What to Expect When the Critics Choice Awards Set the Tone for the 2022 Awards Season

·3-min read

When NBC decided to cancel 2022’s Golden Globes telecast, the Critics Choice Assn. sprang into action. The group has repositioned its annual Critics Choice Awards, now in its 27th year, as a bit of a replacement for the Globes — straight down to the afterparties.

“This creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Critics Choice Awards to take that vital step in becoming what we always hoped it would be: The preeminent critics event in starting off the award season,” says Critics Choice Assn. CEO Joey Berlin, who also serves as an executive producer of the Critics Choice Awards.

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“We always thought that we had a more legitimate voting group to start with,” he adds, taking a dig at the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. “They had a big head start. They had the big NBC deal and all those tens of millions of dollars that come with it. But I feel we’ve been closing the gap and our dream was to become the second-most important event in the award season. … We’ve been receiving calls from everybody — from every studio, every big company in the award space — saying, ‘Now’s the time; we need you guys to step up.’”

The Critics Choice Awards grabbed the Jan. 9 date — which many believe would have otherwise been reserved for the Globes (a notion that Berlin disputes) — and moved out of its longtime home at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar and into the newly renovated and reopened midcentury landmark Century Plaza Hotel (now operated by the luxury Fairmont chain).

“It’s got the classic, historically protected facade, but then they rebuilt the whole hotel and it’s great,” Berlin says. “It’s got that ballroom that’s been downstairs forever, which is still the root of it. But there’s so much space around it.”

That includes plenty of spaces for post-ceremony shindigs, much like the Globes’ traditional litany of network and studio bashes situated around the Beverly Hilton. In this case, the Critics Choice Awards has already lined up several outlets to throw similar after-show events around the Century Plaza.

Also new this year: Broadcast partner the CW will simulcast the show on cable cousin TBS. “The CW doesn’t have as big a footprint as some of the other broadcasters, and so it seemed appropriate to reach out to family [TBS is operated by WarnerMedia, which jointly owns the CW with ViacomCBS] and offer a simulcast opportunity,” Berlin says.

This year’s Critics Choice Awards hosts hadn’t yet been announced at deadline but will likely feature one star from the CW and another from TBS. Meanwhile, the ceremony itself isn’t expected to stray too far from what it has looked like in the past.

“We always feel it’s important for the show to develop organically, to represent what’s going on in the business on Jan. 9,” he says. “But it’s not going to be radically different. There’ll be lots of clips and there’ll be lots of emotional acceptances and a couple of special awards.”

Berlin says COVID protocols and vaccine requirements will be enforced but doesn’t expect to mandate masks on camera. Beyond that, he’s expecting a full house ready to celebrate being back in a room together.

“The Globes has played a very important role in Hollywood, as that ‘party of the year’ that kicks off the award season and all the movie and television stars in one room,” Berlin says. “We’ve had that part of it, but we haven’t had that ‘party of the year’ part of it. Now that mantle has fallen to us. I think that the night of the Critics Choice Awards is really going to be the night that Hollywood returns to normal.”

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