HOLLYWOOD—One of the first big award shows before the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards is the Critics Choice Awards which were held Thursday night.  The big winner of the night was “The Artist” which took home the Best Picture prize as well as Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius.  Many were expecting the battle to be a dogfight between Steven Spielberg “War Horse” and Martin Scorsese “Hugo.”  This places “The Artist” as the movie to beat at the Oscars.

The toughest category to predict at the ceremony was the Best Actress category.  With powerhouses like Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams and Viola Davis it was a toss-up as to who would reign supreme, but Davis was the winner.  She was emotional as she took the stage to accept the award and received an arousing ovation from the audience.  She gave one the most memorable speeches of the night as she recounted her reason for wanting to be an actress and how important her role in “The Help” was to her.

The ceremony was hosted by comedian Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel.  I will admit the hosts weren’t the best choice of the night as it appeared they were attempting to force the jokes on the audience.  It created a few awkward moments during the night in my opinion.  In the writing categories Woody Allen reigned supreme for Best Original Screenplay for “Midnight In Paris,” while Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin won Best Adapted Screenplay for “Moneyball.”

Christopher Plummer was victorious in the Best Supporting Actor group for his performance in “Beginners.”  He did face some stiff competition from front-runner, Albert Brooks in “Drive.”  His acceptance speech was quite a bit colorful and hilarious.  Octavia Spencer beat out Melissa McCarthy for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Minny in “The Help.”  The cast of the “The Help” continued to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with as they took home the trophy for Best Acting Ensemble defeating the cast of “Bridesmaids,” “The Artist” and “The Descendants.”

“Bridesmaids” won the Best Comedy Award, while Thomas Horn won for Best Young Actor/Actress for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”  George Clooney was triumphant over his “Ocean’s Eleven” co-star Brad Pitt for his performance for “The Descendants.”  Clooney faced stiff competition from Jean Dujardin “The Artist,” but he edged out the win.  His speech was poignant as he reminisced about his early days as an actor and a conversation that he had with his father. He praised his cast in the film as well as the movie’s director Alexander Payne.

With the Critic’s Choice Awards now over, focus now turns to the 69th Golden Globes on NBC to see whether lightening will strike twice or if new winners will be crowned come Sunday night.  It’s off to an interesting awards season!