Award season: The race is on

This year's Oscar contenders had their first big week of award shows and festivities. Stars like <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB001030" title="George Clooney" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/george-clooney-PECLB001030.topic">George Clooney</a>, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB003427" title="Brad Pitt" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/brad-pitt-PECLB003427.topic">Brad Pitt</a> and <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB003972" title="Michelle Williams" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/michelle-williams-PECLB003972.topic">Michelle Williams</a> headed east to the desert for the annual <a href="http://theenvelope.latimes.com/galleries/photo/redcarpet/la-et-palm-springs-film-festival-gala-2012-pictures,0,845881.photogallery" target="blank">Palm Springs Film Festival Gala</a>, before coming back to Tinseltown for the People's Choice and Critics' Choice Awards. While "<a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PEFCC000028" title="Harry Potter (fictional character)" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/harry-potter-%28fictional-character%29-PEFCC000028.topic">Harry Potter</a>" took the <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2012/01/peoples-choice-awards.html" target="blank">top prize at People's Choice</a>, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ENMV0011340" title="The Artist (movie)" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/the-artist-%28movie%29-ENMV0011340.topic">"The Artist"</a> was the <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2012/01/the-artist-is-the-best-winner-at-the-critics-choice-awards.html" target="blank">big winner at Critics' Choice</a>.

( Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images / December 18, 2013 )

This year's Oscar contenders had their first big week of award shows and festivities. Stars like George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Michelle Williams headed east to the desert for the annual Palm Springs Film Festival Gala, before coming back to Tinseltown for the People's Choice and Critics' Choice Awards. While "Harry Potter" took the top prize at People's Choice, "The Artist" was the big winner at Critics' Choice.

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