Amid Strike, It Was a Strange MTV Awards

Pre-taped event looked a little different with no host, a lot of recycled live clips
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
It Was a Weird MTV Movie & TV Awards
Jennifer Coolidge arrives at the 29th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

A host-less, pre-taped and muted MTV Movie & TV Awards on Sunday became the first big awards show to air during the screenwriters' strike, offering a commercial-heavy broadcast featuring lots of past recycled live clips, the AP reports. Scream VI won the trophy for best movie, holding back competition from Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, Nope, Smile, and Top Gun: Maverick. In a pre-taped response, the killer Ghostface was humble: “To all the fans that voted, you finally answered my question: What’s your favorite scary movie?" The Last of Us was crowned best TV show, beating the likes of Stranger Things, The White Lotus, Wednesday, and Yellowjackets. Pedro Pascal accepted the award and said he and the cast and creators were standing in solidarity with the striking writers.

Jennifer Coolidge received the Comedic Genius Award on tape and gave a shoutout to striking writers, saying almost all great comedy starts with great writers. “I stand here before you tonight side by side with my sisters and brothers from the WGA,” she said. Coolidge also later won for best frightened performance for The White Lotus. MTV filled the show with dozens of old clips, like an all-star 2001 performance of “Lady Marmalade," Lizzo belting out her hit “Juice” in 2019, or Rihanna in 2002 singing “Umbrella,” as well as other genius award speeches from previous winners like Melissa McCarthy, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. There was also a sneak peek from an upcoming episode of Yellowjackets and a clip from Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. It was sometimes hard to determine what was new and what was old.

Host Drew Barrymore had dropped out in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America—later winning best host—and the show’s red carpet was rolled up. Faced with a picket from the guild, MTV scrapped the live event entirely. While Barrymore wasn’t there, she left plenty of sponsored bits, one with Cheetos popcorn and another pretending to play younger sister Skipper in the upcoming movie Barbie. She was also in a commercial for Pluto TV and a spoof of Wednesday. She kicked off the show reprising her role as Josie Grossie from Never Been Kissed, trying to smooch several nominees in carefully edited comedic moments. (See the full list of winners here.)

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