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Critics Choice Awards postponed due to Omicron concerns

Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman talk at an awards show.
Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman attend the 25th Critics Choice Awards on Jan. 12, 2020, at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
(Ari Perilstein / Getty Images)

In the latest Hollywood domino to fall from the Omicron surge — and the latest bump in this year’s upended and dispirited awards season — the Critics Choice Assn. announced Wednesday it is postponing the 27th Critics Choice Awards, which had been scheduled to be held in person on Jan. 9.

No new date has been set for the telecast, which is set to air on The CW and TBS.

“After thoughtful consideration and candid conversations with our partners at The CW and TBS, we have collectively come to the conclusion that the prudent and responsible decision at this point is to postpone the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards, originally slated for January 9, 2022,” the organization said in a statement. “We are in constant communication with L.A. County Health Officials, and we are currently working diligently to find a new date during the upcoming awards season in which to host our annual gala in-person with everyone’s safety and health remaining our top priority. We will be sharing additional details with our friends and colleagues throughout the entertainment industry as soon as we can.”

The move marks a setback for the Critics Choice Assn. in its effort to dethrone the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which hands out the Golden Globes, as the arbiters of awards season’s lead-off event.

The Critics Choice Awards has long struggled to break out of its also-ran status, bouncing around various networks and pulling in relatively tiny ratings. When NBC announced in May it was pulling the Golden Globes off the air this year following months of controversy sparked by a Times investigation, CCA chief executive Joey Berlin saw a chance to fulfill his long-held dream of claiming its spot kicking off the awards season.

In short order, Berlin pounced on the Globes’ Jan. 9 date and relocated the show from its longtime home in Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar to the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel. “I just feel such a strong wind at our back,” Berlin told The Times in July.

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Even as Berlin tried to capitalize on the Globes’ absence, however, a Times story published earlier this month revealed that he and his roughly 500-member organization have been dogged by some of the same issues — including questions over credibility, governance and potential conflicts of interest — that have long plagued the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

Just two days ago, the Critics Choice Assn. had vowed it was pressing ahead with the Jan. 9 show. But as concerns continue to rise about the Omicron variant, touching off a wave of cancellations, those plans clearly proved untenable. Earlier Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it is postponing the Governor Awards, which had been slated for Jan. 15, to a yet-to-be-determined date.


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