SANTA MONICA, Calif. – With no picket signs in sight, stars were free to attend the Critics' Choice Awards on Monday.
The Writers Guild of America strike, which began Nov. 5, has effectively shut down Hollywood and cast a pall over Tinseltown's awards season. But the Critics' Choice Awards, presented by the Broadcast Film Critics Association at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, isn't covered by guild contracts.
No pickets were planned at the two-hour ceremony, set to be hosted by D.L. Hughley and broadcast live on VH1.
The outdoor adventure film "Into the Wild," written and directed by Sean Penn, came into the contest with a leading seven nominations. The teen pregnancy tale "Juno" followed with six, while "Atonement," "Michael Clayton," "No Country for Old Men," "Sweeney Todd" and "Hairspray" had five nominations each.
All, with the exception of "Hairspray," were also contenders for best picture, along with "American Gangster," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "The Kite Runner" and "There Will Be Blood."
Awards were to be presented in 18 categories, including best young actor and actress, acting ensemble, song, composer, comedy and family film.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association, which represents 199 TV, radio and online critics from the United States and Canada, founded the Critics' Choice Awards in 1995.