It was a night of big stars (Tom Cruise), big winners (Will Smith, Johnny Depp), big music numbers (Coldplay, Pussycat Dolls) and big, tongue-in-cheek displays of ego. The stars who big-upped themselves at the 17th annual MTV Movie Awards Sunday night were kidding, although Robert Downey Jr. just might have been serious — have you seen the box-office figures for “Iron Man”?
He had plenty of supernova company onstage, as Johnny Depp, Adam Sandler, Will Smith, Ellen Page and Zac Efron took home Golden Popcorn awards in one of the raunchiest Movie Awards shows to date.
The evening kicked off — thankfully, after a nearby three-alarm fire near the Gibson Amphitheatre was contained and did not hold up the show — with host Mike Myers striding to center stage and launching into a throwback monologue featuring jokes about how the gas crisis was hitting Optimus Prime. Chris Brown was having none of it, though: The singer popped out of the audience to heckle the host, slamming him for shamelessly pimping his upcoming movie, “The Love Guru” — which opens on the 20th, by the way.
Myers stripped off his suit jacket and challenged Brown to a dance battle, and the two faced off with their respective crews. While Brown brought it, Myers may have trumped him with some truly unique popping and locking … of his big, pasty gut. And we’re not saying they’re definitely a couple , but Brown and his alleged boo, Rihanna, were snuggled up close in the audience all through the night.
Myers, doing his second go-round in the gig after first hosting in 1997 , kept things moving, thanks in part to patented character work from a foul-mouthed female caterer, a nasally mulleted animal trainer with hygiene issues and none other than perma-teen Wayne Campbell.
The night’s first batch of Golden Popcorn, for Best Female Performance, continued the plug cavalcade as the cast of “Hancock” — Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman — tried to get a mention in for their movie. After Smith got the audience chanting “Fe-male!,” he stopped Bateman short when the former “Arrested Development” star tried to start a chant of “Han-cock!”
The winner of the award, Ellen Page of “Juno,” nearly disrupted the big-screen spacetime continuum when she came close to locking lips with adoptive screen dad Bateman on her way to the podium. “This was just a little movie we made, and it was because of everyone who went to see it [that it became] what it was,” said Page, as first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody looked on with pride.
For Best Fight, Matt Damon’s rooftop punchfest in “The Bourne Ultimatum” was awesome and “Alien vs. Predator” was a classic slimefest. But it was Sean Faris and Cam Gigandet who snagged the Best Fight award for their battle in the ultimate fighting flick, “Never Back Down.” And we’re still checking, but Faris’ thank-you speech might have been the first time in the show’s history that someone thanked their gym during an acceptance speech.
The evening took a classy break when Coldplay performed the title track from their upcoming album, Viva la Vida, for the first time live on TV, reprising the street-urchins-in-a-marching-band costumes they sported in the “Violet Hill” video. Showered in a flood of red, then white, confetti, singer Chris Martin worked the stage, wandering out into the audience as the band chugged through the U2-like anthem with the refrain, “but that was when I ruled the world.”
In Best Summer Movie So Far, “Iron Man” crushed the competition, which included some heavies, like the back-to-back blockbusters “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Sex and the City.” Downey didn’t say much about the win, but he earned his keep just a bit later in a skit that found him pummeling Jack Black’s crotch into submission with his feet, his fists and finally a hammer and monkey wrench after reminding Stiller who the bigger star is.
Box-office titan Smith cemented his legendary status by taking Best Male Performance for his work in “I Am Legend,” and reminding the audience that they’ve been loving him for a long time. “I was sitting there with my little man [son Jaden, who accompanied him onstage] and I remembered that I was on this stage in 1988. And to be here today in 2008, I just really want to say thank you, guys,” Smith said. “I haven’t always made great movies, but I’ve been trying real hard.”
While many in the house got to spread the love and bask in the glow, it was a super bad night for the cast of “Superbad,” the most-nominated film of the night, which went 0-for-5. Co-star Jonah Hill wasn’t shy about expressing his disappointment as the losses piled up, but the sting might have been taken away by arguably the biggest surprise of the evening, an unexpected cameo from the denizens of “Wayne’s World.” The duo of Myers and Dana Carvey brought their shtick up to date by goofing on the porno names of some of the year’s top movies, including the giggle-inducing “Suck It List,” “Gush Hour 3″ and … um, “Iron Man.”
Smith may be the sultan of summer, but once again, it’s Johnny Depp’s world and we’re all just buying tickets to visit it. The perpetual scream-inducer probably gave Hill’s percolating “21 Jump Street” movie a huge boost by taking the stage in a throwback outfit that could have easily been worn by his “Jump Street” alter ego, Tom Hanson: a black short sleeved button down shirt; well-worn jeans; a leather wristband watch; and a short in the back, long-in-the-front page boy that can only be called “the Depp.” Oh, and he was out there for his win for Best Comedic Performance in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”
Working his gum like a waitress in a small-town diner, Depp strolled out to screams — well, not from good pals and fellow Comedic Performance nominees Seth Rogen and Hill — telling the audience he had no idea how he snagged the award, since, “You can ask anyone, I’m not a very funny person.” Depp did it again in the Best Villain category, besting Topher Grace, Denzel Washington, Javier Bardem and Angelina Jolie with his turn as the murderous, pancake-makeup-wearing barber in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”
“Thank you for voting for me,” Depp said. “Thank you for sticking with me on this very obtuse and strange road.”
The 2008 MTV Generation Award went to Adam Sandler, who was introduced lovingly by Tom Cruise. Not to be outdone by the praise heaped on him by the box-office legend, Sandler paid loving tribute to, well, himself by singing Carly Simon’s “James Bond” anthem “Nobody Does It Better” while a montage of his movie clips scrolled on the big screen.
As he strummed his guitar, the man who has made a career out of punching old people and talking like he has half a tongue wowed the room with the lines, “Nobody does it quite the way I do/ Why’d I have to be so good? … Sandman you’re the best!”
Sandler might play knuckleheads in virtually every movie he’s ever made, but he proved he’s no dummy while accepting the honor, dubbing his over-the-top homage to himself “the most arrogant thing I’ve ever done.”
The night’s other musical performers, the Pussycat Dolls, appeared to be taking Sandler’s lead with their new self-loving single , “When I Grow Up,” which had lyrics about wanting to be famous, wanting to be in magazines, on TV and specifically, MTV (thanks for the shout-out) and in movies. “Careful what you wish for because you just might get it,” they sang over an electro beat.
The presenters for the Breakthrough Performance award sounded like the setup for a bad joke: “Lindsay Lohan, Diddy and Verne Troyer walk into a bar …” The award went to Zac Efron for “Hairspray,” and he got a peck on the cheek from Vanessa Hudgens as his thanks to the cast of the movie-turned-musical-turned-musical-movie elicited an “I love you!” from co-star Nikki Blonsky.
Note to filmmakers: A sure way to lock down the Best Kiss award is to have the subjects locking lips in the pouring rain (although Tila Tequila begged to differ). Just ask “Step Up 2: The Streets” co-stars Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman, who laid a big, big sloppy one on each other in celebration of their win.
In the end, it was Downey who reminded everyone just who the real “Iron Man” is. After Jack Black and Ben Stiller, his co-stars in “Tropic Thunder,” introduced the Best Movie award, Downey strutted cockily to the podium and even signed Black’s chest with a marker. Stiller and Downey got into it again, arguing about whose career is hotter, stopping only long enough to present the Best Movie award to “Transformers.”
The good news is that director Michael Bay revealed that the sequel begins filming on Monday and, star Megan Fox promised, “the second one’s going to be f—ing badass!”
The bad news is that Downey used a permanent marker, and Black will have to go through life with an “Iron Man” sketch on his chest.
It’s a wrap! Now that you’ve watched the MTV Movie Awards, find winners, red-carpet photos, videos, movie exclusives and much more at MovieAwards.MTV.com. And check out Movies.MTV.com for the latest movie news, trailers, photos and more!