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SYFY WIRE Palm Springs

Lovecraft Country's Michael K. Williams, Palm Springs score wins at Critics Choice Awards

By Benjamin Bullard
Palm Springs

This was the year when sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and animation finally got so big that the Critics Choice Association (CCA) cried “excelsior!” and gave genre entertainment its own separate (and super-fun) awards show. So it was no surprise Sunday when only a small handful of genre projects — headlined by Best Comedy winner Palm Springs and a solo win for Lovecraft Country’s Michael K. Williams— stood on a much smaller oasis at the 26th annual Critics Choice Awards, in a ceremony that covered the larger screen entertainment world.

Hulu’s time-bending sci-fi romp was by far the biggest genre winner in a Critics Choice event that spread its honors across the board. Palm Springs star Andy Samberg accepted the Best Comedy award on behalf of his co-producers, the film’s creative team, and costars Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons, and more. The desert-trippy comedy stars Samberg as love interest Nyles and Milioti as Tala, two would-be lovers who can’t quite sync up their romantic timeline (or their secrets).

The Mandalorian and Lovecraft Country also watched from the sidelines as fellow Best Drama nominee The Crown took home the award for Netflix. Lovecraft Country didn’t go away completely empty-handed, though: Williams, who plays Montrose Freeman (Atticus’ father) took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

To become one of this year’s lone genre standouts at Critics Choice, Palm Springs went up against a field of nominees that spanned screen releases big and small. The Best Comedy category also included Amazon’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Universal’s The King of Staten Island, Apple TV+’s On the Rocks, and Netflix’s The Prom and The Forty-Year-Old Version

Another big winner was Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home star Zendaya, who walked away with this year’s SeeHer award, a special designation that, in its short 5-year history, also has recognized The Good Place’s Kristen Bell (2019) and Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot (2017). SeeHer aims to honor a female actor each year whose work serves to “push boundaries, defy stereotypes and acknowledge the importance of authentic portrayals of women across the entertainment landscape,” according to the CCA. Zendaya is set to reprise her role as MJ this December, when Spider-Man: no Way Home swings into theaters.

The evening also paused for an emotional moment in honor of Chadwick Boseman, the MCU's late Black Panther star, who posthumously earned the award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Levee Green in Netflix's historical drama Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Elsewhere, What We Do in the Shadows entered the evening with five nominations (including for Best Comedy Series), but FX’s modern meta vampire show came away from this year’s ceremony still thirsting for even one bloody good win.