Are Critics’ Choice Awards an Oscars preview?

By Paul Sheehan

On Friday evening, the 16th annual edition of the Critics’ Choice Awards took place in Hollywood. Were the winners practicing their Academy Awards acceptance speeches when they took to the stage at the Palladium?

Certainly Best Actor champ Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) will need to find new way to say “thank you” as he is expected to win most of the other precursor awards on his way to the podium at the Kodak Theater. However, Best Actress winner Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) remains locked in a close race with Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”). Both are expected to prevail in their respective categories at the Golden Globes Sunday so we will have to wait for the SAG Awards for a rematch.

The HFPA kudos could crown “The King’s Speech” as Best Drama Picture. Will that be a mere bump in the road for “The Social Network” which has swept the critics prizes this year” “The Hurt Locker” did the same last year — it lost to “Avatar” at the Globes — before prevailing at the Oscars as Best Picture.

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