The all-star American Hustle, about corruption in the 1970s, which has received 10 Oscar nominations, was named best comedy film, with Amy Adams winning best comedy actress.
The 281-member Broadcast Film Critics’ Association, the largest film critics’ organisation in the US and Canada, also gave the film its best acting ensemble prize at the event in Santa Monica, California.
Leonardo DiCaprio won best comedy actor for The Wolf of Wall Street, setting the pattern early for the awards which virtually mirrored the top winners at Sunday’s Golden Globes.
Blanchett, who also won the Globe and is favoured for the Oscar, was honoured for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, in which she plays the unbalanced wife of a disgraced Bernard Madoff-like swindler.
Many stars who were nominated — or snubbed — just hours earlier for the Oscars, Hollywood’s top honours, were on hand, including Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. Jared Leto won best supporting actor for his turn as a transsexual fighting Aids in Dallas Buyers Club. He dedicated his award to “all the people around the world who are living with HIV, all the people who have lost their lives to this horrific disease.”
McConaughey, who plays the real-life Ron Woodroof who became an Aids activist after being diagnosed in the 1980s, and Leto won Golden Globes on Sunday, and both were nominated for Oscars.
“Thank you, this is fun,” exclaimed a clearly elated McConaughey, who thanked Woodruff “for living a life that was damned well worth putting to the big screen”.
Lupita Nyong’o, who plays slave Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, won best supporting actress, prevailing over such A-list contenders in the category as Roberts and Oprah Winfrey.
Alfonso Cuarón was named best director for the outer-space hit Gravity, which also took prizes for visual effects, film editing, and cinematography. Star Sandra Bullock also won best actress in an action film, calling Gravity “a movie that should not have worked — but it did”.
Meanwhile, veteran US actor Robert Redford said he was not upset by failing to win an Oscar nomination, but said the distributors of his latest film did not campaign fully for it.
Redford had been hotly tipped to secure a best actor nod for shipwreck movie All is Lost.
Redford said he was proud of his latest work, an almost speech-free film about a sailor battling alone for survival after being shipwrecked at sea.
“Hollywood is what it is,” said Redford. “It’s a business and so when these films go to be voted on, usually they’re heavily dependent on campaigns that the distributors provide. In our case, I think we suffered from little to no distribution. And so as a result, our distributors — I don’t know why, they didn’t want to spend the money, they were afraid, they were just incapable, I don’t know.”