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Critics Choice Awards ceremony recognizes Ukrainian bravery, suffering

Associated Press/Chris Pizzello

Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards ceremony featured several nods to the deadly Russian invasion of Ukraine, including a speech from Oscar-nominated actress Maria Bakalova recognizing the people of Ukraine, according to The New York Times

“As we gather together on this special night, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the bravery of the people of Ukraine who are defending their right to independence and democracy,” the “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” star, who is from Bulgaria, said before announcing the best supporting actor award.

“I truly hope that we will come together and usher in a new era of cultural and artistic exchange between Eastern Europe and Hollywood, which has been a foundational force of creativity in the 20th century,” she added. “So I hope my message goes to the Ukrainian people: We see you. We stand with you. And our hearts are with you.”

Hannah Waddingham spoke of “the babies in the Ukraine that are being utterly decimated at the moment from this putrid, putrid torrent of abuse” in her remarks accepting best comedy series for “Ted Lasso,” the Times reported.

Billy Crystal, who was awarded a lifetime achievement award, also spoke of his family from Ukraine. He specifically mentioned his grandmothers who immigrated from Odessa and Kyiv, saying “their laughter — the first laughs I ever got in my life — is the fuel that my engine is still burning today.”

“I pray that somehow, some way, there can be laughter and joy in that part of the world once again,” Crystal added, according to the Times.

As Ukraine endures its third week of Russia’s invasion, other stars at the ceremony wore blue and yellow pins, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Tags critics choice awards UKRAINE RUSSIA
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