When both Glenn Close and Lady Gaga's names were called out last night (Sunday, Jan 13) at the 24th annual Critics' Choice Awards in California, it wasn't another awkward Moonlight / La La Land fiasco, it was actually a tie.
In fact, on Sunday, there were two ties. Both Glenn Close (The Wife) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) won the Best Actress gong, while Amy Adams (Sharp Objects) and Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora) bagged the accolade for Best Actress in a Movie Made for Television of Limited Series.
Fans were understandably confused.
It might seem like a bit of a cop out, but ties at awards shows are not that uncommon. It's even happened to Amy Adams before, as at the 2006 Critics' Choice Awards she shared the Best Supporting Actress gong with Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) for her role in Junebug.
This is only the second time it's happened twice in the same year, however. In 1999, there were ties for Best Animated Feature (A Bug's Life and The Prince of Egypt) and Best Supporting Actress (Joan Allen for Pleasantville and Kathy Bates for Primary Colors).
So how does it work?
The Critics' Choice Awards are decided by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) – the 332-member film critics organisation in the US and Canada – and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) – the collective voice of journalists who regularly cover television for TV, radio and online audiences.
"Historically, the Critics' Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations," its official website states.
For film, voters send in their ballots in December and choose winners in January. For TV, an executive committee picks four chairmen for nominating committees, who then select their committee members, who then choose the nominees.
After the nominations have been finalised, members vote on a winner from that list of nominees. As there's no tie-breaker policy, it's possible for ties to occur when voting is equal.
Ties in the past
It all started in 1996, with the first Critics' Choice awards. Ed Harris and disgraced actor Kevin Spacey tied for Best Supporting Actor. Harris won for his roles in Apollo 13, Just Cause and Nixon, while Spacey was applauded for his parts in Outbreak, Se7en, Swimming with Sharks and The Usual Suspects.
It also happened in: 1999 (as mentioned above); 2002 (Best Director went to Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind and Baz Luhrmann for Moulin Rouge!); 2003 (Best Actor went to Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in Gangs of New York and Jack Nicholson for About Schmidt); 2006 (Best Supporting Actress went to Amy Adams for Junebug and Michelle Williams for Brokeback Mountain); 2008 (Best Actress went to Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married and Meryl Streep for Doubt); 2010 (Best Actress for Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side and Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia); 2012 (Best Cinematography went to Janusz Kaminski for War Horse and Emmanuel Lubezki for The Tree of Life); 2016 (Best Original Screenplay went to Damien Chazelle for La La Land and Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea).
And that's not all, folks
It's not just a Critics' Choice Awards thing, either. There have also been ties at the Oscars, although it's rare. It happened in 1932 (Best Actor), 1950 (Best Documentary Short Subject), 1969 (Best Actress), 1987 (Best Documentary Feature), 1995 (Best Short Film [Live Action]), 2013 (Best Sound Editing).
In 1932, Frederic March (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) got only one more vote than Wallace Beery (The Champ) and the Academy said it was "considered such a close margin to be a tie". The rules have since changed, and now ties are only given when the votes are exactly the same. In 1969, Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl) and Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter) got 3,030 votes each.
It's also happened at the Golden Globes a few times, too (a total of five, to be exact).
Proud winners and happy fans
People loved the moment Close and Gaga's awards were presented. "A beautiful friendship is BORN," tweeted the Critics' Choice Awards.
Close accepted the award first, saying: "I was thinking that, you know, the world kind of pits us against each other in this profession. And I know from all the women in this category, and I think I can speak for all the women in this room, we celebrate each other. We are proud to be in this room together."
When it was Gaga's turn, she gushed: "I am so honoured by this. I went to places in my mind and in my heart that I did not know existed or that I could."
It all seems to make up for the moment fans were dismayed when Glenn Close took the Golden Globe for best actress in a drama film, leaving Lady Gaga surprisingly empty-handed.
"You see that Golden Globes??" one Twitter user wrote. "You know what to do, Oscar!"
Fans were also happy to see Adams and Arquette co-win, especially as they shared the acceptance speech, too. "Hands down my favourite thing in 2019 so far," wrote Jessica Schubert on Twitter.
Adams was the first to winner to be announced. "I want the other woman up here," she said, prompting the second announcement. "I actually can't think of a more beautiful thing than a tie, because there really isn't a winner when we get to do such great work and we have such wonderful opportunities."