‘The Artist,’ ‘The Help’ big winners at Critics’ Choice Awards

As predicted by Gold Derby, “The Artist” won Best Picture and Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) at the 17th annual Critics’ Choice Awards on Thursday. This Valentine to the silent film era, which had 11 nominations, also won Best Score (Ludovic Bource) and Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges). These kudos bestowed by the 250 members of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Assn. often go to the eventual Oscar champs. (Complete list of winners here

“The Help” won three of its eight races: Best Ensemble as well as Best Actress for Viola Davis and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer. While Spencer was expected to win, Davis was in a close contest with Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”). 

After losing seven bids in various categories over the years, George Clooney finally won over the BFCA and claimed Best Actor for “The Descendants.” His was the only win out of seven nods for this domestic drama.  Veteran Christopher Plummer claimed the Supporting Actor award for his performance in “Beginners.” 

The screenplay prizes went to Woody Allen for his original script for “Midnight in Paris” and the team that adapted the non-fiction book “Moneyball” (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin). Each film had three bids and these were their only wins. 

Hugo,” which also had 11 nominations, had to settle for just one win — Art Direction (Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo).

The lensers for “War Horse” (Janusz Kaminski) and “The Tree of Life” (Emmanuel Lubezki) shared the Best Cinematography award which was the only victory for their films which had seven and five bids respectively. 

Drive,” which reaped a surprising eight bids, won only Best Action Movie. 

And “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” won one of its four races: Younger Actor/Actress for newcomer Thomas Horn.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” only reaped two bids with the BFCA and won one of them — Best Editing (Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall). 

Over the 16 years of these kudos, they have proven to be the most accurate precursor prizes to the Oscars. The BFCA has predicted 10 Best Picture, 11 Best Actor, 10 Best Actress, nine Supporting Actress and eight Supporting Actor Oscar winners.

Last year, all four of the Critic’s Choice acting champs went on to win Oscars. However, this critics’ group went with “The Social Network” for the top film of the year while the motion picture academy preferred “The King’s Speech.” 

The two groups also agreed on: Original Screenplay (“The King’s Speech), Adapted Screenplay (“The Social Network”), Cinematography (“Inception”), Costume Design (“Alice in Wonderland”), Score (“The Social Network”), Sound (“Inception”), Visual Effects (“Inception”) and Animated Feature (“Toy Story 3”). 

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