design, production design, screenplay and adapted screenplay were some of the awards flashed up on screen. There were no acceptance speeches or voiceovers of the winners, creating confusion.
Notably, when Sarah Polley won adapted screenplay for “Women Talking” in the same block as her composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who was double nominated, winning for “Tár.” It took Polley about 20 minutes to realize Guðnadóttir had won for Todd Field’s drama rather than her own.
Food, Glorious Food
Dinner inside the ballroom was anything but a three-course meal. Set plates were laid out as guests arrived at the table. Hummus and an olive tapenade dip with crispbread awaited the nominees.
The bigger menu was featured at the afterparty, where guests enjoyed baked gnocchi, lasagne, a charcuterie selection and sushi. Ice cream was also offered, including flavors like cake batter, strawberry and chocolate.
‘Everything’ Is Connected
Undoubtedly the most lively table in the room was “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Filmmakers the Daniels and acting nominees Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu celebrated together. “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” star Ismael Cruz Córdova stopped to say hello to college classmate Hsu. During the catch-up, they both told Variety, Córdova took her first headshots during their college years. Then, with a polaroid camera handy, he asked for one more shot of the two enjoying their success in film and television.
Meeting New Friends and Possible Future Co-Stars
The red carpet was buzzing and crowded, even at one point being closed by the Los Angeles Fire Marshal. While waiting for spots to open up for interviews, Variety introduced actors Murray Bartlett (“Welcome to Chippendales”), Nina Hoss (“Tar”) and Jenny Slate (“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On”) to one another.
They hit it off, having a lively exchange and laughing about life’s random peccadillos on the red carpet. This came before Variety’s senior awards editor Clayton Davis suggested the three do a movie together.
Hoss responded, “Oh my God, can we?”
Slate said, “Oh, we should,” before Bartlett capped it off with, “Let’s do it.”