MTV Movie Awards: Hits & Misses, MTV Movie Awards winners, nominees

MTV Movie Awards: Hits & Misses

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Ah, the MTV Movie Awards. That time-honored tradition where actors and filmmakers who will likely never take home a golden statue can instead take home a golden bucket of popcorn and feel good about what they’ve done. Where Lindsay Lohan can beat out an Oscar-winning actress like Hilary Swank, or Christian Slater and the words “most desirable male” can legitimately be used in the same sentence. Sure, they’ve gotten it right a couple of times throughout the years, but for the most part, the MTV Movie Awards have been more style than substance. So with the 2007 awards show just around the corner, we took the time to look back at the past 15 years and uncover some of the most memorable hits and misses, as well as dissect this year’s colorful cast of nominees.

The Hits

Best Villain: Lucy Liu, “Kill Bill” (2004)

Lucy LiuMTV hit the proverbial nail on the head when they gave the Best Villain award to Lucy Liu for her role as O-ren Ishii, the Japanese/Chinese/American crime boss in the first installment of “Kill Bill.” While Geoffrey Rush was good in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the other nominees -- Andrew Bryniarski (Leatherface in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), Kiefer Sutherland (“Phone Booth”) and Demi Moore (“Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”) – didn’t hold a candle to Liu. Who can forget O-Ren’s lightning-quick tabletop reaction to one of her underbosses questioning her mixed heritage? What about the shot of her and her gang walking in slow motion while Tomoyasu Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” (a.k.a. “The Kill Bill Theme”) played in the background? In a risky (but brilliant) move, Quentin Tarantino decided to use animation to tell O-Ren’s backstory, a brutal tale that only adds to her legacy. The intense dynamic between O-Ren and The Bride gave the movie’s climax – a gorgeous swordfight in the snow -- a truly epic feel. It’s a rare thing for a villain to be such a hottie and such a badass at the same time, but Liu pulled it off without a hitch. “Silly rabbit. Trix are for kids.” Indeed. – John Paulsen

Best Breakthrough Performance: George Clooney, “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)

Prior to becoming one of the most successful actors in Hollywood – and even before the phrase “neoprene nipples” became synonymous with his name – George Clooney appeared in a little vampire flick called “From Dusk Till Dawn.” The director (Robert Rodriguez) was still a relative unknown, and the film’s third biggest star wasn’t even an actor, but that didn’t stop Clooney from delivering one of the finest performances of his career. No, seriously. It’s no coincidence that “Dusk” also happens to be Quentin Tarantino’s best performance, either. The duo’s onscreen chemistry can be completely attributed to the former “Roseanne” and “Facts of Life” co-star, who plays the likeable anti-hero like it’s nobody’s business. And don’t forget, he may be a bastard, but he’s not a fuckin’ bastard! – Jason Zingale

Best Female Breakthrough: Julia Stiles, “10 Things I Hate About You” (2000)

This was one of those years where the voters could have picked any one of the five nominees (except maybe Shannon Elizabeth) and come away feeling good about their decision. Selma Blair (“Cruel Intentions”) has since become a well-respected indie queen, Carrie-Anne Moss (“The Matrix”) has gone on to prove that there’s a lot more to her than how good she looks in black leather, and Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry) – well, you already know her story. Nevertheless, it was Julia Stiles who was the most deserving of the bunch. Her performance in the Shakespearean teen comedy is not only impressive, but it’s classy, and she’s carried that professionalism into her adult movie career (no, not that kind of adult movie career) as one of the industry’s premiere female talents. – Jason Zingale

Best Male Performance: Leonardo DiCaprio, “Titanic” (1998)

Leonardo DiCaprioWhen he won the award for Best Male Performance for his work in “Titanic,” Leonardo DiCaprio was all four Beatles rolled into one. He could have been nominated for his work in “The Man in the Iron Mask” (remember that one? Didn’t think so), and he still would have won this award in a landslide. Having said that, it would be foolish to overlook his work here: he may not have gotten any love from the Academy, but he was the rock of the movie, and unlike some of his co-stars (ahem, Billy Zane), when he was handed some trademark James Cameron dopey dialogue, DiCaprio spun it into gold. Yes, he is arguably the prettiest poor person the movies have ever seen, but Leo cannot help being both good and cute. The Academy, so far, is holding those looks against him. Thank heaven, then, for little girls. – David Medsker

Lifetime Achievement Award (1992-1999)

When the MTV Movie Awards first began, it was instantly evident that they weren’t exactly taking themselves seriously…or, perhaps more accurately, they were only taking themselves as seriously as they felt their target viewing audience would let them. As such, their take on the ubiquitous Lifetime Achievement Award – a staple at all awards ceremonies – was slightly askew yet still legitimate. The idea of paying tribute to the collected works of Jason Voorhees, the hockey-mask-sporting star of the “Friday the 13th” franchise who earned the inaugural award, might’ve been laughable to the staid, intellectual crowd, but, hey, any character with the box office power to warrant that many sequels deserves his plaudits. Others to receive the honor have been The Three Stooges, black private dick John Shaft, Jackie Chan, Godzilla and Chewbacca, all more than worthy of praise in their own way. Unfortunately, after 1999’s award to Clint Howard for his unparalleled work in the field of cameo appearances in his brother’s films, the award began to shift toward artists who, frankly, have received more than enough praise in their time (Tom Cruise, Spike Lee, etc.). Thankfully, however, we still have the memories of the early winners, back when the award actually meant something. – Will Harris

Best New Filmmaker (1992-2000)

SwingersA staple category of the awards show, from its debut in 1992 to 2000 (although none was given at the ’98 show), the Best New Filmmaker award was perhaps the most promising element of MTV’s annual celebration. Where most categories had their share of hits and misses, this one managed to almost consistently select a winner whose work not only embodied the originality of cinema in that given year, but has continued to do so in some shape or form. Guys like John Singleton (’92, "Boyz N the Hood"), Wes Anderson (’96, "Bottle Rocket") and Doug Liman (’97, "Swingers") stand out as the best examples, while others – like Guy Ritchie (‘99, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels") and Spike Jonze (‘00, "Being John Malkovich") – haven’t quite had the same success. This doesn’t mean that they were any less influential during the time of their win, however, and the same goes for Steve Zaillian (’94, "Searching for Bobby Fischer") and Steve James (’95, "Hoop Dreams"). The lone egg of the group seems to be Carl Franklin (’93, "One False Move") who, despite having the chance to work with Denzel Washington twice, has never really delivered a film of the same caliber as the others. The sheer fact that most people have never even heard of his “winning” film is evidence enough, but we’re more concerned with the fact that he once made a movie called “Eye of the Eagle 2: Inside the Enemy.” Guess it goes to show you that no matter how uncharacteristically on the money this category was during its run, they can’t all be winners. – Jason Zingale

The Misses

Most Desirable Male: Christian Slater, “Untamed Heart” (1993)

Untamed HeartOkay, we know what you’re thinking: “Um…why do you even have an opinion on whether the selection for Most Desirable Male was a good one or not?” Thing is, you don’t need an in-depth knowledge of who’s hot and who’s not to wonder if someone accidentally read the wrong name at the dais. Just look at the list of nominees: Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Jean-Claude Van Damme…and Christian Slater? Come on, that’s not just a sketchy win; it’s a full-on case of “this guy shouldn’t even be on the playing field.” We have to figure that the only reason he even made the ballot in the first place was because his character in the film – a shy busboy with a heart defect who saves a waitress from getting raped – made the ladies swoon. But go ahead, guys: ask the lady in your life if Slater has ever had a role that raised him to Gibson-esque levels of desirability? All we’re saying is, we don’t remember any “Saturday Night Live” sketch called “Christian Slater: Dream Gynecologist.” – Will Harris

Best Movie: Menace II Society (1994)

There must have been some seeeeeeeriously hanging chads in this vote. Allen and Albert Hughes’ gritty urban drama bested “The Fugitive,” “Jurassic Park,” “Philadelphia” and “Schindler’s List” – “Schindler’s List”! – for the top prize at the 1994 Movie Awards. Okay, quick: when was the last time you even thought about “Menace II Society”? That alone says it all. What was once considered a hard-hitting exploration of gangland culture seems hopelessly trapped in time today, a footnote in the Wikipedia entry on ‘90s ’hood movies. “The Fugitive,” meanwhile, is playing on 6,000 TV stations this very minute. Now, we understand that the MTV audience skews decidedly younger than, say, the Motion Picture Academy, but as members of MTV’s audience back then, we feel safe in declaring that this was “Jurassic Park’s” award to lose. The $357 million-grossing monster mash gets knocked off by the $27 million-grossing indie (New Line wasn’t quite the powerhouse then that it is now)? Ho, ho, and indeed, ho, as fellow staffer Will Harris is fond of saying. – David Medsker

Best Comedic Performance: Pauly Shore, “Son in Law” (1994)

We understand that it’s the MTV Movie Awards, not the Oscars, and that the nominations are therefore going to cater to a decidedly different demographic…but “Son in Law”? Really? Perhaps it was MTV’s way of redeeming themselves for unjustly ignoring the cinematic masterwork that was “Encino Man” back in 1992, but their love for Shore was short-lived; he has since remained nomination-free, despite the brilliant back-to-back-to-back comedic trifecta of “In The Army Now,” “Jury Duty” and, lest we forget, his much beloved buddy flick with Stephen Baldwin, “Bio-Dome.” (We don’t really need to add that we’re just kidding, do we?) – Will Harris

Best Female Performance: Lindsay Lohan, “Mean Girls” (2005)

Lindsay LohanWhile I accept that the MTV generation will vote for a recognizable celebrity over a credible actress any day of the week, the sheer fact that LaLohan actually beat out Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby) for Best Female Performance is surely a sign of the apocalypse. Was “Mean Girls” a good movie? You bet, and it might just be the young tabloid whore’s best performance of her soon-to-be-short career. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it sting any less, especially when there were three other nominees (Uma Thurman, Natalie Portman and Rachel McAdams) who were far more deserving of the win. – Jason Zingale

Best Song from a Movie: Addams Groove, “The Addams Family” (1992)

Um…there were more than five movies released during 1992 that had original songs in them, right? Too bad, because that’s the only excuse we possibly could’ve accepted for this ridiculous rap scoring a Best Song nomination. And don’t hand us that “Hammer was huge in 1992” line. Lots of people were huge in 1992, but not many of them put out songs as lame as this. “Now is the time to get in your mind, it’s okay to be yourself,” sang Hammer. “Take foolish pride and put it aside like the Addams’. Yo, they def!” Ah, if only we were. – Will Harris

Most Desirable Female (1992-1996)

Michelle PfeifferLet’s think about that title for a moment: “Most Desirable Female.” It’s pretty self-explanatory, so it should be easy to get it right...right? Wrong. Things got off to a bad start at the Awards’ debut when the frenzy over “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” led to a Linda Hamilton win. I’m sorry, but “most desirable” and “Linda Hamilton” don’t belong in the same sentence (unless you’re polling a bunch of steroid freaks at Gold’s Gym). She somehow beat out the always-hot Kim Basinger (“Final Analysis”), the delectable Tia Carrere (“Wayne’s World”) and that wildcat, Christina Applegate (“Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”). Even the other nominee, Julia Roberts (“Dying Young”), was still smokin’ at the time. In ’93, Sharon Stone trumped Basinger (“Cool World”), Halle Berry (“Boomerang”) and frickin’ Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer, “Batman Returns”) by flashing her vagege in “Basic Instinct.” Hotter than a leather-clad Catwoman? Come on! Fourteen years later, Basinger, Berry and Pfeiffer are still hot. Stone? Not so much. In ’94, Janet Jackson (“Poetic Justice”) used her considerable musical fame (and plastic surgery) to triumph over Basinger (“The Getaway”), Demi Moore (“Indecent Proposal”) and Alicia Silverstone (who was actually hot in “The Crush”). After three defeats, it’s no wonder Basinger started losing her mind. In '95, Sandra Bullock (albeit at her absolute cutest in “Speed”) nipped Cameron Diaz (also at the very top of her game in “The Mask”) along with Moore (“Disclosure”) and Berry (“The Flintstones”). Sure, Bullock was cute in “Speed,” but was she desirable? Maybe, but who wouldn’t take Diaz, Moore or Berry instead? Finally, in '96, the award went to Silverstone (“Clueless”), which wasn't too egregious, but she won over perennial hotties Nicole Kidman (“Batman Forever”), Pfeiffer (“Dangerous Minds”) and Moore (“Striptease”). Demi showed her ta-tas for Pete’s sake! The producers must have realized they just couldn't get it right because ‘96 was the last year of the award. Ten years later, they gave an award for “Sexiest Performance,” and Jessica Alba won for her role as a stripper (who didn’t strip) in “Sin City.” However, that category doesn’t appear on the list of ’07 nominees, so they probably just gave it to her since she hosted the event that year. What a bunch of kiss asses. – John Paulsen


2007 NOMINEES

Only on MTV can you find an awards show where films like “300” and “Blades of Glory” are actually nominated in the Best Movie category. Then again, hasn't Marty gotten enough love for "The Departed" already? Still, that doesn't mean we're thrilled with all of MTV's 2007 nominees, from the inclusion of Gerard Butler (“300”) and Beyoncé Knowles (“Dreamgirls”) for Best Performance, to the dismissal of one of our favorite categories (Best Onscreen Duo) in favor of its questionable replacement (Best Summer Movie You Haven’t Seen Yet). Check out our predictions (noted with an *) from the full list of nominees below, and don’t forget to vote before the big show.

BoratBest Movie:
300
Blades of Glory
*Borat
Little Miss Sunshine
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Best Performance:
Gerard Butler - 300
*Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Keira Knightley - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Beyoncé Knowles - Dreamgirls
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness

Breakthrough Performance:
*Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
Lena Headey - 300
Columbus Short - Stomp the Yard
Jaden Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Justin Timberlake - Alpha Dog

Best Comedic Performance:
Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada
*Sacha Baron Cohen - Borat
Will Ferrell - Blades of Glory
Adam Sandler - Click
Ben Stiller - Night at the Museum

InvincibleBest Kiss:
Cameron Diaz & Jude Law - The Holiday
Will Ferrell & Sacha Baron Cohen - Talladega Nights
Columbus Short & Meagan Good - Stomp the Yard
*Mark Wahlberg & Elizabeth Banks - Invincible
Marlon Wayans & Brittany Daniel - Little Man

Best Villain:
*Tobin Bell - Saw III
Jack Nicholson - The Departed
Bill Nighy - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Rodrigo Santoro - 300
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada

Best Fight:
Jack Black & Héctor Jiménez vs. Los Duendes (Wrestling Match) - Nacho Libre
Gerard Butler vs. "The Uber Immortal" (The Spartan/Persian Battle) - 300
*Sacha Baron Cohen vs. Ken Davitian (Naked Wrestle Fight) - Borat
Will Ferrell vs. Jon Heder (Ice Rink Fight) - Blades of Glory
Uma Thurman vs. Anna Faris (Super Girl Fight) - My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet:
Evan Almighty (June 22)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (June 15)
Hairspray (July 20)
*Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13)
Rush Hour 3 (August 10)
Transformers (July 4)

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