If you're the tuxedo-and-tie kind of movie fan, then the Oscars are for you. If you prefer a more laid-back evening of back-patting, then perhaps you're more into the Golden Globes. But, this time of year, if you're a true populist, there's only one awards show to turn to: the People's Choice Awards.
On Wednesday night (January 6), the biggest stars in movies, TV and music come together for one big, unpredictable, random party to celebrate each other and the fans who voted for them. We'll be there to bring you all the breaking news, natch — but to help get you in the mood, take a look at some of the potential story lines we'll be monitoring:
Old School or New School?
Categories like Favorite Movie Actor and Favorite Movie Actress have the names of classic stars who have been thrilling us for several decades (Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Drew Barrymore) squaring off against relative newbies (Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Pattinson). Is the RPattz phenomenon big enough to take down Depp? Will Twilighters get Kristen Stewart some of the recognition that critic-driven telecasts have overlooked? Or will someone like Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock remind the kids that they've still got a long way to go?
If only because of their shared first name, it's hard to imagine a recent celebrity couple more adorable than Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift. Now, just a few weeks after their breakup, the two find themselves RSVP'd to the same event. Will Taylor and Taylor make evasive maneuvers or flaunt a continued friendship or something in-between? If both set their feet on the red carpet at the same time, you can bet all eyes will be on them.
Spinning the Strongest Web
Forget about bank-account digits and rankings on magazine power lists. These days, the most prestigious numbers for a celebrity are how many followers they have online. In a category you definitely won't find at the Oscars, Favorite Web Celeb pits viral-clip king Andy Samberg vs. "Funny or Die" founder Will Ferrell and Twitter powerhouses Ashton Kutcher and Diddy. For good measure, also included in the competition is Miley Cyrus, whose dominance of all things social media came to a screeching halt recently when she surprised fans by deciding to unplug from Twitter.
Adam Lambert lost to Kris Allen in May on "American Idol." Since then, some think Lambert's career has been soaring higher, proving that he should have finished first. Now, could the guyliner-wearing rocker get a second opinion? In the Favorite Breakout Music Artist category, Lambert and Allen will square off, alongside such potential spoilers as Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga. The ultimate "Idol" opinion, however, could be expressed by another alumnus from a Simon Cowell-fueled talent contest: Susan Boyle. Will the people prefer their Cinderella story from the U.K. or the U.S.?
The past year has had a lot of problems, from H1N1 to the economy, but how did people choose to escape? We'll learn the answer soon as Favorite Movie awards one of the night's most desirable prizes to either a youth-empowering fantasy ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"), a romance ("The Proposal"), a lighthearted comedy ("The Hangover"), or two vastly different cult-heavy franchises ("Star Trek" and "Twilight"). The people are speaking, and the message seems to be loud and clear: Give us vampires, Vulcans, boy wizards or Mike Tyson cameos, but get us out of here!
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