SANTA MONICA—I tried America, I really tried, but this virtual awards show tactic just isn’t working for me and I found myself changing channels while watching the Critics’ Choice Awards.  I dealt with it for the Golden Globes because I’m a fan of the show and it gives us movie lovers a hint as to where things might be heading as we march to the big one: The Academy Awards. However, when the Critics’ Choice Awards is more than 3 hours long, with virtual appearances and host Taye Diggs doing his best to entertain, it is just too much in my opinion and you have a problem for a show that could have easily been 2 hours or less.

I’m so happy that I heard that the Screen Actors Guild Awards already announced the April 4 event will be pre-tapped and will only last an hour. I mean it’s the smart thing to do. We’re in a pandemic and when it comes to an awards show, it needs to be in person in my personal opinion to get that excitement and energy moving. Rather Oscar does the same thing, I’m not sure, but we know one thing is certain the big players will probably be at the ceremony, but I don’t expect the 2021 Academy Awards to be anything like those of the past.

With that said, the big message of the CCA was that “Nomadland” might be difficult to beat in the Best Picture and Best Director race as the film won both of those prizes. Could an upset transpire? Possibly, but it will all be dependent on who SAG crowns for its Best Picture award which is actually and Outstanding Ensemble category to be exact. Its director Chloe Zhao might be the second woman in the Academy Awards history to actually win the Best Director prize. Yes, think about that America, in the Academy’s 90 plus years ONLY 1 woman has won Best Director. That is something to seriously think about people.

Chadwick Boseman won the prize for Best Lead Actor for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” while Carey Mulligan won for Best Lead Actress for “Promising Young Woman.” I do have to admit Mulligan’s performance was one that shocked me to the core and I hands down think she delivered a performance that is beyond transformative it’s amazing to watch on the screen. So if we’re looking at the acting race that could deliver surprises as awards season continues it would have to be Best Actress. “Promising Young Woman’s” director, Emerald Fennell took home the prize for Best Original Screenplay over Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” However, that flick did win the Best Acting Ensemble prize, which means it is a heavy threat in the Best Picture race in my opinion.

On the supporting side, it was Maria Bakalova who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” defeating a list of competitors including who many expected as a front-runner at the start of the season: Glenn Close for her work in “Hillbilly Elegy.” Daniel Kaluuya continues to appear as the front-runner in the Best Supporting Actor race as he picked up the prize for his performance in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” It is a performance that will leave you talking people.

Alan Kim, the little kid in “Minari” won the prize for Best Younger Actor/Actress in a movie and was moved to tears by his victory. I’m telling you people, “Minari” is a movie not to sleep on. It’s a powerful testament to fighting for the American Dream. Other big winners of the night included the TV series “The Crown” which dominated in most of the categories it was nominated in including wins for Best TV Drama series, Best Actor for Josh O’Connor and Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress victories for Emma Corrin and Gillian Anderson. “Ted Lasso” won big on the comedy side in the TV race with victories for Best Comedy series, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress victories for Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham.

So with that said, all eyes are focused on Monday, March 15. Why? That is when nominees for the 2021 Academy Awards will be announced in the wee hours of the morning on the West Coast. Should we expect surprises? When have we not seen a few headscratchers and shockers when it comes to the Oscar nominations people? This is the pinnacle of awards and its membership is known to deliver curveballs all the time and like I say a surprise or two is better than predictability.