So the MTV Movie Awards are tonight. I don’t think I’ve said or typed that phrase in years. I think there was a time when these awards had a slightly transgressive place in the world. But that time came and went, likely faster than I remember.
I’m talking about a time when films like “Menace II Society” and “Se7en” could win awards for Best Movie and still seem to be a vote from the youth. Maybe it’s the movies that changed. Maybe things like that stopped appealing to an audience fed a steady diet of “Harry Potter” and “Twilight.” But it would be rather difficult to imagine Quentin Tarantino today offering of his “Pulp Fiction” win in 1994, “Pop quiz, hot shot. You go to awards shows all year long. You keep losing to ‘Forrest Gump.’ What do you do? You go to the MTV Movie Awards.” Though props for the “Speed” reference, sir.
But rather than get hung up on such things, I thought I’d use tonight’s 21st annual show as an opportunity to go back in time, to June 10, 1992, and a look at the first annual MTV Movie Awards.
Those were the days. Day-glo, glam rock hanging on by a thread, gangsta rap hitting the suburbs, grunge taking hold, “The Real World” was actually interesting, Clinton playing sax on Arsenio and a whiff of change in the air. Dennis Miller, fresh off SNL and on his way to HBO was our host. Live entertainment on the show included performances from En Vogue, Ugly Kid Joe, Arrested Development and Vince Neil, cranking out his “Encino Man” track “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come).”
Are the memories back yet? Good, now — let’s take a look…
BEST PICTURE (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”)
The big winner that year all across the board was “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” and I actually think it’s a legitimate choice given the demographic and the film itself, hardly a big dumb actioner. Still, “JFK” is one of the greatest films of all time, and since it was shockingly in the mix, I’d have to go with that. The other nominees were “Backdraft,” “Boyz n the Hood” and “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”
BEST MALE PERFORMANCE (Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”)
“Terminator 2” again, this time for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The big guy added a lot to the mythos of the character this time around, and I certainly would have given him the edge over Kevin Costner (“Robin Hood”) in the category. But it’s difficult to argue against Robert De Niro’s lunatic in “Cape Fear” and Val Kilmer’s eerie channeling of Jim Morrison in “The Doors.” I’d have to go with De Niro.
BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE (Linda Hamilton in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”)
The nominees were Geena Davis, representing “Thelma & Louise” by her lonesome (though both her and co-star Susan Sarandon were nominated for Oscars), Rebecca De Mornay in “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” Julia Roberts in “Dying Young” and our winner, Linda Hamilton in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” I’d lean toward Davis but it’s an ugly category.
MOST DESIRABLE MALE (Keanu Reeves in “Point Break”)
I’m secure enough in my sexuality to offer an opinion here, I think. Somehow Jean-Claude Van Damme was in the mix for “Double Impact” alongside Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood,” Christian Slater in “Kuffs” and Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in “Point Break.” To be perfectly honest, I can’t argue with the eventual winner: Keanu. Dude jumped out of a plane without a ‘chute.
MOST DESIRABLE FEMALE (Linda Hamilton in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”)
Linda Hamilton won this for “Terminator 2” and, well, “desirable” isn’t the word I’d use for her in that film. Particularly when you have Christina Applegate (“Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”), Kim Basinger (“Final Analysis”) and Tia Carrere (“Wayne’s World”) hitting the height of their hotness. Julia Roberts rounded out the nominees in “Dying Young,” and if you’re asking me, I gotta go with Tia. Schwing!
BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (Edward Furlong in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”)
Another award for “Terminator 2,” this time for Edward Furlong. He was nominated alongside “Veep” star Anna Chlumsky (“My Girl”), Campbell Scott (“Dying Young”), Ice-T (“New Jack City”) and Kimberly Williams (“Father of the Bride”). God, I don’t know. Furlong really popped back then so I guess I’d side with the popular vote.
BEST ON-SCREEN DUO (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in “Wayne’s World”)
Okay, now we’re getting a little silly. The obvious answer here is Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in “Thelma & Louise,” who were nevertheless beat out by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in “Wayne’s World.” I’d have even gone with Damon Wayans and Bruce Willis in “The Last Boy Scout” over those two, but, alas. The other nominees were Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin in “My Girl” and Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”
BEST VILLAIN (Rebecca De Mornay in “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”)
A fun category. Wesley Snipes in “New Jack City?” Alan Rickman in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves?” Robert Patrick in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day?” Lots of diversity. Rebecca De Mornay won for “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” but of course Robert De Niro should have walked away with it for “Cape Fear.”
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE (Billy Crystal in “City Slickers”)
The boys from “Wayne’s World” were of course in the mix, as was Steve Martin in his “Father of the Bride” remake and eventual winner Billy Crystal in “City Slickers.” If you’re asking me? I laugh my ass off at Bill Murray in “What About Bob?” every time I see it, so chalk me up for that.
BEST SONG FROM A MOVIE (“(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” from “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”)
It was never going to be anything but chart buster “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” from “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” from crooner Bryan Adams. I challenge you to think back on 1991-1992 and not think of countless times you heard that thing playing. Still, I’ve have gone with Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” from “Rush.” MC Hammer was in the mix for “Addams Groove” from “The Addams Family,” as was Color Me Badd for “I Wanna Sex You Up” from “New Jack City.” The category didn’t limit itself to original songs, which should help explain the latter, as well as Guns N’ Roses’ “You Could Be Mine” from “Terminator 2” being in the mix.
BEST KISS (Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin in “My Girl”)
Ah, the truly novel addition of the MTV Movie Awards. Well, this and the next category. And the winner was perfect: Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin in “My Girl.” It just had more spark and resonance than the smooches from Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia (“The Addams Family”), Annette Bening and Warren Beatty (“Bugsy”), Juliette Lewis and Robert De Niro (“Cape Fear” — you know, the creepy scene) and Priscilla Presley and Leslie Nielsen (“The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear”). And I can’t believe I just broke that category down.
BEST ACTION SEQUENCE (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”)
The winner here was the L.A. Freeway Scene from “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” which beat out sequences from “Backdraft,” “The Hard Way,” “The Last Boy Scout” and “Point Break.” Hard to argue.
John Singleton won the inaugural Best New Filmmaker award for “Boyz n the Hood,” which is perfectly reasonable, while Jason Vorhees won the Lifetime Achievement Award for the “Friday the 13th” series, which obviously could have been better considered.
The nominees for this year’s awards, hosted by Russell Brand, include “Bridesmaids,” “The Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” “The Help” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.” You can check out the full list of contenders at Awards Campaign, but I think we can surmise it’ll be between the two young adult adaptations, but c’est la vie. It’s MTV.