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WORST: What the Franco?
While it was momentarily novel that James Franco — arguably the worst awards-show host in the history of awards shows — might give Rebel Wilson a tutorial on the ways of the emcee, what was with all the fat jokes? Wilson's entire opening package (from the Franco video to the Pitch Perfect reunion) was fairly cheap humor. While Wilson gets legitimate points that her opener wasn't as all-over-the-place, overlong, and ass-covering as Seth MacFarlane's Oscars monologue, we also were expecting more (a lot more) from her than we were from MacFarlane. Fair? Maybe not. Disappointing. Alas, yes.
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BEST: Samuel L. Jackson Puts the F in WTF Award
We can always count on the man who got an entire movie made purely on the strength of his badassery to get the crowd amped. Jackson was a big winner last night, also stepping up to the podium for the Best Fight award with his Avengers. It's only natural, considering he's in more movies than, oh...I don't know...the sun. But his own particular brand of cool yet caffeinated awesomeness (while sharing the WTF Award with Jamie Foxx) was a much-needed jolt after a so-so monologue.
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WORST: Pretty Much Everything That Came Out of Rebel Wilson's Mouth (or Dress)
We chronicled the host's most obscene and outrageous lines in PopWatch. We suspect they were meant to be subversive. They mostly came off as squeam-inducing. While the notion of using pictures of Channing Tatum's backside to psych oneself up for a high-pressure event was pretty brilliant, when one of your hosting highlights is a bit that's only slightly less offensive than calling a 9-year-old a c--t, you're fighting a losing battle. That said...
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BEST: Making the Cut
Okay, not everything out of Wilson's mouth was cringe-inducing. In one of the few bits of the night that really worked, Wilson was able to capitalize on her greatest skill — purposefully chewing the scenery. The pre-taped video package showed 2012 movies for which she'd supposedly filmed scenes but that had ultimately cut her role. Have you ever imagined how dramatically a leave-it-all-on-the-floor comedian like Wilson would change the tone of Les Misérables, Life of Pi, or Magic Mike? Now you don't have to.
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BEST: Jonah Hill's Fifty Shades of Emma Watson
Emma Watson's Trailblazer Award, while mostly a contrived affair, proved surprisingly sweet as co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Logan Lerman offered genuine anecdotes of admiration for the Harry Potter actress. Then came a video segment from Jonah Hill, Watson's This Is the End co-star. Playing on a refreshingly tart tweet from Watson, Hill made a very important ''announcement'': The two are going to headline the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. ''Emma, it's going to be so difficult to go back to being casual when we start going so deep into these characters and start exploring them in such a...detailed way,'' he said, then added, ''I just want you to know one thing: My safety word's tangerine.'' Trust: It's worth rewatching.
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WORST: The Kiss Off
I admit it: I have drunk the Kool-Aid. The Best Kiss category is just not the same without Edward and Bella. The Twilight Saga was essentially shut out at this year's Movie Awards — except for a newly minted, obviously placating category that we'll get to later — and their absence was felt most sharply when Best Kiss was awarded to Bradley Cooper and (an absent) Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Lining Playbook. To be absolutely clear, Robsten was never, nor will ever be, on the same level as McGosling when it comes to Best Kiss, but I can't even be bothered to factor in Bradifer (Jenley? Coopence? Lawrer?). Robbing Robsten of a Best Kiss five-peat? Big mistake, MTV. Huge.
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BEST: Solid ''Hold''
The ''Thrift Shop'' collaborators' performance of ''Can't Hold Us'' amped up the crowd — even Django Unchained star/presenter Kerry Washington, who appeared to have attended the Angelina Jolie School of Ennuied Award-Show Attendees — during a potential lull in the night. (Special props to Macklemore's flamboyant satin cape situation and his bad-ass, cheerleader-worthy crowd-surfing.) Though this particular ceremony was created to celebrate movies, it never hurts to remember what MTV used to be about before the Twi-vasion.
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BEST: Triumph of the Will
Not only did Will Ferrell's Comedic Genius Award offer up an Elf reunion with Peter Dinklage, who presented the statuette, it also put Ferrell's gonzo dolla balla style and his off-the-wall tribute to his ''wife'' Pam and four children — none of whom appeared to be even remotely ethnically related to Ferrell — quite literally front and center stage. Jim Carrey would approve of this acceptance speech that was more than bonkers enough to whet our appetite for Anchorman 2 — and that's without Aubrey Plaza's ill-timed stage rush.
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WORST: Too! Much! Pubic hair!
Do I really need to explain this one?
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MIXED BAG: Taylor, Be Swift
As an admitted blood-red Kool-Aid drinker, I appreciated that Twilight did not go gentle into this good(ish) night. They were going to win one more golden popcorn if MTV had to make up a category, damn it. And so Taylor Lautner reigned victorious in the first-ever Best Shirtless Performance competition. Well, MTV and Twilight, you had me at ''Shirtless.'' You lost me at ''Taylor Lautner tries to be funny.'' Upon hearing his name announced, the least talented of the Saga's headliners strode to the stage with a padded tummy, a giant soda, and a pocketful o' red vines. For anyone still harboring illusions that Channing Tatum ever had a snowball's chance in Hell of winning this award, I present that belly. Lautner had props, I tell you. Props! (Also, canned Lena Dunham shout-outs.) Worst of all, in the course of his two-and-a-half-minute speech — during which he deemed the award ''the shirtless Oscar'' — he never once took off his damn shirt.
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WORST: Why So Serious?
Whether it was The Avengers' Tom Hiddleston talking about the ''cosmic dance of spinning plates and superheroes '' in his Best Villain acceptance speech or Best Male Performance winner Bradley Cooper soapboxing about the trials of the mentally ill (truly, a valid and valiant platform), various attempts to spread a serious message or wax poetic in between d--k jokes seemed more than a little out-of-place. Pro tip: Know your audience!
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WORST: Flat Iron
For anyone but the most diehard fanboy (or -girl), MTV's exclusive Iron Man 3 clip was a pretty big letdown. Sure, there were plenty of bullets, and even more sliding, but nothing really happened in the end. It was a 1940s serial trying to pass itself off as a 20-teens insider reel. As with Rebel Wilson, we expected more from Tony Stark.
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BEST: Whetting Our Appetites for Hunger
Hunger Games! Hunger Games! Hunger Games! The first official trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiered last night, and Nov. 22 can't come soon enough. It had wacky Effie Trinket fashions, Katniss ascending to her role as folk insurgent icon, and a hint of shirtless Gale. What it didn't have? Finnick or even a glimpse of the kick-ass arena (no spoilers!) for the 75th annual Hunger Games. We can wait, though. This thrilling, chilling spot shows there are more than enough things to satisfy us — and that's just counting the Victory Tour!
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HONORABLE MENTION: ''Say hi to your mother(f----r) for me''
In a pre-show video package, hilarious MTV personality Josh Horowitz (he of the ''I forced Ryan Gosling to read his 'Hey girl' Tumblr aloud'' fame) was one of three people Catfish-ed by Mark Wahlberg — the other two were Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick and Magic Mike beefcake Joe Manganiello. (Horowitz and Manganiello thought they were meeting Wilson, Kendrick was intent on face time with Channing Tatum.) What sold the bit, though, was the stream of F-bombs Wahlberg dropped. Far more than anything we saw in The Departed. As is evident from his juiced-up role in the forthcoming Pain & Gain, Wahlberg is a man who commits. And when that commitment involves a streak of blue language that could stretch across these great United States, we're happy.