Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, the semi-autobiographical film by the Mexican director, took the lead in the Oscar race with a win at the annual Critics Choice Awards.
The ceremony is often seen as a good barometer of success at the Academy Awards; since the Critics Choice started, 14 of the 23 winners have gone on to take home the equivalent award at the Oscars. It capped a brilliant night for Cuaron, who nabbed awards for Direction, Cinematography and Foreign Language feature.
The only award he lost on the night was for Best Original Screenplay, which surprisingly went to Paul Schrader for First Reformed, increasing its own chances of gaining a nomination at the Oscars. Roma also lost out in the Best Actress category for Yalitza Aparacio's performance, with Glenn Close (The Wife) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) tying the award, teeing up a three-horse race with Olivia Colman (The Favourite), who won Best Comedy Actress.
That was the only award for Yorgos Lanthimos' comedic period film, as it fell short in the Best Comedy race to Crazy Rich Asians, the aforementioned Best Original Screenplay category, whilst both Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone lost Best Supporting Actress to Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk).
Barry Jenkins' was also an unexpected winner in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, beating off competition from BlacKkKlansman and A Star Is Born. The latter, Bradley Cooper's directorial debut, will be disappointed to only win one additional award to Gaga's lead actress, with "Shallow" maintaining its dominance of the Best Song categories. Cooper lost out to Christian Bale in the Best Actor Category, who also took home the Best Comedy Actor trophy for his performance as Dick Cheney in Vice.
This double-triumph for Bale, along with the equivalent award at the Golden Globes last week, means he and Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) have becoming the leading candidates in the Best Actor race. Best Supporting Actor looks more set-in-stone, with Mahershala Ali dominating the circuit for his role in Green Book, as he aims to become a two-time Oscar winner.
In the more specific categories, Mission: Impossible - Fallout won the Best Action Movie prize, beating Marvel heavyweights Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. A Quiet Place won the Best Sci-Fi/Horror film, whilst Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the Best Animated Feature award. Neil Armstrong biopic First Man also performed well in the technical categories, winning Best Editing and Best Score.
With plenty of surprise winners, the awards season is bubbling nicely, with the recent BAFTA nominations and upcoming Screen Actors Guild awards giving us a clearer picture, with the shortlist for the Academy Awards being announced on 22 January.