Hollywood Film Awards unofficially kick off awards season

PHOTO: Jake Gyllenhaal accepts the Hollywood Actor Award for "Stronger" during the 21st Annual Hollywood Film Awards, Nov. 5, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Jake Gyllenhaal accepts the Hollywood Actor Award for "Stronger" during the 21st Annual Hollywood Film Awards, Nov. 5, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The Hollywood Film Awards unofficially kicked off the 2017 awards season on Sunday.

Although all of the winners had been notified in advance of Sunday's non-televised ceremony in Los Angeles, the HFA was the first stop for this season's hopefuls to make red carpet appearances and hone their speeches in their bid for the industry's top prize -- the Oscar.

Host James Corden took note of this in his opening monologue.

"Hollywood Film Award winners have gone on to win 110 Oscar nominations or statues, so rest assured it does get better than this," he said in a not-so-subtle dig at the HFAs.

The barbs didn't seem to matter to the A-list stars who turned out. Gary Oldman, Angelina Jolie, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet, Mary J. Blige and Allison Janey were among those accepting awards.

Carlos de Abreu, who founded the HFAs 21 years ago, and Dick Clark Productions negotiate the winners with studios looking for a boost in the Oscar race. One of the conditions is the winners must show up in person to accept their awards.

Even though the HFAs were not televised, the winners still managed to make news and some viral moments during the event.

Accepting her Hollywood Actress Award, Winslet confessed that she'd always wanted to meet Janey, the night's supporting actress award winner for "I, Tonya," and maybe even share a kiss with her. Janney, it turned out, was more than happy to oblige.

Here are five Hollywood Film Award winners to keep watch for this awards season:

Jake Gyllenhaal

PHOTO: Allison Janney, right, kisses Kate Winslet, winner of the Hollywood actress award for Wonder Wheel at the Hollywood Film Awards, Nov. 5, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Allison Janney, right, kisses Kate Winslet, winner of the Hollywood actress award for "Wonder Wheel" at the Hollywood Film Awards, Nov. 5, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

As Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman in "Stronger," Gyllenhaal gave the kind of performance Oscar voters love. He also delivered one of the most heartfelt speeches of the night while accepting the Hollywood Actor Award. "We always seem to have a compulsive need for a hero. Jeff Bauman never wanted to be a hero," the actor said. "When he woke up and found he has lost both legs he had to become the embodiment of Boston Strong. Jeff knows I am full of s--- and somehow he trusted me with his story and I stand here with every bit of myself to show up for him. If we can find in ourselves the strength that Jeff found we just might not need heroes."

Mary J. Blige

Blige was a breakout star at Sundance earlier this year when audiences first saw her as the mother of a sharecropper family in "Mudbound." After Blige was presented the Hollywood Breakout Performance Actress Award by Viola Davis, her new status in Hollywood has been confirmed.

Gary Oldman

Receiving the final award of the night, the Hollywood Career Achievement Award, and a standing ovation, Oldman gave the kind of career-capping speech of other Hollywood acting legends. Surprisingly, the British actor has only received one Oscar nomination, but this year he appears the one to beat for his performance as Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour."

Angelina Jolie

PHOTO: Angelina Jolie accepts the Hollywood Foreign Language Film Award for First They Killed My Father during the 21st Annual Hollywood Film Awards, Nov. 5, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Angelina Jolie accepts the Hollywood Foreign Language Film Award for "First They Killed My Father" during the 21st Annual Hollywood Film Awards, Nov. 5, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Already an Oscar winner, Jolie seems happier these days in the director's chair. Her latest film "First They Killed My Father," about the Cambodian genocide as told through the eyes of a child, is likely to score a nomination for foreign language film. Accepting the Hollywood Foreign Language Film Award alongside writer Loung Ung, Jolie delivered a powerful speech about making the film despite formidable forces working against them.

Andra Day and Common

Singer Andra Day and rapper Common brought the audience to their feet with their performance of "Stand Up for Something" from the movie, "Marshall," about Thurgood Marshall, the country's first African-American Supreme Court justice. The pair, along with co-writer Diane Warren, won the Hollywood Song Award. Both Warren and Common are already Oscar winners, and it looks like they may have penned another Oscar-winning song.

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