SANTA MONICA—So I guess we can officially start placing our bets on which film or films will be contenders as we get into the boroughs of awards season. The musical “La La Land” was the night’s big winner taking home eight awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Damien Chazelle.

It was an interesting night to say the least, why? Comedian and host T.J. Miller, who was arrested on Friday, December 9, still hosted the 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards and had no trouble poking fun at the craziness that happened in his personal life.

He seemed to take the issue full forward and as a comedian it’s something you have to appreciate, because he didn’t hide the issue at first as he talked about Broadway, the Critics’ Choice Awards and then kicked off to an impromptu dance number. It was impressive to tackle that ongoing issue where people discuss celebrities using their podium to talk about political issues. Loved the opening; proof that you don’t have to be a Hollywood A-lister to deliver the funny.

The first award of the night for Best Acting Ensemble went to “Moonlight.” That little indie is starting to gain a lot of notoriety as we move into the pinnacle of awards season people.  The prize for Best Young Actor/Actress was a victory for Lucas Hedges for his work in the drama “Manchester by the Sea.” Wow, taken for a loop by the inclusion of the TV categories for an awards show that has normally provided kudos to the film arena.  The winners for Best Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy series were Jane Krakowski and Louie Anderson. I seriously have to admit; watching that scene with Louis’ character had my bursting with laughter.

Miller had no trouble showcasing his frustration with losing in the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series race and decided to give a speech for all the losers who never get to give out their accolades. Courtney B. Vance won the coveted prize for Best Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series for his riveting work in the FX mini-series “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” while his Sarah Paulson picked up the prize for Best Actress.

The prize for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series was a win for John Lithgow for his work in “The Crown,” while Thandie Newton won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Westworld.” It was a highlight of the night, seeing actor Ryan Reynolds be honored as Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year. Seeing those highlights of where he once was as an actor, to where he stands today is a major accomplishment.

After a little more than an hour into the ceremony we FINALLY get to the major awards, as the winner for Best Supporting Actor went to Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight.” I must say Ali looks like he might be the guy to beat this awards season in the Best Supporting Actor race. He gave a heart-warming tribute to his wife while accepting the award. Best Animated Feature was a win for “Zootopia” that was a huge hit at the box-office earlier in the year.

Amy Adams presented a very special award to her pal Viola Davis who has been a force to reckon with in the television arena and in the film industry. Hmm, is this an inkling of the bevy of awards that could be delivered to Davis in the coming months? Davis won the SeeHer award which is aimed at positive portrayals of women in the world. I think this is phenomenal, because there is so much typecasting in the industry and false representations of what women should be like in the everyday world.

Best Supporting Actress was one hell of a competitive race, but in the end it was Viola Davis who won the prize for “Fences.” And the night continued to prove what I expected, this year’s races for Best Actor and Best Actress is anyone’s to win.

The Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress went to Natalie Portman for her performance in the movie “Jackie.” I don’t think Portman’s win makes her a shoo-in this awards season, there are plenty of contenders in this face and I think the Screen Actors Guild nominations this week will be an indicator of what type of fierce competition we could be looking at in the coming months.

Another contentious race was Best Actor, which I think might be one of the most competitive in years, and could become more competitive when the Golden Globes, SAG and Oscar nominations are unveiled. In the end, it was Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea.” Not that big of surprise, as Affleck has been touted as a major contender this season, but I think Washington and Hanks will give him a run for his money people.

Why in the world is the Critics’ Choice Awards as long as the Golden Globe Awards people? I mean this ceremony used to clock in less than 2 hours, now, it is longer than the Screen Actors Guild Awards? That’s just plain crazy! So with the Critics’ Choice Awards now a thing of the past, things turn to the Golden Globe nominations which will be unveiled Monday morning.