Critics' Choice Awards: 10 Things the TV Cameras Missed

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Jennifer Lopez (left) and Nicole Kidman

J.Lo, Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman mingled, stars placed Oscars predictions, and attendees weighed in on the shift to plant-based meals.

Sunday night's 25th annual Critics' Choice Awards once again brought together a star-studded group of TV and film's biggest names, but some of the best moments of the Santa Monica-based show didn't make it to air. With The Hollywood Reporter inside the room, here are the top things the TV cameras didn't show, from the best A-list interactions to Oscar predictions. 

1. Following in the footsteps of last week's Golden Globes, the award show replaced its usual dinner with a plant-based meal that included vegan burritos from Baja Fresh and Impossible Burgers from The Counter. The decision, which Joaquin Phoenix celebrated in his speech, was also popular with other stars, like Barry's Anthony Carrigan, who called the choice "a move in the right direction," adding "a lot of this food goes uneaten, so we might as well just not kill any animals for that reason. That'd be a pretty sad way to end your life if you're an animal, to just go uneaten on a plate at a celebrity event." The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Alex Borstein said that she she had plans "to go to a steakhouse after this," as Desus Nice said, "I'm just happy there's free food" and The Kid Mero chimed in, "there's going to be a lot of tuxedos at In-N-Out later." 

2. With this year's shortened awards season, Critics' Choice fell on the eve of Monday morning's Oscar nominations, which meant stars were in the mood to spill about their favorites of the year. Maisel creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino said that they were "team Irishman all the way down the ticket" after seeing Martin Scorsese's film three times in theaters; Catch 22's Christopher Abbott said he hoped for noms for Uncut Germs and Adam Sandler, When They See Us' Asante Blackk celebrated Phoenix, Honey Boy's Noah Jupe wanted to see recognition for female directors and One Day at a Time showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett called Knives Out "my favorite movie this year; also I didn't know that there was a Cuban lead on that movie and I don't feel like anyone's talking about that, it's an incredible immigrant story." 

3. For those more closely involved in this year's Oscars race, Sunday's award show served as a welcome distraction, like for The Farewell director Lulu Wang, who said she wasn't thinking about — and trying not to think about — Monday's possible nom for Awkwafina, who just came off a big win at the Golden Globes. "I talked to my mom this morning and she just said, 'You never know what's good, what's bad, and the stuff that you can't control just let it go. At the end of it, whether you rise up or you come down, just know who you are and just remember that and that's how you keep moving forward,'" Wang told THR on the red carpet, while also still celebrating her star's recognition last weekend. "Just knowing the risks that [Awkwafina] took to do this role — her first dramatic role, having to learn Chinese, having to go all the way to China — and also it's a $3 million film and we're amongst the conversation with so many major studio films, so for all of those reasons it really felt important." 

4. Florence Pugh, also in awards contention for Little Women, said that she won't be waking up at 5 a.m. to watch the nomination announcements, as "I think that's just setting yourself up to have a complete anxiety attack." One thing she will continue to focus on, though, is her fan-favorite Instagram, where, just in the last few weeks, she has taken viewers on cactus surgery and ice cream-making journeys. "I think Instagram and social media is wonderful but also so weird, and I feel like I would find it hard to just be perfect and poised all the time," she said of her decision to embrace the medium. "That's me, so my Insta stories are always silly, have to be, couldn't pretend any other way."  

5. Sarah Snook, who stars as Shiv on Succession, has also been feeling the fan love since the HBO hit has exploded to new heights in its second season. Admitting that she's "obsessed with it as well, so I get to share a common theme with other people," Snook says she's become more frequently stopped on the street and recently had an Uber driver who "was like 'Wait a minute, my wife loves you!' And he called his wife and I loved it," she said. "It's such a bizarre thing to experience in my real life — it's not real life but it is." 

6. Inside the show in Santa Monica's Barker Hangar, entertainment's biggest names mixed and mingled, with Jennifer Lopez chatting and snapping pictures with Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern (and also greeting Netflix boss Ted Sarandos); Borstein catching up with fellow big winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge; Lupita Nyong'o in conversation with Sterling K. Brown, making her way over to Ava DuVernay; Zendaya talking with the Succession cast and Wang — Impossible burger in hand — stopping by the Marriage Story table to chat with Noah Baumbach. 

7. Although audience members, composed of TV critics from all over the country, are discouraged from selfie-hunting during the show, every commercial break turned into a mad dash for photos, with Adam Sandler, Quentin Tarantino and Awkwafina among the most popular subjects. 

8. The night also served as a reunion for past co-stars and co-workers, with Saoirse Ronan embracing her Lady Bird best friend Beanie Feldstein, Milo Ventimiglia with Gilmore Girls creators the Palladinos and Christina Applegate standing and cheering for her Youth in Oregon opposite Billy Crudup. 

9. Despite the star power of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, the two had their speech cut short for a commercial break when accepting the award for best ensemble for The Irishman. Co-star Harvey Keitel took over the mic and kept the speech going, despite it being off-air, telling the room, "The great Konstantin Stanislavski said there are no small parts, only small actors," to which Pacino yelled from the back, "Short actors!" Keitel continued, "I tried to convince Al of this, but he wouldn't switch parts with me. Maybe next time," and De Niro stepped up one more time to thank Netflix for their support. 

10. The show ended with some big surprises, including a win (or a tie, shared with Sam Mendes) for best director for Parasite's Bong Joon Ho, with the room exploding with applause and giving an ovation to the Hollywood favorite. Eddie Murphy, who received a lifetime achievement award, also got a standing O, as well as for When They See Us' big win. The biggest shock, though, may have been Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for best picture, which left many stunned and the room buzzing as Tarantino and his team (minus Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt) took the stage.