Considering that every award show leading up to the Academy Awards helps predict who will take home the Oscar in each category, it's quite a good sign for both American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave that each film received 13 nominations for the 19th Critics' Choice Movie Awards.
American Hustle grabbed nods for Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Acting Ensemble, Best Director (David O. Russell), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Comedy, Best Actor in a Comedy (Christian Bale), and Best Actress in a Comedy (Amy Adams). And 12 years a Slave nabbed nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o), Best Acting Ensemble, Best Director (Steve McQueen), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, and Best Score.
Not far behind in the nominations race is Gravity with 10 nods and Captain Phillips, Her, Nebraska, and The Wolf of Wall Street with six each.
The Critics Choice Awards ceremony will be hosted by Aisha Tyler on The CW Jan. 16 at 8 PM.
Best PictureAmerican HustleCaptain PhillipsDallas Buyers ClubGravityHerInside Llewyn DavisNebraskaSaving Mr. Banks12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall Street
Best ActorChristian Bale – American HustleBruce Dern – NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a SlaveTom Hanks – Captain PhillipsMatthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers ClubRobert Redford – All Is Lost
Best ActressCate Blanchett – Blue JasmineSandra Bullock – GravityJudi Dench – PhilomenaBrie Larson – Short Term 12Meryl Streep – August: Osage CountyEmma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks
Best Supporting ActorBarkhad Abdi – Captain PhillipsDaniel Bruhl – RushBradley Cooper – American HustleMichael Fassbender – 12 Years a SlaveJames Gandolfini – Enough SaidJared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting ActressScarlett Johansson – HerJennifer Lawrence – American HustleLupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a SlaveJulia Roberts – August: Osage CountyJune Squibb – NebraskaOprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Best Young Actor/ActressAsa Butterfield – Ender’s GameAdele Exarchopoulos – Blue Is the Warmest ColorLiam James – The Way Way BackSophie Nelisse – The Book ThiefTye Sheridan – Mud
Best Acting EnsembleAmerican HustleAugust: Osage CountyLee Daniels’ The ButlerNebraska12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall Street
Best DirectorAlfonso Cuaron – GravityPaul Greengrass – Captain PhillipsSpike Jonze – HerSteve McQueen – 12 Years a SlaveDavid O. Russell – American HustleMartin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Original ScreenplayEric Singer and David O. Russell – American HustleWoody Allen – Blue JasmineSpike Jonze – HerJoel Coen & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn DavisBob Nelson – Nebraska
Best Adapted ScreenplayTracy Letts – August: Osage CountyRichard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before MidnightBilly Ray – Captain PhillipsSteve Coogan and Jeff Pope – PhilomenaJohn Ridley – 12 Years a SlaveTerence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street
Best CinematographyEmmanuel Lubezki – GravityBruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn DavisPhedon Papamichael – NebraskaRoger Deakins – PrisonersSean Bobbitt – 12 Years a Slave
Best Art DirectionAndy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) – GravityCatherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great GatsbyK.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) – HerDan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugAdam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) – 12 Years a Slave
Best EditingAlan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers – American HustleChristopher Rouse – Captain PhillipsAlfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – GravityDaniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – RushJoe Walker – 12 Years a SlaveThelma Schoonmaker – The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Costume DesignMichael Wilkinson – American HustleCatherine Martin – The Great GatsbyBob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor – The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugDaniel Orlandi – Saving Mr. BanksPatricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave
Best MakeupAmerican HustleThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugLee Daniels’ The ButlerRush12 Years a Slave
Best Visual EffectsGravityThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugIron Man 3Pacific RimStar Trek into Darkness
Best Animated FeatureThe CroodsDespicable Me 2FrozenMonsters UniversityThe Wind Rises
Best Action MovieThe Hunger Games: Catching FireIron Man 3Lone SurvivorRushStar Trek into Darkness
Best Actor in an Action MovieHenry Cavill – Man of SteelRobert Downey Jr. – Iron Man 3Brad Pitt – World War ZMark Wahlberg – Lone Survivor
Best Actress in an Action MovieSandra Bullock – GravityJennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching FireEvangeline Lilly – The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugGwyneth Paltrow – Iron Man 3
Best ComedyAmerican HustleEnough SaidThe HeatThis Is the EndThe Way Way BackThe World’s End
Best Actor in a ComedyChristian Bale – American HustleLeonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall StreetJames Gandolfini – Enough SaidSimon Pegg – The World’s EndSam Rockwell – The Way Way Back
Best Actress in a ComedyAmy Adams – American HustleSandra Bullock – The HeatGreta Gerwig – Frances HaJulia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough SaidMelissa McCarthy – The Heat
Best Sci-fi/Horror MovieThe ConjuringGravityStar Trek into DarknessWorld War Z
Best Foreign Language FilmBlue Is the Warmest ColorThe Great BeautyThe HuntThe PastWadjda
Best Documentary FeatureThe Act of KillingBlackfishStories We TellTim’s Vermeer20 Feet from Stardom
Best Song"Atlas" – Coldplay – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"Happy" – Pharrell Williams – Despicable Me 2"Let It Go" – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen"Ordinary Love" – U2 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"Please Mr. Kennedy" – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver – Inside Llewyn Davis"Young and Beautiful" – Lana Del Rey – The Great Gatsby
Best ScoreSteven Price – GravityArcade Fire – HerThomas Newman – Saving Mr. BanksHans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave
Rumors of Will Ferrell’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. After falling from his perch atop the comedy world with a trio of high-profile disappointments Semi Pro Land of the Lost and Step Brothers the venerable funnyman seemed destined to join the tragic ranks of fellow SNL alums Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy comic geniuses who fell prey to their own spectacular success. But he makes a triumphant return to form in The Other Guys a riotous action comedy from longtime Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay (Anchorman Talladega Nights).
Playing Allen Gamble a straightlaced NYPD detective happily confined to his desk job as a forensic accountant Ferrell dials down the goofball element that metastasized in recent years instead exhibiting a kind of earnest cluelessness more reminiscent of his character in Elf. Safely in his element crunching numbers and combing paperwork for accounting irregularities risk-averse Gamble is more than willing to concede the spotlight to the precinct’s glory-hound celebrity cops Danson and Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel Jackson) who’ve charmed the citizenry with their heroic indifference toward danger private property or common sense.
Gamble’s good-natured obliviousness earns him the disdain of his embittered cubicle mate Detective Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) who unlike Gamble didn’t come by his desk job by choice. In a city scarred by accidental police shootings and devoted to its beloved Yankees Hoitz committed the ultimate sin clipping an unarmed Derek Jeter in the leg during a moment of panicked confusion. (“You should have shot A-Rod!” one heckler shouts.) Removed from the street indefinitely by his boss Captain Gene Mauch (a scene-stealing Michael Keaton) Hoitz is a snarling ball of impotent rage most of which he directs at Gamble. (For those of you keeping score yes Keaton’s character is named after the former baseball manager.)
This being a buddy comedy Gamble’s and Hoitz’s fates are destined to intersect. Sure enough their chance to seize the fire comes when the city’s all-star crime-stoppers Danson and Highsmith are abruptly taken out of commission in one of the most shockingly hilarious twists in recent movie history.
Wahlberg and Ferrell may not make the best cops but they’re an absolutely stellar comedic team. To their credit McKay and Other Guys screenwriter Chris Henchy know we won’t settle for just the tired bickering odd-couple scenario of buddy comedies past (see Cop Out) and they take care at several points to flip the script on the formula when Gamble and Hoitz hit the streets together giving Wahlberg as many opportunities to flex his comedic muscles as Ferrell. It’s a bit of a gamble — the rapper-turned-actor isn’t exactly known for his range — but it pays off handsomely in the film.
Wahlberg has shown a welcome willingness to make fun of himself in recent years with his cameos on SNL and in Date Night. His performance in The Other Guys is in many ways a straight-up parody of his abrasive expletive-spewing character in The Departed a role for which he earned an Oscar nomination. (This still boggles my mind — I hope Mark is sending weekly gift baskets to both Martin Scorsese and the Academy.) The Other Guys is easily his funniest work since The Happening.
For his part McKay throws in some solidly-crafted action sequences to complement the comedy and even makes a stellar cameo as the leader of Dirty Mike and the Boys a gang of homeless men who terrorize the Priuses of New York City with their all-night orgies for which the interior of Toyota’s trendy hybrid are apparently ideal. But as a storyteller he still struggles mightily with the third act (see Step Brothers a film that all but fell off a cliff). The film loses some of its momentum in the second half mainly because it must get down to the business of resolving its nebulous plot which centers around the corrupt dealings of a hedge-fund charlatan (Steve Coogan) and some improperly filled-out scaffolding permits. But resolution issues notwithstanding The Other Guys still marks a solid upgrade over Step Brothers in the McKay-Ferrell pantheon and is arguably their best collaboration since Anchorman.