I know everyone–including many of my colleagues here at EW–loves to hate on awards shows. In these parts, you’re better off being a fan of a bad American Idol audition than a middling acceptance speech. But last night’s Critic’s Choice Awards, broadcast on VH1 (where I’m sure you can catch it rerunning on an infinite loop), reminded me of what’s so great about kudos telecasts.
It’s not the relentless film clips, cheesy montages, or awkward host banter (though D.L. Hughley, I appreciate your valiant effort); thanks to TiVo, those annoyances whiz by in a fast-forward blur. Rather, it’s the unexpected moments: A dapper Hal Holbrook, walking down the red carpet with wife Dixie Carter, recounting his first meeting with Sean Penn on a movie set 25 years back, and how it was a simple thank-you note that sealed Penn in his good graces forever. Or Casey Affleck accepting the best supporting actress trophy on behalf of his Gone Baby Gone co-star Amy Ryan, and charmingly skipping over any parts of her speech that referenced him. Or Leslie Mann, true to her Knocked Up character, introducing best documentary in hilariously blue fashion (including an f-bomb that slipped past the censors). And then there were the few actresses who didn’t wear black–protest by forgettable fashion, perhaps?–Kyra Sedgwick arriving in a gorgeous full-skirted red-and-black number, and Katie Holmes swishing on stage in a one-shouldered glittering gown.
I even love to see the way winners script–or don’t script–their thank-you speeches, those sly glances away from the camera (I’m talking to you, Brad and Angelina), their wardrobe choices…it’s all fascinating to me. And when Daniel Day-Lewis got on stage to accept best actor, and he wasn’t the curmudgeon you might expect from all the talk of his Method, but instead, a sweetly spoken man who had something kind and specific to say about each of his fellow nominees, and something insightful and not smoke-blowy to say about the mystery within any great acting performance, it made me think, “Oh, I kind of like that Daniel Day-Lewis…hmm, maybe I should see There Will Be Blood next weekend.”
And yes, I know that’s exactly what the Hollywood machinery wants, and why the threat of awards season being cancelled could mean box office disaster. But just as I have no defense against the meet-cute formula in a chick flick, I can’t help falling for a heartfelt shout-out to the parents who never stopped believing. And you know what? Come this Sunday, when the Golden Globe awards are announced in a litany from a podium with, in all likelihood no one but the press corps and maybe Rumer Willis in attendance, I, for one, am going to miss those little moments.