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Actresses Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon accept the award for Best Limited Series for HBO's 'Big Little Lies' at the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California, in 2018. Image Credit: REUTERS

In the latest Hollywood domino to fall from the Omicron surge — and the latest bump in this year’s upended and dispirited awards season — the Critics Choice Association announced Wednesday it is postponing the 27th Critics Choice Awards, which had been scheduled to be held in person on January 9.

No new date has been set for the telecast, which is set to air on The CW and TBS.

“After thoughtful consideration and candid conversations with our partners at The CW and TBS, we have collectively come to the conclusion that the prudent and responsible decision at this point is to postpone the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards, originally slated for January 9, 2022,” the organisation said in a statement. “We are in constant communication with LA County Health Officials, and we are currently working diligently to find a new date during the upcoming awards season in which to host our annual gala in-person with everyone’s safety and health remaining our top priority. We will be sharing additional details with our friends and colleagues throughout the entertainment industry as soon as we can.”

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Host Taye Diggs in this screen grab from the 26th Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California, US, March 7, 2021. Image Credit: Via Reuters

The move marks a setback for the Critics Choice Association in its effort to dethrone the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Golden Globes, as the arbiters of awards season’s lead-off event.

The Critics Choice Awards has long struggled to break out of its also-ran status, bouncing around various networks and pulling in relatively tiny ratings. When NBC announced in May it was pulling the Golden Globes off the air this year following months of controversy sparked by a Times investigation, CCA chief executive Joey Berlin saw a chance to fulfil his long-held dream of claiming its spot kicking off the awards season.

In short order, Berlin pounced on the Globes’ January 9 date and relocated the show from its longtime home in Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar to the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel. “I just feel such a strong wind at our back,” Berlin told The Times in July.

Even as Berlin tried to capitalise on the Globes’ absence, however, a Times story published earlier this month revealed that he and his roughly 500-member organisation have been dogged by some of the same issues — including questions over credibility, governance and potential conflicts of interest — that have long plagued the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Just two days ago, the Critics Choice Association had vowed it was pressing ahead with the January 9 show. But as concerns continue to rise about the Omicron variant, touching off a wave of cancellations, those plans clearly proved untenable. Earlier Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it is postponing the Governor Awards, which had been slated for January 15, to a yet-to-be-determined date.