Critics' Choice Awards Jumps to New December Date

TJ Miller -Getty-H 2016
Jim Spellman/WireImage

The awards show, broadcast by A&E, will be hosted by T.J. Miller.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association and its partner organization the Broadcast Journalists Association are jumpstarting the coming awards season, announcing Thursday that the annual Critics' Choice Awards will be held Sunday, Dec. 11. Nominations for the awards will be unveiled Dec. 1.

The three-hour awards show, broadcast live by the A&E Network, will be hosted by T.J. Miller for the second year in a row.

The Critics' Choice Awards have traditionally been held in mid-January — last season's ceremony was held on Jan. 17 — usually following the Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation's Golden Globe Awards by a week. But by moving to Dec. 11, the Critics' Choice Awards are looking to plant their flag ahead of the Globes.

This season, Golden Globe nominations will be announced Dec. 12 and the 74th Golden Globe Awards will take place Jan. 8. But the Critics' Choice Awards, which is handing out its trophies for both film and TV, will be out in front of those dates.

"The BFCA and BTJA are very excited about moving the Critics' Choice Awards from the traditional mid-January date to December," Joey Berlin, president of BFCA and BTJA, said in announcing the moves. "This is the logical time for the Critics' Choice Awards to be presented in the vanguard of the awards season. The role of critics is to assess new films and television shows and advise the public when they are initially released. So this new date is actually the most appropriate time for our annual year-end assessment of the finest achievements in both media. December 11th will be the first time all of the year's major award contenders will be gathered together to celebrate the best of the best."

The Critics' Choice Awards' accelerated process will require its members to see film award hopefuls by the end of November. The BFCA timeline for the film awards call for nomination ballots to go out Nov. 28 and be returned the following day. The film nominations will be announced Dec.1. Final ballots will go out Dec. 8 and must be returned by Dec. 9. 

The timeline for the TV awards, which will cover programming first airing between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, will begin earlier, with nominating committees beginning their deliberations on Nov. 1 and completing them by Nov. 11. The TV nominations will be announced Nov. 14. The final TV balloting will begin Dec. 8 and end Dec. 9.

While most of the possible film contenders wiil have been unveiled by the end of November, there are always are few December releases every year that don't begin to screen for awards groups until the last possible moment. And so studios could face added pressure this year to meet the BFCA deadlines.

Last year, the BFCA's deadlines weren't quite so tight and it announced its Critics Choice nominations on Dec. 14. But even though the BFCA had a few more days to consider year-end films than it will have this year, that meant that its members voted their nominations before Disney screened Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Eight days after 10 other films were nominated as best picture, the BFCA announced it had held a special vote of its board of directors to add Force Awakens as an 11th best picture nominee.

The 22nd annual Critics' Choice Awards, which will be broadcast live from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on A&E, will be preceded by an hourlong program, Critics' Choice Red Carpet Live.

In announcing Miller's return as emcee, Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive vp, programming for A&E, said, “T.J.’s tremendous presence and comedic humor complement our mission to make this show bigger and better year after year."

The BFCA is composed of more than 300 TV, radio and online critics and its choices have often foreshadowed those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2015, the BFCA and BTJA signed an exclusive deal with A&E Networks, running through 2017, to air the Critics' Choice Awards. The show will be produced by Bob Bain Productions and Berlin Entertainment.

 BFCA/BTJA are represented by WME and Dan Black of Greenberg Traurig.