Your High School AV Club Presents: The Critics’ Choice Awards 2018, featuring Olivia Munn as host.

Thursday’s low-budget awards show on The CW was a whirlwind affair, packing in more awards than any other show of its kind, yet the production still managed to bring out the A-list celebrities, so it was kind of like seeing the Rolling Stones at a county fair.

With a speedy two-hour run time, you’d think the stars would have kept it short and sweet, and to their credit, a few did. But all too few. That left little time for whatever Munn and her backstage co-host Niecy Nash were intending to do with the night, especially as the evening wore on and the speeches got longer.

That said, we were okay with less time for Munn to point out famous people in the crowd, shout “Aaaaayyyy!” at them, and tell us which one of them were her friends. It got old after the first one, and there were so many more after the first one.

Some stars found a better use for their limited time, forwarding the message of the #TimesUp movement. We even heard from no less than one male star! But there were other strong messages, including a timely sketch between Munn and Nash about the “Good Guys” in Hollywood that took note of their vocal support during the Golden Globes.

Here are the five most memorable moments on the night, some of them great and some just kind of weird:

We See You, Gal Gadot

The #SeeHer Award recognizes a woman who seeks “to push boundaries on changing stereotypes and recognize the importance of accurately portraying women across the entertainment landscape.” In 2017, there could be no finer recipient than Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot.

Her director, Patty Jenkins, presented the award, and Gadot stole the night with a passionate speech that looked like it was seeking to rival Oprah’s Globes speech. Potential running mate?

Gadot spoke of the importance of the character to her and the world. The strides women have made in Hollywood, and how much more there is to do. She concluded with an uplifting message: “I want to share this award with all the women and men who stand for what’s right, for those who can’t stand or speak for themselves. My commitment to all of you is I will never be silenced and we will continue to band together to make strides uniting for equality.”

Thanks for the Support, “Good Guys”

In one of the night’s most inspired segments, Munn and Nash raised a “Toast to the Good Guys.” They thanked the studio exec who asked to meet them in the hotel conference room instead of his actual room, and the casting director who didn’t say anything derogatory. But mostly Nash wanted to say, “Thank you to all of the men for speaking up at the Golden Globes and joining our–“

Munn had to cut her off at this point. “Actually, they didn’t really say much there.” Ouch, but yeah, she’s totally right. What up, men?

Maybe that’s because Kumail Nanjiani didn’t win. He opened this show with a big win for “The Big Sick” and an even bigger statement about the issue of the moment in Hollywood.

It’s Time for Men to Shut Up

Kumail Nanjiani was the first celebrity to hit the stage after winning an award on Thursday night, so perhaps he was trying to set a better precedent for the men who would follow. Their deafening silence at the Golden Globes echoed throughout the week.

“We’re very happy that our movie came out in a year where Hollywood is having a lot of difficult conversations with itself, and we’re amplifying voices that have been silenced for too long,” Nanjiani said. “I think, as men, we’ve been talking for centuries. It’s time for us to shut up, listen, and amplify.”

Perhaps that’s why, once again, none of the other male winners said anything of note about the movement, while women fought to keep it in the conversation and keep that momentum moving forward. They were trying to shut up and let the women’s voices be heard.

Olivia Munn Was Adorkable

No offense meant to Zooey Deschanel, but Munn was totally adorkable … as in she was a dork, able to make us wince and cringe at her awkwardness. We’re not sure if she was working without a script through most of the night, but we kind of hope so. If that was her performing with a script, we have two problems: the script and the performance.

Perhaps Allison Janney said it best when Munn accosted her in the audience to give her the “Critics’ Choice Mother of the Year Award” for her nightmare momager performance in “I, Tonya.”

Janney played along for a bit, saying, “My mother is going to be very proud, because I learned everything from her.” As Munn kept it going way too long, though, she finally had to ask, “What’s happening here?”

It was a question we found ourselves asking throughout the night, like in an extended segment where Munn sat at a table with Chris Hardwick and fangirled out (again) about all the famous people in the room. For this, everyone who won an award had to hear the playoff music after, like, 30 seconds of talking?

That Sad Music Again

Everyone’s a critic, and everyone hates that music these awards shows start to play when a star natters on and on, thanking all their second cousins and postal workers. Thanks to a tight schedule, we heard a lot of the Critics’ Choice Awards playoff music, and it was the same interminable dirge each time.

“There’s that sad music again,” Gary Oldman said when it started in on him after his win for “Darkest Hour,” but it didn’t stop him. In fact, everyone kept going when the music came on, meaning we lost performance clips of the nominees and probably a lot more time with Munn and Nash. Munn barely appeared in the back half of the show, while Nash was just gone.

The music did have one fan, though, in director Guillermo del Toro, “This music is very nice. I like it. It goes well with the awards,” he said after winning Best Director. They hit him with it again when “The Shape of Water” scored Best Picture, and he took a moment to appreciate it, before going on and on.

They talked so much Thursday night, the credits started rolling while del Toro was talking, leaving Munn barely any time to run up and say “Good night!” before it was all over.

That said, the show ended on time, so there’s something to be said for its chaotic momentum.


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