MTV Movie Awards: Smoky but Successful

Blockbuster action director Michael Bay’s really expensive toy commercial Transformers was the big winner at the MTV Movie Awards last night, taking Best Movie over crowd-pleasers Juno and Superbad. Gee, can you tell the general public votes online for the winners, and most of them just got their first computers?

But the real action occurred earlier that day.

The show was business as usual last night at Universal Studios’ Gibson Amphitheater, despite a horrific fire on Sunday morning that destroyed portions of the Universal Studios backlot. King Kong, the Back to the Future clock tower, the New York City set and Universal’s film vault were all either destroyed or damaged in the blaze. The amphitheater is located merely a hundred yards uphill from the fire’s location.

Despite plans to open them later than usual, Universal’s theme park and CityWalk were both shuttered for the day, and a smoky haze lingered in the air.

Some celebrities were able to work the fire to their advantage and actually crack funny at the podium. The Office star Rainn Wilson joked that he set the fires to strike for the wrath of God on Hollywood.

“I meant to destroy the amphitheater,” he cracked. “I made a mistake on MapQuest.”

But the evening’s biggest star appeared to be Johnny Depp. Depp took home two awards (Best Comedic Performance for his iconic Jack Sparrow character and Best Villain for Sweeney Todd) to thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he first took the stage. Hipster Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody could be seen clutching her hand to her heart, which is how the rest of the world seems to feel about the eccentric heartthrob.

Depp was his customarily soft-spoken self when accepting. “I’m not really sure how this happened because you can ask anybody—I’m not a very funny person,” he said when accepting his first award.

“Two times in one night—that’s nutty. Wow…I have to thank all of you who voted for me. That’s really a great honor, thanks for sticking with me on this very obtuse and strange road…I’m not particularly eloquent at the moment, but thank you so much,” he said when accepting the Best Villain trophy.

Depp missed out on making a clean sweep of the male category, as he was trumped by Will Smith’s win for Best Male Performance for I Am Legend.

“I’ve dedicated my life to creating and trying to do things that are different,” Smith said, only sounding a tiny bit like he might actually have joined the Church of Scientology. “I’ve dedicated my life to making everything that I touch better…This film was hard, and I was on camera for an hour by myself, and y’all still went to see it. Thank you very much.”

Best Female Performance went to teen pregnancy role model Ellen Page, for indie breakout film of last year Juno. Page seemed a little out of place when she walked the gold carpet before the ceremony began.

“It’s a lot,” she says. “The fans and the Pussycat Dolls just walked by. I embrace it all,” she told E! News.

The awards ceremony has long been the venue for which celebrities make appearances to promote their upcoming summer movies. Stars with films on the horizon who were in attendance and presenting awards included Will Smith and Charlize Theron (Hancock); Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder); Will Ferrell (Step Brothers); Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Get Smart); Edward Norton and Liv Tyler (Incredible Hulk); and Seth Rogen and James Franco (Pineapple Express). Host Mike Myers also made a joke about promoting his own summer movie offering, The Love Guru.

He also appeared to be stumping for another Wayne’s World movie, as he lamely trotted out Dana Carvey for a Wayne’s World bit.

The only actors who made an appearance without a movie to promote appeared to be Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Hudson. Sex and the City is already raking it in at the box office.

Sarah Jessica, who appears to be everywhere these days, wouldn’t confirm that there is a sequel in the works.

“Honestly,” she said backstage, “Michael Patrick King and I have not even talked about the idea.”

Tom Cruise presented funnyman Adam Sandler with the Generation Award, honoring his contribution to penis humor and silly voices in cinema for the past two decades.

“He liberated us form the presumption that it was not cool to punch old people…and he taught us how to celebrate Hanukkah by drinking gin-and-tonicas,” Tom Cruise said in his presentation. Sandler accepted his award by performing his own version of Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” and then speaking.

“Thanks, guys, that was fun—the most arrogant thing I’ve ever done,” the funnyman. “I appreciate everything over the years…Thanks to you guys for always being so cool to me.”

The show was mostly low-key and without comedic highpoints like Sarah Silverman’s ridicule of Paris Hilton last year. The only actually humorous on purpose moment was the  short film of Ben Stiller, Robert Downey and Jack Black making a viral video to promote Tropic Thunder, in which Downey Jr. tortures Black’s testicles. Haven’t we all wanted to kick Jack Black in the nuts?

The only possibly controversial moment occurred when Seth Rogen and James Franco produced what looked like a bag of marijuana and began smoking a joint from it while presenting an award to Downey. Their upcoming movie The Pineapple Express has them toking vast amounts of weed.

In what they later claimed was an MTV-sanctioned bit, the actors jokingly claimed to the audience the marijuana was fake and not “really good shit.” MTV suits must have changed their minds at the last moment because cameras panned away pretty darned quickly, as the audience tittered nervously. They were presenting Downey and director-actor Jon Favreau with the award for Best Summer Movie So Far for Iron Man.

“Thanks, fellas, for the intoxicating introduction,” Downey said.

P.S.: Don’t miss our gallery of gold-carpet arrivals.

Now with video!