What Critics Vote for the Critics' Choice Awards? Here's What You Should Know About the People in Charge

The first thing to understand about who votes for the Critics' Choice Awards is that, as of 2011, the Critics' Choice Awards as a whole actually refers to two separate awards shows hosted on two different nights during the year: the Critics' Choice Movie Awards and Critics' Choice Television Awards. Airing Thursday night on A&E are the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, the somewhat snotty big brother to the Television Awards. You see, the Television Awards didn't come along until 2011, which I guess is when the critics started to get a little experimental. Television (and its internet offshoots) are the slickest new medium, haven't you heard?

But the Critics' Choice Movie Awards are still the boss around here: they hold the esteem, the power, and the time-slot just a few weeks before the big daddy of all awards shows, the Oscars. In fact, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards are known for being an excellent predictor not only for Academy Award nominations, but Academy Award winners (generally they choose the winners a little better in this humble critic's opinion). So, who's doing all this prime choosing? Why, the critics, of course: The Broadcast Film Critics Association. Here's what you need to know about the people choosing the winners for Thursday night's Movie Awards...

BFCA

The Broadcast Film Critics Association was founded in 1995 and is made up of approximately 250 television, radio, and online critics. Considering the number of critics out there, and that relatively small number, it's safe to assume that BFCA's active critics are the best of the best, but technically anyone can apply for membership. The only criteria is that an applying critic, "must regularly provide a large television, radio or Internet audience with subjective assessments of the quality of motion pictures being released theatrically," according to the Critics' Choice website.

Nominating & Voting

And once you're in, you hold the power! BFCA voting for the Critics' Choice Movie Awards is fairly simple: for the 20th Annual Awards this year, the nominating ballets were sent to all active members on Dec. 8, 2014 and returned on Dec. 12. The nominations are calculated and were announced this year on Dec. 15, so that final ballots could be sent out to select the winning nominees on Jan. 12, 2015... as in, three days ago. The ballots were returned Jan. 13, and on Jan. 15, we'll watch the fruit of all those critics' labor announced on A&E.

Beyond the Awards

Of course, the BFCA is mainly known for the Critics' Choice Awards, and that's the purpose for which they were mostly founded, but they keep a few other irons on the fire, as well. In addition to recommending films though the year, the BFCA chooses a Film of the Month on their website. There is also a monthly ballot sent out to establish a Critics' Choice Rating for new films based on the grades from each voting critic. A quick perusal of those numbers might be helpful the next time you're going to the movies (and for your office Oscars poll).

Images: A&E; giphy (2) nightmare-kisser/Tumblr

Must Reads