SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — It was a good night for women at the Critics’ Choice Awards. “Big Little Lies” was the biggest winner, with four awards, and “The Handmaid’s Tale” won three. “Wonder Woman” was named best action movie and its star Gal Gadot accepted a special award for challenging gender stereotypes.
“Big Little Lies” was named best-limited series and won acting awards for Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern.
Kidman thanked the entertainment community “who show up to make really fantastic films and TV and let us do what we love.”
“I love being an actor,” said the 50-year-old Oscar winner. “Thank you for letting me do it all the way through to this age and beyond.”
Stories about women also won in comedy categories. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was named best comedy series, and star Rachel Brosnahan won best actress in a comedy.
As she accepted her award, Brosnahan noted that even though women aren’t wearing black like most did at the Golden Globe Awards earlier in the week, she said the fight to eradicate sexual harassment continues.
“Let’s not lose focus,” she said, urging viewers to support the Time’s Up initiative. “Let’s keep this going.”
Olivia Munn hosted the ceremony at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. At one point, the actress, who has spoken publicly about her own experiences with sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, led the audience in a toast. Joined by actress Niecey Nash, they raised a glass “to all the good guys in Hollywood,” who held meetings in conference rooms rather than hotel rooms.
“Congratulations for doing what you’re supposed to do!” Nash said.
Guillermo del Toro, who directed quadruple winner “The Shape of Water,” closed the show Thursday night by shouting that he’s always believed in the equality of women.
“Let me tell you one thing, if you don’t do that, you don’t know what you’re missing,” he said.
His fantasy love story, which led all nominees with 14 bids, claimed the best picture prize, along with director, score and production design honors.
Presenter Chris Hemsworth noted that women have had a stellar year at the box office.
“The three biggest movies of 2017 in North America were ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’” which all feature female protagonists, he said. “The biggest comedy was a female ensemble, ‘Girls Trip,’ and the biggest independent movie was written and directed by Greta Gerwig.”
Hemsworth presented the best actress award to an absent Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The film also won for acting ensemble and supporting actor for Sam Rockwell.
Also absent was James Franco. The actor and director, who had new sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him earlier in the day, won best actor in a comedy for his turn in “The Disaster Artist.” The award was presented during a pre-telecast ceremony broadcast only online.
Actor Walton Goggins, who presented the award, accepted it on Franco’s behalf.
Double winners Thursday included “I, Tonya,” ″Get Out” and “Coco.”
“I, Tonya” brought acting accolades for star Margot Robbie and supporting actress Allison Janney. “Get Out” was named best sci-fi or horror film, and writer-director Jordan Peele claimed original screenplay honors. “Coco” won animated feature and original song for “Remember Me.”
Many Critics’ Choice Awards winners also took home Golden Globes, including McDormand, Rockwell, Brosnahan and the stars of “Big Little Lies.” Hollywood’s awards season continues through March 5, when the Academy Awards are presented.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .