James Franco an early winner at Critics' Choice Awards

Mary J. Blige arrives at the 23rd annual Critics' Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

James Franco an early winner at Critics' Choice Awards

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — James Franco, who had new sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him earlier in the day, was among the early winners at the Critics' Choice Awards on Thursday, but the actor wasn't on hand to accept his award.

Franco won best actor in a comedy film for his starring turn in "The Disaster Artist" at the end of an hourlong pre-telecast during which a dozen awards were presented.

The film wasn't deemed the best comedy, though: That award went to "The Big Sick."

Actress Olivia Munn is hosting the gala at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, where a cast of celebrity presenters will announce film and TV critics' picks for the best work of 2017.

Guillermo del Toro's Cold War fantasy romance "The Shape of Water" leads all nominees with 14 bids. It's up for best picture, along with "The Big Sick," ''Call Me By Your Name," ''Darkest Hour," ''Dunkirk," ''The Florida Project," ''Get Out," ''Lady Bird," ''The Post" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

The top TV nominee is "Feud: Bette and Joan" with six nods. Other leading contenders include "Big Little Lies" and "Fargo."

"This Is Us," ''The Handmaid's Tale," ''Stranger Things," ''Game of Thrones," ''The Crown" and "American Gods" are up for best drama series. Competing in the comedy category are: "black-ish," ''The Big Bang Theory," ''GLOW," ''The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," ''Modern Family" and "Patriot."

"Get Out," ''Coco" and "Big Little Lies" each won two awards during the pre-telecast. "Get Out" won for original screenplay and best sci-fi or horror film. "Coco" claimed top prizes for original song and animated feature. "Big Little Lies," which brought supporting actor honors to Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern.

Chris Hemsworth, Kaley Cuoco, Anthony Anderson, Nick Jonas, Kate Bosworth and Alison Brie are among the stars set to present at the ceremony, which will be broadcast on the CW network.

The 23rd annual Critics' Choice Awards will also feature the second annual #SeeHer award, which recognizes an individual for challenging gender stereotypes. "Wonder Woman" star Gal Gadot will accept the award from director Patty Jenkins.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

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