Yesterday I had the chance to attend the MTV Movie Awards live in-house, an opportunity I assume I was granted because everyone else wanted to watch Game of Thrones. Begun in 1992 when it was hosted by Dennis Miller, the MTV Movie Awards is, of course, an awards show that feels like it wants to be young and hip and fun – best kiss! best scared as sh*t performance! a lifetime achievement award for Kevin Hart! – as if the guiding principle was “what if we could do the Oscars without all the boring junk for adults?”
And yet, it can’t quite commit. It feels like it wants to be an awards show voted on by the students instead of the teachers, but the way it tries and so frequently fails to not be the same old self-important wank helps explain why every awards show seems to turn into a self-important wank in the first place. Sure, it’ll have fun categories, a fun host, fun bits, and a talent roster so young and hot half of them sound like anagrams. But it still grudgingly hands out awards and nominations to traditional prestige movies like Boyhood and American Sniper, almost as if to say “Hey, we teens care about important stuff too!” (The “teens” are actually heavily botoxed adults in pigtails, but we’ll get to that).
Hell, they even gave Meryl Streep an award (best villain for Into the Woods, she did not show up to collect). And so it is you get the kid from The Maze Runner nominated alongside David Oyelowo, Selma clips set to Vegas pump up jams during the Movie Of The Year montage. Shailene Woodley, winning both female performance of the year and a “trailblazer award” (HER TRIUMPH IN THE FORMER IS TOTALLY UNRELATED TO HER BEING PRESENT TO ACCEPT THE LATTER, I AM SURE), attempting the kind of life-affirming speech you’d expect from the maid of honor in act three of a weepy rom-com. Can you really blame her though? After 23 years, still no one knows what the hell these awards are supposed to mean.
It’s a testament to Shailene Woodley’s charisma that she can still seem reasonably likable during speeches so unrelentingly earnest.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Say what you will about the MTV Movie Awards, they were prompt. The awards were scheduled to start at five, and when I walked into the auditorium at 4:57 (past a woman holding a microphone that said “Tiger Beat TV” on it at one point), the pre-roll video introducing Amy Schumer as host was already in full swing.