It didn't have quite the prestige or profile of the Oscars, but last night's Critics' Choice Awards still drew out the Hollywood elite – and possibly provided a hint as to what people should expect on Oscar night.
USA Today dishes on the winners and losers at the annual Critics' Choice event that took place last night at the Hollywood Palladium.
Airing for the first time on A&E, the awards movie-industry fete was hosted by Michael Strahan, who opened the show with a lavish dance number paying homage to the film Magic Mike.
As for the big winners, the awards determined by the Broadcast Film Critics association gave the highest marks to Birdman, which earned a total of seven awards, including best actor for Michael Keaton.
"I just want to thank anybody who's ever thrown me a solid," said an emotional Keaton while accepting his award. Later in the evening, Keaton had attendees gasping when he accidentally fell off the stage while joining his fellow Birdman cast members to accept another award. Keaton was unhurt by the tumble and joked post-show that "I took that Birdman flying thing too far."
Birdman also collected CCA trophies for best acting ensemble, best score, best originals screenplay and best cinematography.
In second place was the coming-of-age story Boyhood, which received a total of four awards, including the lofty honour of being named best picture. Boyhood star Patricia Arquette also received the Critics' Choice trophy for best supporting actress and Richard Linklater was named best director.
In accepting the best picture award for Boyhood, Linklater talked about the pressure of coming from a "broken home" with his sisters. "But as I got older, especially once I became a parent, I realized no one was broken. No one failed. This happens to so many people. It's just life," he said.
In other categories, Julianne Moore was named best actress for her work in Still Alice; J.K. Simmons received the best supporting actor award for Whiplash; and The Grand Budapest Hotel was honoured for best art direction, best costume design and best comedy.
You can see the full list of Critics Choice Awards winners here.
Whether by design or not, the Critics Choice Awards appeared to right a few wrongs that surfaced from the Oscar nominations announced early yesterday morning.
Although fan-favourite The Lego Movie didn't receive a nomination in the Oscar category of best animated feature, the film was named best animated feature at the Critics' Choice Awards.
"What a roller-coaster of emotions today has been," said Lego Movie director Chris Miller while accepting the award.
In the same vein, last night's show also saw fit to pay homage to the sci-fi blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, which was limited to two nods in technical categories (best visual effect, best hair and makeup) in yesterday's Oscar announcement. At the Critics' Choice Awards, Guardians received the award for best action feature along with the trophy for best hair and makeup.
The Critics' Choice Awards also bestowed a lifetime achievement award upon acting veteran and former Oscar-winner Kevin Costner. During his acceptance speech, Costner thanked the people behind the scenes – including stuntmen, film crews and even craft services – and told his fellow thespians, "Nobody has it better than the actors, so try to act grateful."
Last night's show also called Jessica Chastain onstage to accept the inaugural Critics' Choice MVP Award, which goes to an actor for starring in several movies in the same calendar year (in 2014, Chastain starred in Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, Miss Julie and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby).
During her acceptance speech, Chastain surprised some attendees by railing against the current lack of diversity and tolerance in Hollywood.
"Today is Martin Luther King Jr's birthday," said Chastain, "and it got me to thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry and to stand together against homophobia, sexism, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and racist agendas."
Added Chastain: "I'm an optimist, and I can't help but feeling hopeful about the future of film, especially looking at all the beautiful people in this room."