The Oscars vs. the MTV Movie Awards: Which Show Has the Better Nominees?


This week's MTV Movie Awards will once again convene to crown the year's best kiss (as well as various and sundry other awards). All movie awards exist in the shadow of the Oscars, of course, so it's only natural to line up the MTV Movie Awards side-by-side with the Oscars to see how they stack up. Objectively-speaking, of course.

The slight problem with this iron-clad method of evaluation is that there aren't very many categories that stack up. Best Sound Effects Editing does not naturally have too many angles to compare to Best WTF Moment (though both categories feature "Skyfall" and "Django Unchained"). But we do our best with what we have.


What They Have in Common: Both the Academy and MTV saw fit to nominate Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (QT's third career Best Movie nomination, after "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill, Vol. 2") and David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." Which makes sense. Of all the Oscar-nominated films, these were the two "coolest" ones, and the ones with the most plausible youth appeal. They're also how to get Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, and Leonardo DiCaprio to show up.

In The Academy's Corner: After five months of Oscar coverage, I should hope we all remember that the other seven nominated films were "Argo," Lincoln," "Life of Pi," "Les Miserables," "Zero Dark Thrity," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and "Amour." Among them, you could probably envision scenarios where, say, "Les Mis" was nominated because it's full of movie stars and pretty faces; or "Zero Dark Thirty" was nominated so we could all pretend that MTV's demographic has a social conscience; or "Beasts of the Southern Wild" was nominated so we could all pretend that MTV's demographic cares about the future of filmmaking.

In MTV's Corner: "The Avengers"; "The Dark Knight Rises"; "Ted." You can see what MTV is going for here. Popular movies, obviously, as that's their mandate. But also movies made by some of the more dynamic forces in Hollywood today: Christopher Nolan, Joss Whedon, and yes, even Seth MacFarlane. Would it have been cooler and more interesting to have seen a "Cabin in the Woods" show up, for example? Sure, but they already has Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth with the "Avengers" nomination, and it's all about stars, isn't it?

Winner: The Oscars. Sorry, MTV, but that's what you get when you nominate "Ted."


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What They Have in Common: The MTV Movie Awards only have one category for Best Make Performance, but between Best Hero, Best Vaillain, Best Shirtless Performance, and Best Scared As Sh*t Performance, there are quite a few opportunities to honor both lead and supporting performances of all stripes. Still, the only male performances that both the Academy and MTV agreed on this year were Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook" and Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln." Because even if a group of chipmunks were gathering to nominate Best Chipmunk Performance, Daniel Day-Lewis would somehow end up on that ballot too.

In the Academy's Corner: So, okay, MTV managed to nominate the two best performances in the Best Actor Oscar field. Still, there are many people out there who very much liked "The Master," and if you are one of those people, A) Congratulations! You must feel very good about yourself! and B) You must probably prefer the Academy's nominations of Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman to, say, Channing Tatum in "Magic Mike."

In MTV's Corner: Some of us think that Channing Tatum in "Magic Mike" was more worthy of a nomination than Joaquin Phoenix, and you're all welcome to think whatever you like about that. Other worthy performances that MTV rewarded but the Academy foolishly ignored? Jamie Foxx in "Django Unchained" (Best Male Performance), Ezra Miller in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (Breakthrough Performance), Javier Bardem in "Skyfall" (Best Villain), and Tom Hiddleston and Mark Ruffalo in "The Avengers" (Best Villain and Best Hero, respectively).

Winner: MTV. I will gladly throw Denzel Washington and Alan Arkin overboard in exchange for Tatum, Miller, and Hiddleston.



What They Have in Common: Both Oscar-winning actresses Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") and Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables") were also nominated by MTV for Best Female Performance. Fellow Oscar nominees Quvenzhane Wallis and Jessica Chastain also got MTV Movie Award nominations for their "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Zero Dark Thirty" work, albeit in the categories of Breakthrough Performance and Best Scared As Sh*t Performance, respectively.

In the Academy's Corner: Here's where it starts to look bad for MTV. Rebel Wilson is good in "Pitch Perfect."  Mila Kunis is not the worst thing in "Ted." We can all understand why MTV nominated them (Kunis is basically everybody's vision of a cool hot girl; Wilson is the fresh new comedy thing, as well as this year's host), but stacked up against Emmanuelle Riva and Naomi Watts and Amy Adams, it all starts to look a bit silly.

In MTV's Corner: I probably wouldn't have cast a vote for Emma Watson in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," but I'm glad to see her nominated, and honestly, it's kind of a shame that MTV didn't go for "Perks" in more categories. Also, while "Best Latino Actor" seems like an awfully dubious sub-category, it makes the MTV Movie Awards the only major awards body to properly recognize Salma Hayek's brilliant work in "Savages," which means it's earned all my forgiveness.

Winner: The Oscars. Honestly, would it have been that hard to nominate Emmanuelle Riva, MTV? Think of the possibilities, pairing her and Macklemore to present Best WTF Moment? (Which, while we're on the subject: where was the "Amour" pigeon when it came to THAT category?)



What They Have in Common: Nothing, because the Academy has been frustratingly rigid with this category for years now.

In the Academy's Corner: "Skyfall," which is a pretty great song to have in your corner. Unfortunately, there's nothing else in the category that comes close.

In MTV's Corner: The flexibility to ignore all originality requirements and recognize superior dance moments ("It's Raining Men" from "Magic Mike"; the dance competition from "Silver Linings Playbook") and musical performances (the riff-off version of "No Diggity" from "Pitch Perfect").

Winner: MTV. Any category that actually manages to include the most talked about musical moment of the year -- Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" -- is always going to be more relevant.