The Critics Choice Awards show schedule got a surprise update when host Chelsea Handler decided to “go off” and called Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie to the stage.
Gerwig and Robbie's “Barbie” picked up numerous awards throughout the evening, but many were handed out during commercial breaks, including best comedy. That wouldn't work for Handler, who devoted much of her monologue to paying homage to “Barbie” for its $1.4 billion box office haul and cultural relevance in the “Year of the Woman.”
“I will go rogue because Greta and Margot deserve the opportunity to give an acceptance speech,” Handler said. “Would you mind coming over and accepting the award?”
The camera shows Gerwig and Robbie excitedly climbing from their table onto the stage.
“Thank you, Chelsea. We love you so much,” Robbie said on stage. “You know, when everyone says, 'Oh, that's so unexpected.' “It's actually unexpected and wasn't part of the show. We were still very grateful and I would like to talk to Greta.”
The filmmaker also thanked Handler: “We were excited in our chairs. And it's nice to be up here. Thank you to everyone who helped make the film. I laughed during most of the takes. Because of our amazing cast – Margot and Ryan and America – who could be as brilliant as they were.”
Gerwig then thanked the companies behind the film — Mattel for “letting us take their beloved icon and create something so awkward” and Warner Bros. for “standing behind us every step of the way.” She saved her last greeting for Baumbach, her co-author and new husband. “We wanted to make everyone laugh and we made the world laugh too.”
By this point, “Barbie” had won awards for original screenplay (Gerwig and Noah Baumbach), original song (“I'm Just Ken”), production design (Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer), costume design (Jaqueline Durran) and hair and makeup. Winning the Best Comedy award meant the film had won six of its record-breaking 18 nominations – including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Robbie), Best Supporting Actor (Ryan Gosling), Best Supporting Actress (America Ferrera) and three for the original song.
Additionally, Ferrera was honored with the Critics Choice SeeHer Award and gave a powerful speech reminiscent of her viral monologue from the film, reflected on her two-decade career, and dedicated the award to “every kid who longs to break in.” .
“I am deeply grateful for this recognition and honor for my contribution to more authentic representations of women and girls,” Ferrera began. “I couldn’t be more meaningful to me because I grew up as a first-generation Honduran-American girl who loved television, film and theater and desperately wanted to be part of a legacy of storytelling in which I couldn’t see myself reflected.”
She continued: “Of course I could empathize with characters that are strong and complex, but those characters that are strong and complex, but those characters rarely, if ever, looked like me.” I longed to be people like me to see myself as a full human being on the screen. When I started working over 20 years ago, it seemed impossible.”
But thanks to writers, directors, producers and executives – like Robbie and Gerwig – who “had the courage to rewrite outdated stories and challenge deeply rooted prejudices,” Ferrera and her Latino colleagues “had the great fortune of something “Bringing wild things to life” and fantastic women.”
It's about paving a path for the new generation of talent like Ariana Greenblatt, who played Ferrera's daughter in “Barbie,” Jenna Ortega and Selena Gomez.
“This is the best and highest use of storytelling: to affirm each other’s full humanity. To maintain the truth. That we are all worthy of being seen – Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, Trans, Disabled, every body type, every gender. We are all worthy of having our lives reflected richly and authentically.”
America Ferrera accepts the Critic's Choice SeeHer Award at the 29th Critics Choice Awards. Michael Buckner for Variety