Cue the leather pants and wake up Kurt Loder: This Thursday, host Sarah Jessica Parker and a phalanx of hipster celebrities will disseminate the hallowed popcorn statues at the ninth annual MTV Movie Awards. This irreverently punchy pageant doesn’t have the Oscars’ prestige or refined taste. But with that ceremony getting longer and drier by the year, MTV has become the most entertaining trophy toss on Hollywood’s self-congratulation circuit, so we decided it warranted its own watcher’s guide.
It’s a tight race in 2000: With omni-winner Jim Carrey (who has an unchallenged record of eight awards) scoring only one nomination, the night’s true battles will be between two-time victor Keanu Reeves for ”The Matrix” and three-peater Mike Myers for ”Austin Powers.” A tough contest to call, but with our finger on the pulse of the Kid Rock-cheering, Sisqó-hooting, MTV-viewer voting contingent, here are EW’s predictions for this year’s winners.
With raunch, gross-out gags and enthusiastic nudity, ”American Pie” seemed like it had all the ingredients to be the MTV Generation’s ”Citizen Kane.” Unfortunately, it also came in the same year as ”The Matrix”: Sure, Oscars mean nothing in this contest (sorry, ”Beauty,” your winning streak ends here), but ”Matrix”’s Visual Effects and Sound Academy Awards officially certified that it looked AND sounded awesome, in addition to just BEING awesome.
BEST MALE PERFORMANCE
Octuple-winner Carrey would have been better off doing a Dice Clay biopic, and if Willis wants to be rewarded for an understated performance, he’s playing to the wrong crowd. The young upstart Phillippe may have a strong ”Isn’t he HOT?” support group, but it’s not big enough to overtake longtime faves Reeves and Sandler. Ultimately, for pure cool cred, Reeves’ bullet time will edge out Sandler’s public-pee time, although the comic whiz will be victorious elsewhere (see below).
BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE
A close race, as all five actresses’ films loogied in the face of critical derision to become hits. But with the memory of ”Bride” erased by ”Brockovich,” Campbell having already won an MTV award for the better-received ”Scream 2,” and Barrymore’s klutzy character lacking the glamour of a Best Female (makeover be damned), the final showdown will come down to ”beauty of the moment” Judd versus Gellar. It would take more than Judd’s wet T-shirt scene to make an MTV-er turn against Buffy.
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE
In a category where subtlety is not an option, even Biggs’ pie poking isn’t broad enough to take the prize. It comes down to a battle between the ”SNL” juggernauts who know from belly laughs: Sandler and Myers. Myers’ ha-ha-hat trick of roles deserves the prize for sheer volume, but with the man of many waist sizes likely to win other categories, viewers will want to make Sandler the ”Big” man here.
BEST ON-SCREEN DUO
Voters won’t want to reward the Sprouse twins, wary of creating a new Olsen franchise, while the Willis/ Osment and Reeves/ Fishburne team-ups lack the sense of humor displayed by past winners like ”Rush Hour”’s Chan and Tucker and ”The Rock”’s Cage and Connery. Hanks and Allen had the requisite repartee, but few will want to spend 65 cents to phone in a G-rated vote. This year it’s Mini-Me’s world; we just live three feet above it.
Walken and Park had the choppers, but not the chops, to be hall-of-fame badasses, and since past evil champs (such as ”Seven”’s Kevin Spacey and ”Speed”’s Dennis Hopper) have been all mean, all the time, the empathetic Damon is out. Gellar’s haughty manipulator would have fit perfectly in a ”Real World” house, but she’ll be evicted from this category for a repeat by 1998’s winner, Myers, who with his addictive catchphrases may win by one ”meeeellion” votes.
BREAKTHROUGH MALE PERFORMANCE
Sure, voting for Biggs provides the opportunity for a Butt-head-like ”Heh-heh… he ‘broke through’ that pie” joke, but the ultimate victor is historically made of sexier stuff. (Alumni are Clooney and McConaughey.) This eliminates the not-yet-buff Osment and the too-weepy Duncan. It comes down to Bentley, who has the makings of an MTV idol, and Foxx, with his already-established young fan base. Given the grosses of their respective movies (”Beauty,” $129.7 million, versus ”Sunday”’s $75.5 million), the popcorn should go to Bentley.
BREAKTHROUGH FEMALE PERFORMANCE
The ebulliently naked Elizabeth may tie up the pubescent vote from those males still madly frame-advancing their racier ”Pie” DVDs, but it won’t be enough to challenge the final battle between flash (Moss) and class (Swank). While many more voters saw ”Matrix” than ”Boys,” too many people link ”Matrix” solely with Reeves. Swank’s fabled teen-star redemption (made official by her Oscar) may earn more allegiance from those aspiring adults who look forward to the days when they too can leave their ”90210”-ish days behind.
BEST MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
”Powers” singing a Will Smith tune seems an unbeatable combination, but even that’s no match for the merry mix of ”South Park.” A victory for ”Uncle F—a.”
Same-sex kisses have fared surprisingly poorly in MTV Awards past (losers include ”Wild Things”’ Richards/ Campbell/ Dillon group grope). But with a weak hetero roster (Suvari and Spacey’s ”Beauty” mash was axed when DreamWorks refused to release footage, maintaining the pedophilic makeout session wasn’t meant to be encouraged), this could be the year of the sapphic smooch, with ”Cruel” beating ”Boys.” Once again, the Buffy factor rules: If there’s anything hotter than the Slayer kissing another woman, science hasn’t invented it yet.
BEST ACTION SEQUENCE
People pick action scenes by choosing what they’d like to see themselves in. So would they rather be a blubbering lost camper, a 9-year-old pilot prone to saying ”Whee!”, or an Indiana Jones knockoff fleeing from sand? Puh-leeze. But a leather-clad, unflinching techno-god with a machine gun? Whoa, indeed.
This award always goes to a quirky brawl (like Stiller versus the hopped-up pooch in ”There’s Something About Mary” last year), and lightsabers are too been-there, swung-that. But few saw Norton’s ”pas de un,” and while the floating kick-ballet of ”Matrix” is nearly a TKO, nothing — nothing — trumps a crotch-biting dwarf.