"12 Years a Slave," "Gravity," and "American Hustle" ended their Oscar-nomination day as the films began it: On top—this time, at the 19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards as presented Thursday night at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.
"12 Years a Slave" was named Best Picture, while "Gravity" led the field with seven wins, and "American Hustle" came away with four.
[Related: 2014 Oscars: Complete List of Nominees]
Here are six lessons learned from the latest stop on the awards-season calendar:
1. Critics really like "12 Years a Slave."
We already knew this, of course. The film has won its share of trophies from reviewers, and it owned the Drama category at last weekend's Golden Globes (yet another critics' awards). The thing to remember here is: All we have confirmed thus far is what critics like; we do not know what the membership of the Motion Picture Academy likes. True, after Thursday morning's Oscar nominations, we have a good idea—"12 Years a Slave" notched nine nods, including one for Best Picture—but we don't know that another movie, say, "Gravity," which scored 10 Academy nominations, or "American Hustle," which likewise earned 10, doesn't have even more support for the ultimate award.
2. Jennifer Lawrence is mortal.
Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave"), not the red-hot "American Hustle" star, took the Supporting Actress category. The two, who will square off in the same race at the Oscars, have been splitting the major critics' awards to date, so Nyong'o's win is no upset.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio is still funny (but not for much longer).
Less than a week after he was named Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, at the Globes, DiCaprio won basically the same category from the Broadcast Film Critics Association. At the Oscars, however, "The Wolf of Wall Street" comedian will compete for the one-category-fits-all Best Actor prize.
4. Matthew McConaughey is the Best Actor frontrunner—unless, that is, he's not.
Again, all we have confirmed after the Globes and now the Critics' Choice Awards is that movie reviewers value McConaughey's performance in "Dallas Buyers Club" above all. So best wait until Saturday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, voted on, in part, by people who also cast Oscar ballots, to give the reigns to McConaughey. (For what it's worth, and, frankly, it's not worth as much as the SAG results, Chiwetel Ejiofor from "12 Years a Slave" is the consensus frontrunner of the gaming sites.)
5. Cate Blanchett is the Best Actress frontrunner—unless, that is, she's not (but she probably is).
The "Blue Jasmine" star doesn't lose, and she won again at the Critics' Choice Awards. The SAG Awards will be the big tell, and not just about support for her performance (which has been universally acclaimed), but about whether Mia Farrow's and Ronan Farrow's criticism of the Globes' Woody Allen tribute will at all trickle down to her. (Allen wrote and directed "Blue Jasmine.")
6. The coolest thing that could've happened at an awards show held the same day as the Oscar announcements didn't happen.
The coolest thing that could've happened Thursday night would've been for a Tom Hanks ("Captain Phillips"), a Robert Redford ("All Is Lost"), or an Oprah Winfrey ("The Butler") win. Yes, the coolest thing would've been for a notable Oscar snubee to give a triumphant acceptance speech with the Oscar-snub wound fresh. But, alas, all the notable snubees lost. Again. (Well, except for the overlooked hair-and-makeup crew from "American Hustle." So good for them.)
Here's a complete look the winners of the 19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards:
Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave”
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Best Young Actor/Actress: Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Best Acting Ensemble: “American Hustle”
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, “Her”
Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave”
Best Cinematography: “Gravity”
Best Art Direction: “The Great Gatsby”
Best Editing: “Gravity”
Best Costume Design: “The Great Gatsby”
Best Hair & Makeup: “American Hustle”
Best Visual Effects: “Gravity”
Best Animated Feature: “Frozen”
Best Action Movie: “Lone Survivor”
Best Actor in an Action Movie: Mark Wahlberg, “Lone Survivor”
Best Actress in an Action Movie: Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Best Comedy: “American Hustle”
Best Actor in a Comedy: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Best Actress in a Comedy: Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie: “Gravity”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Best Documentary Feature: “20 Feet From Stardom”
Best Song: “Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Best Score: “Gravity”
See the Best Picture selections at this morning's Oscar Nominations: