The 13th annual awards, handed out by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, are not covered by Writers Guild contracts, so unlike the Globes (and other upcoming awards shows), the Critics' Choice Awards were not impacted by the writers' strike.
So the A-listers showed up to party and celebrate the night's winners. No Country for Old Men was named best picture, with its oddly coiffed bad guy, Javier Bardem, winning best supporting actor.
Other big winners: Daniel Day-Lewis earned best actor (and a standing ovation) for his performance in There Will Be Blood, Julie Christie was named best actress for Away from Her, Amy Ryan was named best supporting actress for Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck's directorial debut), and teen-pregnancy comedy Juno was named best comedy.
Inside the auditorium, it was a laid-back party scene: A goateed Pitt got cozy with Jolie (who was nominated for A Mighty Heart), while Sean Penn, Eddie Vedder and Catherine Keener all mingled at the Into the Wild table (Penn's film led with seven nominations).
The writers' strike was still definitely on the minds of everyone, with winners and presenters sending their support while urging both sides to return to the table.
"When the strike happens, it's not just writers [affected]," Clooney said onstage. "Our hope is that all the players will lock themselves in a room and not come out until they finish. We want this to be done. That's the most important thing."
Comedian Eddie Izzard provided his own chilling example of awards-show writing during the strike.
"Okey dokey from WGA came during teatime, so some speechy talk not so good as other mans," he said. "This was wrote in toilet, so only first draft and a bit la-la."
Clooney also delivered the inaugural Joel Siegel Award (named after the late ABC movie critic) to Ocean's Thirteen costar Don Cheadle for his humanitarian work.
Here's a rundown of the night's winners:
Best PictureNo Country for Old Men
Best ActorDaniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best ActressJulie Christie, Away from Her
Best Supporting ActorJavier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting ActressAmy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Best Acting EnsembleHairspray
Best Young ActorAhma Khan Mahmidzada
Best Young ActressNikki Blonsky, Hairspray
Best DirectorEthan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men
Best WriterDiablo Cody, Juno
Best ComposerJonny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood
Best Song"Falling Slowly," Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Once
Best Foreign Language FilmThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Animated FeatureRatatouille
Best Family FilmEnchanted
Best Picture Made for TelevisionBury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Reporting by LISA INGRASSIA and JED DREBEN