LOS ANGELES — "The Matrix" got skewered and Cameron Diaz got spanked, but the best moments of the 2003 MTV Movie Awards might belong to three figures who weren't actually there: Yoda, Gollum and Eminem.
With pop titans like P. Diddy and Justin Timberlake rubbing shoulders with such Hollywood heavyweights as Harrison Ford, George Lucas and Keanu Reeves, the show delivered its usual mix of laughs, music and — oh yeah — awards. Sure, the ceremony — taped Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium — doled out honors to films that aren't usually considered Oscar bait ("Spider-Man," "Austin Powers in Goldmember" and "Jackass: The Movie" were among this year's top nominees). But the show is usually best remembered for the clash of pop-culture personalities it delivers. Socialite divas the Hilton Sisters rubbed elbows with Johnny Knoxville, TV's "Bachelor" Andrew Firestone bumped into Ludacris, and pocket-size Hilary Duff was dwarfed by Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman.
"This is sooo crazy," "Jackass" star and Best On-Screen Team nominee Bam Margera said on the red carpet. "We've been doing this for years, and now we're nominated. I thought you had to be Ryan Phillippe to be nominated. I'm just some dude from Philly who skates."
"I've been doing Pilates all day with Pink to get ready," "Saturday Night Live" alum Chris Kattan joked.
The show also upheld its rich and storied tradition of pre-taped film spoofs and oddball onstage moments. Hosts Timberlake and Seann William Scott found their groove early, with Timberlake as the deft straight man to Scott's horn-dog goofball as the two clowned their way through an opening "Matrix Reloaded" send-up. "It really sucked, carrying Seann on my back," Timberlake joked after the show. "Just kidding ... Seann's a complete professional. I had a blast."
Meanwhile, the year's annual industry send-up came courtesy of the cast of "Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle," who introduced the world to the man responsible for coordinating one of the film's key assets (played by a downright obscenely mustachioed Vince Vaughn) in the night's other big laugh-inducing bit of tape.
However, some of the night's loudest yuks may have come courtesy of Yoda, who proved that in addition to mastering the ways of the Jedi, he's also quite adept at deadpan delivery. The diminutive green icon spent his time at the podium giving shout-outs and silencing the orchestra that dared to cut short his time. Not to be outdone, Yoda's digital colleague Gollum of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" chewed up a significant chunk of airtime himself, spitting out an obscenity-laced tirade in which he ran down his co-stars, his crew, MTV and its viewers. "It was outrageous and appalling," the digital creation's co-star, Sean Astin, said after the show. "I was shocked. I warned people about him."
Undoubtedly the same has been said at least a few times about Eminem, who did not disappoint on this occasion either. During his two videotaped segments, Em managed to squeeze in a swipe at Mariah Carey's "Glitter" and an odd, lengthy salute to Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers."
While Em wasn't in the house to support his pal 50 Cent, the Queens MC hardly seemed to need it as he served up a medley of "In Da Club" and "Wanksta" during the night's most eagerly awaited performance. 50's fellow performers called in reinforcements in trying to match rap's reigning king: Pink was flanked by dancers, her band, cars and a handful of surfboards while offering up "Feel Good Time"; and T.A.T.U. were joined onstage by an army of look-alikes during their medley of "All The Things She Said" and "Not Gonna Get Us."
No award show would be complete without a healthy dose of shameless self-promotion. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence plopped the words "bad," "boys" and "too" into their banter to plug their upcoming "Bad Boys II," while Tyrese took the more direct approach of wearing a "2 Fast 2 Furious" T-shirt to the podium. However, plug-of-the-night honors probably go to Diddy, who paused just before announcing one of the night's winners to remind viewers that his Bad Boy Records will soon be releasing the "Bad Boys II" soundtrack.
Perhaps the only thing more important than what you were selling was what you were wearing. A few in attendance opted for true glamour, with Jessica Simpson sporting a misted green floor-length gown. Kelly Osbourne took a somewhat similar path, going for "glamorous" instead of simply "glam," with a blonde coif and black satin gown. Others went the non-traditional route, like Ludacris, who worked the red carpet in a powder-blue, gator-skin jacket with matching sneakers and a studded platinum skull pendant. Korn bassist Fieldy worked in some prime product placement in what looked like Pony pajamas. But leave it to "Jackass" Margera to throw the whole notion of red-carpet high fashion out the window. Bam worked the crowd in a tattered gray long-sleeve T-shirt, tattered black pants, and a black knit cap (a step up from his co-star Steve-O, who spent most of his red carpet time shirtless).
But the red carpet stir of the night had to come courtesy of fast friends Ashton Kutcher and P. Diddy, doing their best to evoke memories of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin's Vegas Rat Pack heyday in their swankiest suits (not a stretch for Diddy, but certainly a new look for Kutcher).