Critics' Choice Awards 2012: What does it mean?

Oscar and Critics' Choice winners for 2011 were, from left, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo, and Colin Firth.
Matt Sayles

(CBS) What do the Critics' Choice Movie Awards really mean? Does it help or hurt one's Oscar chances?

Pictures: Critics' Choice Movie Awards red carpet
Pictures: Highlights from the show
Pictures: Stars in the press room
Read more: List of winners
Special section: Awards season

Well for at least the last two years, the Critics' Choice acting awards have exactly mirrored that year's Oscar winners. It's not as accurate, however, when used to predict best movies and directors.

Last year's Critics' Choice winners - Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo - all went on to snag Oscar nominations later that month and Oscar statuettes the following month.

But "The Social Network" and its director David Fincher were honored by the broadcast group in January, while "The King's Speech" and its director Tom Hooper went on to nail the Oscar wins.

The same thing happened in 2010. Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Christoph Waltz and Mo'nique all won both Oscars and Critics' Choice awards.

But that year, although the movie "Avatar" was the big winner with eight trophies in total at the Critics' Choice Awards, "The Hurt Locker" and its director Kathryn Bigelow won both the Oscars and the Critics' Choice Awards for best picture and best director.

While this means that George Clooney, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Christopher Plummer have reason to be hopeful about their Oscar chances, "The Artist" and director Michel Hazanavicius shouldn't be chilling the champagne just yet.

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