Critics’ Choice Awards 2021: the 9 must-see moments

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From Zendaya’s big moment to Alan Kim’s show-stealing speech, these are the must-see moments from this year’s Critics’ Choice Awards.

Hot on the heels of the Golden Globes, the 26th annual Critics’ Choice Awards brought us a whole new host of standout red carpet moments, moving acceptance speeches, and worthy winners.

Of course, thanks to Covid-19, the awards show was comprised of both virtual and in-person appearances. And, as such, there were also a number of technical glitches as well.

With that in mind, then, here are the must-see moments from the ceremony.

Zendaya’s big moment

Zendaya was presented the SeeHer Award – which, as the ceremony describes, “recognises a woman who embodies the values set forth by the SeeHer movement to push boundaries, defy stereotypes and acknowledge the importance of authentic portrayals of women across the entertainment landscape” – by her Malcolm & Marie co-star, John David Washington.

“I’m going to start by saying thank you so much to John David Washington incredibly lucky to have you as a friend, but also a scene partner,” she said. 

“Thank you to the Critics Choice Association for this incredible honour and SeeHer. This means so much to me, I think, as I was thinking of things to say the only real thing I can think of is, is gratitude.” 

Zendaya finished powerfully: “This word kind of keeps coming to my mind, especially with the year that everyone has had to continue to be grateful for every single moment, big and small, to be grateful and for the people in our world and in our life, that make the work we do possible, to continue to make sure we hold on to our loved ones a little bit tighter, make sure we call them acknowledge them and tell them we love them. 

“And, and take in moments like this and I absolutely would not be here if it weren’t for the incredible women that have paved the way for me to be here so also extremely grateful for those women.”

Nomadland’s Chloe Zhao made history, again!

Chloe Zhao – who won Best Director at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards last weekend – made history once again as the first Chinese woman to win best director and adapted screenplay (two of four awards which Nomadland won, the most of any film).

However, she made sure to dedicate her award to Michael Wolf Snyder, the Nomadland production sound mixer who recently died by suicide at the age of 35.

“He would say, ‘All right everyone, get ready, let’s go to your Zen place.’ And we did,” Zhao said, recalling how he always brought serenity to the crew.

“So thank you, Wolf. We honour you. And we’ll see you down the road, my friend.”

Minari star Alan Kim cried happy tears during his acceptance speech

Alan Kim, the 8-year-old who has earned raves for his performance in Minari, was so overcome when he won best young actor that he shed happy tears during his acceptance speech.

“Oh, my goodness, I’m crying,” he said as he made his way through his list of thank-yous.

“I look forward to being in another movie soon.”

Simone Ledward Boseman paid tribute to her late husband, Chadwick Boseman

Six months after his tragic death from cancer, Chadwick Boseman has been awarded Best Actor at Sunday’s 26th annual Critics’ Choice Awards for his performance in the Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Accepting the award on behalf of her late husband, Simone Ledward Boseman said: “Wow. It has to be said aloud that for those of us who know Chad intimately, personally, professionally, those he taught, those he gave a word of advice, those who taught him – it is so hard to find a celebratory feeling in these moments.

“As proud as we are of him, yes for his work, but even more just for who he is as a person.”

“But his work deserves this. His work in this film deserves this. He deserves this, and so he would always thank God first and foremost in everything,” Ledward Boseman continued. 

“He would always honour his mother and his father. He would always acknowledge those who came before him, those who charted the path, those who gave him their gifts.

“He may say something about the importance of this story. About the importance of Black voices telling Black stories. He may take this moment to give honour to August Wilson, one of the greatest playwrights of our time. And, as I recently read, societies grow great when all men plant trees in their shade. 

“They know they may never sit, and our society may be a far cry from great, but I know that the seeds you planted will grow into forests. And one day we too will be tall enough to reach the heavens. Thank you, Critics’ Choice and thank you, Chad.”

Carey Mulligan made sure to thank Margot Robbie and Emerald Fennell

Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan won the Best Actress trophy at the Critics’ Choice Awards in LA.

“I’m aware that it is very early at the beginning of International Women’s Day today. I am so honoured to be recognised amongst these incredible female performances,” she said, paying tribute to her fellow nominees, Viola Davis, Andra Day, Sidney Flanigan, Vanessa Kirby, Frances McDormand, and Zendaya.

Mulligan went on to thank Margot Robbie, who produced the film, as well as the “remarkable crew” who made the movie in just 23 days “because they are geniuses.”

She also praised and writer-director Emerald Fennell, “who wrote this incredible script and directed with such aplomb.”

She “will mock me relentlessly for having used the word aplomb. I am indebted to her for this opportunity.”

Jason Sudeikis paid tribute to his ex-wife, Olivia Wilde

Jason Sudeikis won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on Apple TV’s Ted Lasso, and took a moment to shout-out his family and ex, Olivia Wilde, with whom he shares two children.

“I want to thank my kids, Daisy, Otis,” he said. “I want to thank their mum, Oliva, who had the initial idea to do this as a TV show.”

Then, recalling a conversation he had with the Booksmart director, Sudeikis said Wilde told him: “‘You and Brendan [Hunt] and Joe [Kelly] love doing that so much, you should do it as a movie or TV show.’ 

“I was like, ‘Nah’… [but] she was right.”

Following Sudeikis’ speech, Wilde turned to her social media to congratulate him.

“Congrats to Jason and the entire Ted Lasso family on your @CriticsChoice wins! So happy for you guys. I hope this means we all keep wearing hoodies when the ceremonies are in person next year,” she wrote.

Daniel Kaluuya won big once again

David Kaluuya won the Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the Critics’ Choice Awards, thanks to his outstanding performance as Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton in Judas And The Black Messiah.

This, combined with his Golden Globes win from last weekend, means he’s very likely a Best Actor nominee for the 2021 Oscars.

“Thank you, thank you so much… I’d like to thank [the film’s director] Shaka King for leading us, believing in us and collaborating with us,” he said.

“I’d like to thank LaKeith, man, we did this together. And Dominique Fishback, and all the incredible cast, the comrades, and crew, everyone back in Cleveland, thank you.”

After thanking the film’s incredible cast and crew, Kaluuya went on to say: “I’d like to thank the Critics Choice for championing Chairman Fred’s legacy, Fred’s messages and ideas and strategies for helping the people.

“I appreciate that, and thank you so much.”

Gillian Anderson was plagued by technical issues

The Critics’ Choice Awards 2021 saw Gillian Anderson win the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Margaret Thatcher in Netflix’s The Crown.

Unfortunately, though, she suffered several Zoom fails, with her live feed constantly freezing and cutting in and out.

“Wow! Thank you to the Critics Choice Association and to my fellow nominees!” she said.

She went on to thank the showrunner, producers and Director of Photography of The Crown, and then thanked “the entire amazing, amazing cast”.

Anderson made sure to give a special shout-out to Stephen Boxer, who played her on-screen husband Denis Thatcher.

“He played my hubby, and it was a wonderful and very supportive interpretation,” she said warmly.

“I love you all and I love everyone on the planet. So thank you very much!”

Michael K. Williams talked about the need to open up more Black stories

Michael K. Williams picked up a Critics Choice Award for his role in HBO series Lovecraft Country, and he used his moment in the spotlight to talk about the lack of Black stories.

“In these genres, all too often, everyone looks the same in these types of storytelling,” he said in the virtual press room backstage, as per Deadline,

Williams went on to express appreciation for the show’s creator Misha Green, HBO and Bad Robot and MonkeyPaw Productions, in pushing this forward, saying the fact that they “all got together and decided to tell this genre through the Black experience, I think is brilliant, and I’m hoping that it will expand more minds, and open more people up to this type of storytelling. 

“It’s not just being about the horror genre, it’s about what it is to be Black in America being the real horror.”

Williams added: “What I mostly hope is that youth, particularly youth from my community who watch this, get a sense of the legacy which we come from. 

“The greatness and all the obstacles that we’ve overcome to be alive today. People fought and died and gave their last just so we could be and live and walk, and have the experience to be and live, and there’s a greatness that comes along with that.”

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.