Your thoughts on the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards

March 9, 2021 in President's Message

The 26th annual Critics Choice Awards show was unlike anything that came before, and hopefully unlike the future, too.  But under these pandemic circumstances I am pretty darn proud of what we accomplished – an entertaining and enlightening awards show that somehow managed to deliver more nominees live in person than ever before.  The technical challenge was daunting, which made our show all the more satisfying in the end.

Behind the scenes, there were a lot of heroes, most notably CCA EVP John De Simio, Board members Shawn Edwards and Sam Rubin, Dera Freund and Scott Mantz.  The CW Television Network, EP Bob Bain and his entire team, Webmaster Lisa Waters, and Slate PR are crucial and reliable allies, along with a hundred more too numerous to name here.

Of course, what matters most is what YOU thought.  Any feedback – good or bad – would be much appreciated here, so we can accentuate the positive and mitigate the negatives moving forward.  What did you think of the 26th annual CCA?  Please post comments below.

Onward and upward!

36 responses to Your thoughts on the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards

  1. great production, classy, evocative of TRON perhaps
    well paced, amazing amount of ‘tables’ and i only wish Prague had better WiFi since poor Anderson was twice battered by faulty connection
    and while the crying kid was adorable i am not in favor of making kids compete. Why not just give special awards to all the nominated kids?

  2. I liked the show. It’s a shame we had to go against the NBA All-Star game, and the Meghan Merkle/Prince Harry interview! And…host Taye Diggs isn’t all that funny. Is there a way we can submit jokes to him and/or the writing staff for next year?

  3. First, thank you for the monumental effort that went into this show, which was elegant, graceful, and moving. Most important, our award choices were all outstanding, reflecting the deep critical understanding and broad exposure to the year’s films that other groups do not have. I am really proud of our nominations and awardees. Taye Diggs is an ideal host. We should have him every year. It was a blow to find ourselves opposite what may turn out to be among the highest-rated programs of the decade, which we could not have anticipated. I am not sure that having a separate “super” award show was the right choice and look forward to other members’ views. While there were many advantages to not having a live audience, the absence of applause and laughter and reaction shots took some of the energy out of the event. But overall, an outstanding event, a superb host, excellent choices of presenters, technology well handled, and my deepest thanks to John, Joey, and all who worked so tirelessly to make sure our award show reflected the diversity and quality of our members.

  4. Congratulations on getting the job done! That in and of itself was a major accomplishment. I admire Taye Digs as an actor but he is not a comedian. Getting a comic to host might be something to consider.

  5. I was really pleased with the Awards. Taye Diggs continues to impress as an affable and charismatic host and the whole production was terrific. Alan Kim stole the show and that’s one we should all be sharing, it makes for a wonderful viral moment.

  6. Will the CW let us post the show on our site? Then we could blast it out as “The Best Awards Show You Didn’t See.”

    Just a thought.

  7. This year’s show was a nearly impossible task up against certainly impossible counter-programming. And guess what – your team really pulled it off as well as anyone could have imagined! Certainly better than you-know-who.

    Congratulations!

    I know we will face still commercial headwinds – half the fun and appeal of a show like this is exactly the melting pot of all the nominees in one place at one time. We can only hope that we will return to that much more appealing model with next year’s show and the real world we all yearn for.

    God knows the CCA and its nominees, members, studio partners, and viewers deserve it.

    Congratulations on an amazing show!

  8. I thought the whole production was done so well! Kudos to everyone involved that made the show go so smoothly. Loved that we got to see some really great wins/acceptance speeches. The more people we can see win, the better. I would love it if we could try and show the writing winners too next year. I know it’s hard to fit in everyone though. Obviously, an in person show will always be preferred, but with what we had to deal with this was incredible. And I love that we highlighted our diversity. I think we should continue to do that in coming years. Thank you again to everyone!

  9. Great effort by all involved.

    Yes, going up against Oprah’s version of “Coming 2 America,” and the NBA All-Stars, makes for tough ratings.

    Taye Diggs is a cool dude, at times a bit too cool for the room. He’s done a good job as host for three years, but maybe it’s time for someone new. Maybe Tiffany Haddish? Just saying.

    As a charter member, I’m very proud of the job done by Joey Berlin and the rest of the production team. As the old commercial used to say…”we’ve come a long way baby.” From lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel to a worldwide audience of millions of viewers. I’ve seen the growth and achievements of our hard working and very qualified organization.

    It’s a shame THE LOS ANGELES TIMES doesn’t recognize our association of over 400 very diverse members. They give the 86 members of the Golden Globes pages of coverage and photos, while not a word about our nominees and winners, who usually become, the same faces you see at the Oscars.

    Once again congrats to all involved in the production of a First-Class awards show. Given the current challenges of a worldwide pandemic, a show worthy of praise and attention by ALL media, especially our hometown newspaper.

    Already looking forward to next year’s show. Let’s hope King LeBron and Queen Oprah take the night off, and the LA TIMES heeds the advice of a story in today’s edition (3-9-21.) The headline for the story written by Glenn Whipp…”IT’S TIME TO REPLACE THE GOLDEN GLOBES.”

    • Totally agree with you, Jimmy. It’s time for the LA Times to recognize that the replacement show for the Golden Globes should be the CCA Awards, not the SAG Awards. Nothing against actors, but film and television critics are more of a match to what the GG has been offering so far. Time to boost CCA!

  10. Congratulations to all the people behind the CCA Awards that gave us an entertaining and spectacular show last Sunday, despite the limitations due to “virtual ceremonies”. At a time when the Golden Globes are losing their varnish and the HFPA is struggling to clean up their act, the CCA Awards should step up and offer a legitimate replacement to an important slot: the Award show that is a prelude to the Oscars. Unlike Glenn Whipp, from the LA Times, who thinks that the SAG Awards should replace the Golden Globes because the “voting body” of the CCA is not credible (see article “It’s time to replace the Golden Globes” in “The Envelope” on March 9, 2021), the CCA Awards would actually be the perfect substitution to the GG, with a legitimate group of professional journalists that represent a large range of media that could easily be complemented by an international branch within the CCA.

  11. I was very impressed with the show. I liked that there was an express intention on our part to explain how diverse the CCA is and also that we’re the largest film critics organization in the United States.
    I live on the West Coast and would have loved to be able to watch the show live. Instead of that, I had to stay away from Twitter and wait until 7 pm to be able to watch it. Tweeting about the winners then felt a little bit weird since it had already happened.
    I loved Taye Diggs and he certainly had a very tough job without an audience. I wasn’t convinced by the sketches where there were some filters applied to him.
    I agree with one of the other comments, we’d probably benefit if we could let people stream the show somehow after it happens (or even while it happens).

  12. Hi, from what I could see up here in Ontario, it was great, Diggs was engaging and I don’t mind seeing people’s rooms. You made the best of a limited situation, elevated by all that emotion and heart! A big pat on the back to the team!!! and to the nominees and actors who clearly care a good deal for our group!
    I had to watch on YouTube which was dicey and crammed with ads. I hope we can finally get better access in Canada next year as my region does not get The CW.
    Great job!

  13. I generally liked it and found myself drawn to it although I’m less interested in the TV stuff and it seemed to mostly be saved for the last 30 minutes. Production was great though, and I liked having the “tables” for different movies (vs. what the Globes did, pairing nominees in diff. categories together)

  14. Balancing comments from a variety of outside sources with ours, the production was stellar. Once again, the Association commanded attention from industry leaders and offered interesting food for thought as the awards season heads into the homestretch.

    As has been echoed above, perhaps we can consider some other “pop culture”-centric awards to celebrate those efforts?

    One thought: a “legacy” performance winner. We include an award for a performance from the past that wasn’t recognized by the Oscars, etc. In addition to being a celebration of our rich film legacy, it would honor performances that have stood the test of time. Can you imagine a nomination list that might include Michael J. Fox (as Marty from Back to Future), Robert Show (Quint from Jaws), and Linda Hamilton (as Sarah Conor from Terminator 2)?

  15. My apologies on the typo – “Robert Shaw”, not “Show”.

  16. And Back to the Future…not Back to Future. Age is getting to me, and my eyes aren’t what they once were.

  17. The production was wonderful, and the clip packages really showed off what was being nominated. You can’t do much about spotty wi-fi, but perhaps that could be addressed in advance, especially when there is an extended bit of conversation planned.

    My biggest beef is that the show is time delayed on the west coast. Starting at 5:00 might have gone a long way around the counter-programming. But kudos to a killer show in a very weird year. PS – I love the legacy award idea.

  18. All things considered, thought it’s our best show ever. Very well done, loved the virtual tables, the fast pacing and a minimum of silly, poorly written presenter dialogue. Major kudos to all! (Agree with Schaefer ’bout the kid, but it did prove what a good little actor Kim really is.)

  19. Technically excellent, 87% less awkward than the Globes and a real achievement. Atlas Shrugged.

  20. The production value was top notch. It was fast paced and having the nominees and presenters in their own element added some nice moments. In light of our world and broadcast right now I am not sure we could have raised the bar any higher. I think we proved that not only are our awards a cut above, but our show is too.

  21. The broadcast was absolutely first rate, and under the incredibly impossible circumstances, the production was fantastic. I was in the Press Room and like many of us, was “multi-tasking,” but tremendous Kudos to Elyse Weissman who managed the backstage interview portion absolutely flawlessly. What a thrill to be a part of the team. Onward and Upward as the Great Joey Berlin reminds us! 🙂

  22. It was amazing. So great to see so many participate. I’m amazed at the choices and results too. It’s no wonder the CCA has become the organization that most influences Oscar picks. Impressed something was able to be put together as good as this under the circumstances. Here’s hoping we’re all in the same room together next year!

  23. What a fantastic job pulling off this gargantuan task during these tumultuous times! Props to everyone involved. Here’s to next year!

  24. Thumbs up for me! So much more watchable than the Globes. And I thought Taye did as good of a job as he could and didn’t let the few glitches rattle him. And I doubt there will be a better moment this awards season than Alan Kim crying over his win.

  25. It was a clean, crisp production. Its rating was foredoomed. Personally , I was glad Diggs wasn’t given jokes that require an audience reaction to justify. But just praising a job well done under the extraordinary circumstances is of limited to use to our future plans when we have the new normal.

    Going forward, we need to capitalize on the temporary wounds of the HFPA (they’ll just pour monetary salve on it, adjust their membership, add panels & advisors, create special awards & stage a lavish comeback with a giant network audience that they’ll rally). We can’t outspend them, we can’t beat them in the ratings with their TV reach. Perhaps we can make an arrangement with a major league streamer. The big one has made every effort to work with us. But that’s for another day.

    • Good idea. It would be really interesting to see how a broadcast followed by a limited-run stream on Netflix or Amazon could do for the show. As a guy who teaches college when not reviewing films, it’s interesting to see how many younger people have completely abandoned traditional TV for streaming services. This might be a way to build an audience that would remain for years.

  26. I echo a lot of what has already been said and offer my congrats to the entire production team for pulling off a job well done under extraordinary circumstances (to say the least). It was wonderful to see the majority of the nominees “present,” as well as the A-grade level presenters. For me, the star power at these types of events goes a long, long way. As for host, Taye Diggs is definitely likeable and has an infectious energy! I do think an established comedian would be better at “bringing the funny” so to speak. But, over all, this was a classy show that went by in a breeze!

  27. It was a really enjoyable show. Nice work. It’s interesting to see all the varied reactions to Taye Diggs. I am in the camp who enjoys him as an actor and likes his general personality but doesn’t view him as a great host. Perhaps someone from a CW comedy would be a nice change of pace. As others have noted, the counter-programming was ridiculous … but it was impressive to see so many in Hollywood Zoom in to accept awards, make announcements, etc. Also, although not all of my first selections won, I think our nominations and eventual winners make a statement. We make diverse, high-quality picks, which is good for the industry and our reputation as an organization.

  28. So proud of our organization and of the incredible work that went into producing this broadcast.
    Much of what I thought has been already been said but I’d like to add a request that our ‘Super’ Awards be integrated into it – since they acknowledge the year’s most popular films and bring in a younger audience.

  29. Hey All —
    In light of all the obvious challenges, I thought it was a pretty slick show. Still, there’s always room for improvement. So, although they were written in the spirit of constructive criticism, some might find my comments a bit harsh. But hey, we’re critics, right? This is our job.
    Here goes:
    —It sounded like there were problems with in-studio sound compression— it was uneven. This had nothing to do with remote connections. Should be an easy fix.
    —Laugh/applause tracks should have been omitted. Taye Diggs went out of his way to let everyone know there was no live audience, so why the artificial audience reaction? Awkward.
    —The entire production could have been enlivened with more theme music cues. It’s impossible for one man to keep the energy up by himself — more music would have helped. The audience expects it to “play-off” acceptance speeches anyway.
    —Speaking of music, how great was it to get Lin Manuel Miranda to introduce the songs?
    —Why the handheld mic? Looked a little old school, and came between Taye Diggs and the audience when he held it in front of his face.
    —Loved the opening poetry! Fun way to start it off.
    —I also liked the filters on Diggs. Gave us welcome, fun, hip visual relief.
    —I was VERY impressed with the caliber of the presenters. But if we’re going to get A-list talent, they deserve A-List material. We definitely need to freshen up the writers’ room. I think the suggestion of allowing members to give input and submit jokes, etc. is an excellent one.
    —I think we missed a huge opportunity to show how diverse our membership is, not just talk about it. The lovely and talented Michael Ordona brought this to my attention, and has some great ideas for it, so all credit for this idea goes to him. I know that in the past we’ve tried to include CCA members and it hasn’t worked all that well, and I understand that standups in gowns and tuxes at the event are not that interesting. But this year, in particular, a well-produced, quickie montage of members with their families, playing sports, hiking in diverse, geographically identifiable locations, etc., could go a long way to distinguish us as a legitimate, diverse and relatable group—show people that we’re not a bunch of erudite cranks who sit around in dark rooms all day and night, nor an archaic group of tone deaf, colorless unprofessionals(wink wink).
    —THANK YOU for not putting Taye Diggs in drag this year. That’s an old gag that never seems to work. We should have learned from Michael Strahan.
    —I still think the Super Awards have great potential, despite their low numbers. Other members who are far better versed in this genre than I have some brilliant ideas for this. Look forward to hearing from them.
    —All in all, this year’s CCAs were better than I expected. I think extraordinary efforts were made to pivot, and I think the majority of them paid off. If viewership was low, blame Oprah, not the production team. Kudos to all involved.

  30. The broadcast was beautifully put together and ranks with the Emmys as the way to beat the challenge of the virtual. However, I don’t think we should waste much time mulling over how we could have made it better. It was, as they say across the pond, “a one-off.” Let’s hope it never has to be done that way again. Last year’s show was first rate, well paced and full of what will keep viewers coming back . . . the stars. I hope we can build from there to attract bigger audiences. What’s the secret? Not only what you put on the screen but every kind of advance promotion you can brainstorm.
    Here’s to a great 27th.

  31. Congratulations all around, you did a fantastic job. Especially considering the trying circumstances. And bravo, everyone got a front seat!

  32. Hi all, The adage “The show must go on” has never been more front and center in these trying times. We answered the call and presented a great show, in my opinion. Thanks to all the hard work of our officers and publicists. Congratulations are in order here. For my thoughts on the change, please check out my article on RogerEbert.com; I also wrote about the women talent for Women Writer’s Week.
    https://bit.ly/CriticsChoiceRogerEbert

    PS Taye Diggs was GREAT!

    Cheers, Sarah K. Adamson

  33. I think that having it delayed for the west coast could’ve been handled better… we did tv hits and social to promote audience to watch but hours before the show started for west coast all the winners had been announced and shared on social so it really didn’t make any sense for west coast viewers to watch. Next time either have it live for everyone at the same time (like the superbowl) or if choose delayed then embargo (especially on critics choice own social) any winner announcements until X time.

    I thought the filters ongoing bit didn’t work either.

    Also I feel like so much more could’ve been done with the membership. We could’ve recorded interstitials or something fun and to showcase our numbers and our diversity. Then we all could’ve teased that we were part of the show and have our local audiences look for us etc… engagement.

    Also all the platforms and studios have been so awesome with boxes… it would’ve been great to get a Critics Choice Movie Award box with items we could showcase, unboxing, maybe popcorn tub or throw blanket, to help watch on couch or mugs etc… at the very least the program. I felt like we didn’t have any materials from the organization to help gain attention.

    I know it’s much easy to make suggestions than to implement them but I feel like these are easy adjustments that could’ve brought big returns.

  34. INCREDIBLE EFFORT ALL AROUND in the toughest of times. From on screen to behind the scenes, kudos to all! I HOPE this does not have to be repeated … in the event it does, it might be nice to show some of the Critics, possibly? Just quickly as we’re rather diverse and it could be a quick cut-away. And, I’m glad there were a mix of live and zoom. Overall wonderful effort in with the circumstances. 🙂

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