SANTA MONICA—The 29th Annual Critic’s Choice Awards were held on Sunday, January 14, as the trek to awards seasons continues. Yes, I will admit the CCA has grown in popularity in what I would say the last five to six years. Many A-listers didn’t use to attend this ceremony and that has since changed, as I think they realize it helps them with the awards season circuit. Do I think they have an actual impact on the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Awards? No, but the addition of TV with the film is a bit frustrating because the ceremony had been known to stay under two hours, but that has shifted to three hours.

Chelsea Handler hosted the festivities for the second consecutive year, and she delivered with the jokes as soon as she took the stage. She took shots at “Barbie,” the WGA and Actor’s strikes, many of the actors and actresses in the room and so much more. Handler was not afraid, and the jokes were landing throughout her entire monologue, and I loved it. She went there, and the difference between Handler and Jo Koy is that Handler’s jokes worked, while Koy’s, not so much.

The first award of the night for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie went to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for “The Holdovers.” This is the one race that I am indeed watching because if Randolph has any competition it’s going to be from Danielle Brooks from “The Color Purple.” Angela Bassett presented the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie to Robert Downey Jr. for “Oppenheimer.” Downey Jr. is looking more and more like the frontrunner for that Oscar. I loved his bit talking about critics banning some of his performances in recent years in film.

Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie were Jonathan Bailey “Fellow Travelers” and Maria Bello “Beef.” Feels like a cheat to have two people awarded at once because you feel as if you have to rush with your acceptance speech. Another two trophies were handed out for Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series to Billy Crudup “The Morning Show” and Elizabeth Debicki “The Crown.” I expected “The Crown” win, but I was suspecting Matthew Macfayden to win for “Succession.”

Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series were victories for Meryl Streep “Only Murders in the Building” and Ebon Moss-Bachrach for “The Bear.” Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie went to Ali Wong for “Beef,” while her co-star Steven Yeun won for Best Actor. America Ferrera was honored with the See Her Award by her co-star from “Barbie,” Margot Robbie. It was indeed a sweet moment at the ceremony where America touted the importance of seeing characters like herself on the small and big screen.

“I’m Just Ken” won the Best Original Song prize, which was a bit of an upset as many were expecting Billie Eilish to walk away with the prize. Actress in a Comedy Series went to Ayo Edebiri for “The Bear” and her co-star Jeremy Allen White won for Best Actor. Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach won Best Original Screenplay for “Barbie,” while Cord Jefferson won Best Adapted Screenplay for “American Fiction.” “Anatomy of a Fall” was a victor for Best Foreign Language Film, while Best Animated Feature went to “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Harrison Ford was honored with the Career Achievement Award, and got quite emotional while speaking. Rightfully so, Sarah Snook won the award for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her work on the series “Succession.” Her co-star Kieran Culkin won for Best Actor. It totally feels like all award shows up to this point are honoring all the same winners. I am going to have to check out this series “The Bear” because I keep hearing about the hilarity of this series and how entertaining it is on FX. Last week it dominated at the Golden Globes and tonight the series is dominating at the Critic’s Choice Awards after winning Best Comedy Series.

Must admit, the pacing for the Critic’s Choice Awards is top-tier compared to any other awards show I have watched so far in recent years. No surprise, “Succession” won the award for Best Drama Series. “Beef” was rightfully awarded the prize for Best Limited Series. Emma Stone won the CCA for Best Actress for her performance in “Poor Things.” This is starting to look like a battle between Stone and Lily Gladstone for “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

However, with the surprises from last week’s SAG nominees, Oscar could deliver another curveball with its nominees when they’re announced January 23. TV Titan Oprah Winfrey presented the prize for Best Actor to Paul Giamatti for “The Holdovers.” I love that Giamatti is not afraid to crack jokes while accepting his trophy on stage.

When it comes to Best Director, it was Christopher Nolan for “Oppenheimer.” Finally, I think this is the year that Nolan gets his long awaited Oscar for such technical precision behind the camera for the past 20 plus years. The final prize of the night Best Picture went to “Oppenheimer,” which capped off a fun, but very predictable night.