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Critics Choice Awards: Behind the Decision to Bring Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie Onstage in Unplanned Moment for ‘Barbie’ Win

Host Chelsea Handler was among those responsible for bringing Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie to the stage at Sunday night’s Critics Choice Awards to accept the best comedy movie award for Barbie in an unplanned moment.

The award was announced early in the night as a roundup of several categories before a commercial break, with the camera cutting briefly to the Barbie table, where Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera (who was honored with the SeeHer Award) and others cheered the news. While the film won a total of six awards, only one of those categories (best song for “I’m Just Ken”) was presented onstage with the winners able to give an acceptance speech.

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Later in the show, Handler surprised attendees and viewers — and the Barbie folks — by rectifying that.

“Earlier tonight, Barbie was awarded best comedy, but it wasn’t onstage, so I’m gonna go rogue because I feel like Greta and Margot deserve the opportunity to make an acceptance speech,” Handler said toward the end of the show, with about 30 minutes left in the three-hour ceremony. “So ladies, would you mind coming up here and accepting the award for best comedy?”

Gerwig and Robbie appeared surprised at the move and unaware that it was happening.

“Oh, this is so unexpected,” Robbie told the crowd from the stage. “You know, when everyone’s like, ‘Oh, this is so unexpected,’ this is actually unexpected. This was not a part of the show, but we’re very grateful nonetheless.”

Gerwig added, “Thank you so much for letting this happen. We were just very excited in our chairs, and it’s very nice to be up here.”

Before Handler brought Gerwig and Robbie onstage, James Mangold also made a reference to the fact that the best comedy award winners were not allowed to come onstage. While introducing the career achievement award winner, Harrison Ford, the Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director noted as an aside: “Why don’t they get to come onstage for comedies?” before continuing his speech.

A source close to the show told The Hollywood Reporter that Handler, along with her writers and the show producers, made the call during a commercial break to bring the Barbie duo up onstage. Because the show was running ahead of schedule, they made the decision collectively to bring them up onstage rather than add another bit or joke.

Barbie also won best original screenplay for Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, best production design for Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, best costume design for Jacqueline Durran and best hair and makeup.

The 29th annual Critics Choice Awards were handed out Sunday night at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. See a full list of winners.

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