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Critics’ Choice Awards Jump Ahead of Oscar Season Fray

Will the critics be able to see the year-end films in time to vote for them?

Fences

Viola Davis and Denzel Washington on “Fences” opening night.

Photo by Amanda Schwab/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock

By moving up their annual A&E Network show from January 17 to December 11, the Critics Choice Awards will become the first major televised award show of the season. For several years they aired on Oscar nominations Thursday, but last year aired after the Golden Globes.

This also moves up the date that the film critics will submit their ballots by about two weeks. Even on the old schedule, they barely screened “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” before their voting deadline last year. Will they be able to see all the films in time? Such likely late entries as Ben Affleck’s “Live By Night,” Denzel Washington’s “Fences” and Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” may not be screened by then.

READ MORE: Critics’ Choice Awards Adds Brand New Event Honoring Documentary Film and Television

“We talked to the studios about that, and we only identified two pictures that may be problematic,” said the show’s executive producer Joey Berlin, who is the Broadcast Film Critics Association president. “We’re optimistic that we’ll be able to vote on the nominations without missing any movies. We’ll announce the film nominations December 1. We’ve been doing it on the 10th in the past, and we’ll count the ballots quicker.”

T.J. Miller in "Silicon Valley"

T.J. Miller in “Silicon Valley”

The BFCA’s sister organization, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, also votes for the year’s best television shows and talent; they used to air in the run-up to the Emmys but this past year combined the two groups into one awards show. It’s too bad — the Emmy Awards season could use an influential critics awards show to sway voters.

“We’re working with the traditional calendar year,” said Berlin, “pointing out the shows worthy of attention while shows are still breaking out new episodes. We liked the idea of having one big event at the end of the year which highlights the year’s best. That’s the logic, having critics weigh in first in that context.”

READ MORE: What the Critics’ Choice Awards Can and Cannot Tell Us About the Emmy Race

A&E Network will air the awards show live on Sunday, December 11th at 8PM ET/5PM PT immediately following “Critics’ Choice Red Carpet Live” on A&E at 7PM ET/4PT. Comedian T.J. Miller will return as host.

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