UNIVERSAL CITY, California — When you promise to fuel your hosting gig at the MTV Movie Awards with flatulence , where is there, really, to climb from there? Luckily, veteran emcee Russell Brand had plenty of rope, taking the stage for the 2012 edition of the awards dressed like a punk-rock preacher and skewering friends and fellow celebrities on a night when three of the most iconic casts of the generation duked it out for supremacy.
There were some wins for the new kids on the block from “The Hunger Games” and the O.G. “Harry Potter” cast, but the night belonged to the cool kids from “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” who snagged the Best Movie prize.
“Thank you so much you guys,” said a humble Kristen Stewart, surrounded by much of her cast, before telling all those who think she’s elated to be finally stepping away from the iconic role of Bella Swan to just “shut up.”
The serious business couldn’t get under way, though, until Brand had his way.
Dinged in the past for piling on the Jonas Brothers, the tart-tongued English comedian turned the beat around and thanked the newest member of the paparazzi-scuffle fraternity to the fold: “Well done, Justin!” he said of young Bieber, before imagining what jail might be like for the boy wonder. Brand hit the hard stuff early, joking that if you think after recent events , “It’s hypocritical of me to joke about a celebrity beating up a paparazzi, wait till you hear what I have to say about short-lived celebrity marriages .” Ouch.
And then it was time to get to business. It takes some serious screen mojo to beat out Ryan Gosling, Daniel Radcliffe and Channing Tatum, but “Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson battled his way into a win in the Best Male Performance category for the night’s first prize. “Oh my God,” he exclaimed when he got his hands on the hardware. “I’ve wanted to hold a Golden Popcorn since I was, like, 4 years old,” he said.
It looked like it was going to be a “Hunger Games” night, and who better than “Twilight” star Stewart to announce a win for Katniss herself, Jennifer Lawrence, in the Best Female Performance category? “I want to thank Suzanne Collins for creating such an iconic, powerful character in Katniss Everdeen. It’s been an absolute honor to portray her,” an absent Lawrence said.
“Horrible Bosses” star Jennifer Aniston scooped up the Best Onscreen Dirtbag honor for a part of her acting portfolio she said she’s been waiting forever to unleash. The ladies were in the house early, as Shailene Woodley snagged Breakthrough Performance for her totally believable turn as a sullen, frustrated teen in “The Descendants.”
No actor of this generation has brought more twisted, unforgettable characters to life than Johnny Depp. From Captain Jack Sparrow, to Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Hunter S. Thompson and Willy Wonka, Johnny Depp is the reason the MTV Generation Award exists: to honor actors whose fearlessness is matched only by their coolness. He proved it by sitting in on rhythm guitar with the Black Keys for a rumble through “Gold on the Ceiling” and then jokingly comparing the Golden Popcorn honor to a “get out of the business” trophy. “All right, you’ve done too much and clearly based on the clips there’s obviously something wrong with me,” he said, guitar still dangling around his neck.
Another career kudos went to Emma Stone, recipient of the first Trailblazer Award, for her wide comedic and dramatic range in everything from “Superbad” to “Easy A,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “The Help.” Admittedly weepy and armed with the dictionary definition of “trailblazer,” Stone said, “the only thing I can hope that something like this award inspires is originality.”
Harry Potter, the “21 Jump Street” kid gang, the brutal “Warrior” beat-down and the high-flying “Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” all duked it out for Best Fight, but it was Lawrence, Hutcherson and their “Hunger Games” co-star, Alexander Ludwig, who were left standing when the popcorn was handed out.
In a rare break with historic protocol, Best Kiss went to, so weird, an opposite-sex couple. You can’t knock the Romeo and Juliet of dysfunctional vampire love, Stewart and Robert Pattinson, though. RPattz was elsewhere, so Kristen had to fly solo, calling out for her new “Snow White” beau, huntsman Chris Helmsworth, to kindly do the honors. Or at the very least Charlize Theron, Taylor Lautner, or anyone, really. “This really means a lot and thank you guys very much for giving us Best Kiss again,” she said.
You can eat all the pie you want, battle as many mythical creatures as CGI artists can cook up, infiltrate any high school in the country or battle to the death, but if anyone thought they were going to hunt down the ensemble of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ in the Best Cast category, well, chill with the butter beer, will ya? Emma Watson accepted the award for her castmates, giving them all shout-outs, with special ones reserved for her two main men, Radcliffe and Rupert Grint.
There’s a first time for everything and Elizabeth Banks broke the seal on the Best On-Screen Transformation category, for her role as brightly-hued, morally suspect Capitol “Hunger Games” chaperone Effie Trinket.
The night also featured the enshrining of “Project X” into the Instant Cult Classic Movie category, honoring the party-out-of-control flick released earlier this year for ticking off all the degenerate prerequisites to join the likes of “Animal House,” “The Hangover,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “American Pie” and “Get Him to the Greek” in midnight movie heaven.
The festivities opened with a majestic sugar pop sing-along with fun. to their megahit “We Are Young,” which had stars from Elizabeth Banks and Jennifer Aniston to Vanilla Ice and Channing Tatum bopping along.
Jaw-dropping, heart-pounding, gut-busting moments galore. See what just happened at the 21st annual MTV Movie Awards!