The Critics' Choice Movie Awards -- the final award season teaser before Sunday's Golden Globe Awards ceremony -- were presented at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, Calif., Thursday.

Not surprisingly, The Artist took Best Picture, but George Clooney nabbed the Best Actor award for his lead role in The Descendants, heating up the competition between the major Best Picture frontrunners as we approach the Golden Globe Awards this weekend and the Oscar nominations later this month.

Despite rave reviews for Meryl Streep's showstopping performance in the otherwise mediocre The Iron Lady, Viola Davis preserved her position as a Best Actress favorite by nabbing the CCMA for her role in The Help.

Michel Hazanavicius won the Best Director trophy for The Artist, but seemed perplexed in his humble (or was it ungrateful?) acceptance speech.

The director award was reportedly announced immediately following a presentation of Martin Scorsese's work in conjunction with his honorary Critics' Choice Music & Film award. According to The Wrap, Hazanavicius started his speech with a comment that he didn't know what the term Best Director meant.

After seeing a clip of Martin Scorsese's work, and passing by Steven Spielberg's table, I think it's stupid, he said.

Somewhat curiously, Bridesmaids won Best Comedy -- beating Midnight in Paris -- though Woody Allen took the Best Original Screenplay trophy.

Sean Penn won the Joel Siegel award for humanitarian work. Fittingly, George Clooney presented the award to Penn, who accepted it via satellite from Haiti.

Below is a complete list of nominations, via The Wrap:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius -- The Artist
Best Actor: George Clooney -- The Descendants
Best Actress: Viola Davis -- The Help
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer -- Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer -- The Help
Best Young Actor/Actress: Thomas Horn -- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Best Acting Ensemble: The cast of The Help
Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen -- Midnight in Paris
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian and Stan Chervin -- Moneyball
Best Cinematography: (tie) War Horse and The Tree of Life
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Best Action Movie: Drive
Best Comedy: Bridesmaids
Best Foreign-Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary Feature: George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Best Song: Life's a Happy Song from The Muppets
Best Art Direction: Hugo
Best Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Best Costume Design: The Artist
Best Makeup: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Best Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Sound: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Best Score: The Artist
Joel Siegel Award (for Humanitarian Work) Sean Penn
Critics' Choice Music + Film Award: Martin Scorsese