LOS ANGELES–The investigative journalism drama “Spotlight” won the top prize at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday, while awards favorites Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio won the top acting prizes for “Room” and “The Revenant.”
Both actors won Golden Globe Awards and are considered front-runners for the Academy Awards, too.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” was the most nominated film of the evening with 13 nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association. While it lost out for the top prize, it did win a number of awards, including Best Director for George Miller, best action movie, and best action movie actor and actress for Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.
The financial crisis dramedy “The Big Short,” meanwhile, won for best comedy and best comedic actor for star Christian Bale, who kissed both his wife and director Adam McKay on his way up to the stage to accept his award.
Both were up for best picture Oscar heavyweights like “Spotlight,” “The Revenant” and “The Martian,” as well as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which was added after initial nominees were announced and went home empty handed on Sunday.
“Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams was in attendance to present the Genius Award to Industrial Light & Magic, which Chief Creative Officer John Knoll accepted.
But it was “Spotlight’s” night in the end. The film also picked up Best Acting Ensemble, winning out over films like “Straight Outta Compton” and “The Hateful Eight.”
It was the only award that N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” was up for at the show, but the film was on everyone’s minds on the blue carpet and in the early moments of the evening after it received only one Academy Award nomination for screenwriting just days earlier.
“They got snubbed, but there are lots of other great films that got snubbed as well,” said Neil Brown Jr. before the show began. Brown Jr. played DJ Yella in the film which has picked up its share Guild nominations this season.
“Just everybody talking about it is enough of an Oscar for us,” he added.
The lack of diversity this awards season came into focus on Thursday when there were once again no actors of color among the Academy Awards nominees. On Saturday, Jada Pinkett Smith even posited on Twitter that perhaps people of color should refrain from participating in the Oscars altogether.
“We are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments,” Smith wrote.
“Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson joked early on about the lack of diversity at the Oscars.
“A lot of actors who win the Critics’ Choice go on to win the Academy Award,” said Anderson when presenting an early award with co-star Tracee Ellis Ross. “For you, Tracy, that means only half of you gets to go to the awards.”
While Anderson was joking about Ross’s mixed race background, the Critics’ Choice Awards winners do often reflect who will go on to win the Oscar, making the ceremony an interesting barometer for the season as everyone gears up for the Guild Awards and, eventually, the Oscars on Feb. 28.