There’s nothing normal about this year’s awards season. As the pandemic continues, red carpets and ceremonies have been put on hold or replaced by remote video acceptance speeches (accompanied by the usual shenanigans with the mute button).
The stars donned their glad rags at home and logged in for Sunday’s Critics’ Choice Awards, which could be a key indicator of who might triumph at the Academy Awards next month.
The virtual film and TV awards was hosted remotely from a Los Angeles stage.
Here are six of the night’s big moments.
Sunday’s awards host and actor Taye Diggs introduced a mixture of in-person guests and live video calls, as well as pre-recorded messages from award presenters and nominees.
This included a powerful one from Taylor Simone Ledward, the widow of the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman – who won best actor for his final on-screen appearance in the 1920s blues drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
“It is so hard to find a celebratory feeling in these moments,” said Ledward, accepting the award on behalf of her husband who died of cancer last year.
“Societies grow great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they may never sit,” she said.
“And our society may be a far cry from great, but I know that the seeds you planted will grow into forests.”
US road movie Nomadland revved up for the Oscars by picking up the big prizes on Sunday, including best picture and best director for Chloé Zhao.
The film, which also enjoyed success at last week’s Golden Globes, has sparked a backlash in China, where members of the state-run media have questioned Beijing-born Zhao’s loyalty to her birth country.
Zhao did not address the argument in her acceptance speech. Instead she used the platform to pay tribute to sound mixer Michael Wolf Snyder, who died last week.
“We’ll see you down the road my friend,” said Zhao, quoting from her film, which also won the awards for cinematography and adapted screenplay.
While Nomadland took most of the awards on Sunday, Minari’s young actor Alan Kim stole the most hearts.
The eight-year-old star, who even had his own little red carpet laid out at home, burst into tears in his tiny tuxedo while accepting the award for best young actor for his part as David in Minari.
Kim thanked the critics who voted for him, before welling up while thanking his family.
“I hope I will be in other movies,” he sobbed. “Is this a dream? I hope it’s not a dream.”
The movie about a family of Korean American immigrants won best foreign-language film too, as it did at the Globes.
Normal People star Daisy Edgar-Jones featured in a crowded field of nominees for best actress in a movie/miniseries, including Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America) and Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You).
The award ultimately went to Anya Taylor-Joy for her role as the dysfunctional chess-obsessed Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit.
But Edgar-Jones wasn’t going to let that spoil her night as she posed for pictures on her balcony in a plunging red Oscar de la Renta number complete with puffed sleeves.
Imagine popping out to the shop in that for more wine.
Another UK star Carey Mulligan did her chances of winning an Oscar no harm by bagging best actress for her portrayal of Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas, who seeks revenge on misogynistic men in Promising Young Woman – which also won original screenplay.
“Oh, my goodness. Gosh. Thank you so much… It’s very early in the morning here,” she noted. “I’m trying to gather my thoughts.”
Elsewhere on the night/morning (delete where applicable), Vietnam War-era courtroom drama, The Trial of the Chicago 7, took the best acting ensemble award.
One of the celebrated ensemble, Sacha Baron Cohen, warned that history will repeat itself “unless we learn from it by telling its most salient stories.”
Finally, many royal enthusiasts will have been drawn away from Sunday’s awards and towards Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
But Emma Corrin, star of the royal drama The Crown, did her best to distract them in her embellished Schiaparelli miniskirt and giant earrings.
The Crown topped the television categories, with four wins including best drama series.
The producers have previously said the programme, now in its fourth series, will end before it arrives in the present day, which is a shame really as the material now surely writes itself.
Read the full list of winners from this year’s Critics Choice Awards.