With the Golden Globes mercifully reduced to an hour-long press conference due to the writers' strike (thank you, WGA!), and the fate of the Oscars (aka Important Golden Statues Of Boredom) undecided, red carpets everywhere are crying out to be trod upon by the leaden feet of the famous (they stomp so heavily because they're weighed down with the massive mantle of importance). That means that the smaller awards shows that have managed to finagle waivers from the WGA, like the upcoming SAG Awards (aka Three Hour Circle-Jerk On The Cusp Of The Abyss), and the shows that never had WGA contracts to begin with, like last night's Critics' Choice Awards, are now pretty much the only awards shows around.

Which brings me to last night's 13th Annual Critics' Choice Awards, a show that probably doesn't have a WGA contract because no one realized it existed: It was live on VH1. It was hosted by D.L. Hughley (Sample joke: "Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, where are you? You two did more for black people in Katrina than Fema."). There only seemed to be four cameras (one pointed at the stage, one embedded between Sean Penn's table and the Juno table, one propped up soley to capture George Clooney reaction shots, and one perpetually trained on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's cuddlefest). There was very little scripted banter. Half the people who won weren't there (which was great), and almost everyone who was there seemed drunk, including the cameramen. Snoop Dogg, Steve Zahn, George Clooney and Allison Janney were among the more famous presenters.

Basically, the Critics Choice Awards was like a low-rent Golden Globes, or a deflated SAG Awards, or a hobbled, stake-less Oscars. In other words, it was pretty entertaining for an awards show. The theme of the night seemed to be, "Whatevs." The speeches and banter were off-the-cuff, short, and for the most part funny. Eddie Izzard presented an award. So did Leslie Mann (and she ad-libbed "fucking" fucking twice). There were no dance numbers, or "magic of flim" montages, or tributes. It was only 2 hours long. Javier Bardem won at least a hundred times and was unintelligible in every one of his speeches.

That isn't to say that the show wasn't horrible in its own unique ways: there was the presence of the aforementioned DL Hughley


(DL, pictured with one of his many funny jokes)

The ghost of Katie Holmes wore some kind of bag made out of glitter


And some of the

categories were a little dubious (For example: Best Young Actor revealed the critics' perviness, while Best Comedy revealed the critics' want to recognize good comedies, but their unwillingness to consider them as good as real movies, like, you know, dramas.)

Also, there was a little too much Hairspray.

Still, I'd rather watch a two-hour loop of Latifah's sassy enthusiasm than sit through the Golden Globes. (Thanks again, WGA!)