LOS ANGELES — On Sunday, the stars reunited at the Fairmont Century Plaza hotel dressed to the nines for the second big show of the award season: the Critics’ Choice Awards.
“Everything Everywhere at Once” emerged as best of the night, taking home five of its 14 nominated categories. Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Leigh Ralph won Best Supporting Actress and delivered another powerful speech — as did Angela Bassett and Nikki Nash, when they won supporting actress awards for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, respectively.
A lot happened during the telecast, but more happened in the ballroom that wasn’t shown on the TV. From stars beaming each other with selfies to emotional moments behind the scenes, this is what happened.
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In typical Critics Choice fashion, the second telecast caught a commercial break, and the stars jumped to their feet, practically skipping across the ballroom to chat with other celebrities.
During one break, Angela Bassett chatted with Janelle Monáe. Keegan-Michael Key and his wife, Elle Key, made their way to the “Abbott Elementary” table to have a chat with Quinta Brunson and Lisa Ann Walter. And Stephanie Hsu from “Everything Everywhere Every Time” shared a hearty laugh with Jenny Slate from “Marcel the Shell Wears Shoes.”
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After winning the awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie, Amanda Seyfried and Paul Walter Hauser stood at the side of the hall and spoke with calm tones and animated expressions. At the end of their conversation, the two took a selfie.
For some stars, the show has been a romantic night out. Sporting a growing bump, Kaley Cuoco spent most of the night with her partner, Tom Pelfrey. During one intermission, a guest asked Pelfrey to take a picture of herself with Coco, which the actor happily obliged. Nash has also worked the red carpet alongside his wife, Jessica Bates. The two tied the knot in 2020.
Ke Huy Quan struggles to hold back her tears backstage
The adrenaline was palpable during the show, as the ecstasy stars took their glasses and gave heartfelt speeches for the world to see.
That intensity carried over backstage in the media room, where the winners were promptly instructed to take questions and reflect on what their victories meant.
After winning Best Supporting Actor, star Ke Huy Quan got emotional as he spoke to reporters, saying the honor had surpassed his wildest dreams.
“I just wanted a job,” he said in a hushed voice, his heart still beating.
“I am very lucky,” he added, tears welling up in his eyes. “I remember very well what it was like to be an Asian actor in the late 80s and early 90s. I just want the doors to be open for all those actors like me who want nothing but a steady job, and I just want all their dreams to come true.”
Quan wasn’t alone in feeling overwhelming gratitude. Winner of Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Ralph is touched by her talk about her late parents. “If they are able to look at me from heaven,” she said, raising her glass to the sky, “Thank you, Mom and Dad, because this is for you.”
Previously:‘Indiana Jones’ star Ke Huy Quan waited ‘over 30 years’ for ‘Everything Everywhere’ role
in? vibrations. Outside? New Year’s resolutions
New year, same celebrity? On the red carpet, stars including Kerry Washington and Ayo Edeberry told USA TODAY they’re not really into resolutions, at least not for 2023.
“I have big intentions for this year,” Washington says. Many share the same sentiments, breaking with the age-old tradition of setting big personal goals at the top of the year.
Kate Hudson says she “decided not to make decisions… I didn’t do any of that this year, I’m going to be hot.”
“All American” star Bre-Z tells us her decision was to “eat better,” but it’s not going well. why? “I just don’t feel like it,” Pre-Z says with a laugh. Co-star Samantha Logan shared that she’s been trying to eat better in the new year, too, along with having a better sleep schedule, but at the end of the day, the duo agreed it was all about balance.
“The plan is to be happy. Whatever makes you happy,” Bri-Z says. “Life is about balance.”
Logan adds, “My body would flip, my skin would do whatever it wanted to do, and that makes me human, and I don’t really care anymore.”
Ediberry says she also hasn’t made any resolutions, but what “will get her” this year is being “kind to myself.” What about the “bear” star? Screen time, specifically TikTok.
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Critics’ Choice Audience was A-list, but the list was not
What do A-list celebrities bring to dinner at the Critics’ Choice Awards? Certainly not a five course meal.
Each table was stocked with plenty of Fiji water, two bottles of wine and a large bottle of champagne. The food options weren’t as plentiful as the beverage selection, though: In addition to a basket of biscuits on each table, celebrities munched on an array of sauces including hummus and baba ghanoush.
In case the hummus wasn’t filling enough, there was plenty of Cold Stone ice cream. Apart from a small ice cream stand outside the ballroom, cold stone cups were also passed inside during commercial breaks.
It wasn’t until after the show when the stars finally got to indulge in a little sustenance. Once the telecast ended, the stars exited the ballroom to find flatbreads, sushi rolls, and dessert tables dotting the reception area.
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