When you think of a prestigious, sought after award in the movie industry, a golden tub of popcorn doesn’t immediately “pop” into your head. But maybe it should.
On Sunday, April 10, 2016, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart hosted the 25th annual MTV Movie Awards. Big winners of the night included Star Wars: The Force Awakens (three wins), Pitch Perfect 2 and Deadpool (two wins each).
But, the real winner of the night was MTV itself, for putting on an awards show that sets an example for what award shows should be.
Awards season is always an exciting time, where non-sports fans get the chance to fill out ballots and see if they can predict all the winners of “the big game.” In recent years, though, awards season has gotten more and more controversial. Racial and gender equality have become hot button topics in Hollywood, resulting in social media trends, the most popular of which being the hashtag OscarsSoWhite.
In contrast to other award shows, the MTV Movie Award nominations were essentially colorblind. People of color were nominated in nearly every category. Will Smith took home the MTV Generation Award, given to recipients based on great achievement in movies. The distinction “is given to an artist who has shown us a variety of impressive roles, a personal and professional flair and of course, an awesome level of talent.”
Along with breaking the color barrier in nominations, MTV broke the gender barrier as well. While there are still best male/female categories, this is the only separation of genders. Audiences saw Kevin Hart and Amy Schumer in the same category for Best Comedic Performance and Daisy Ridley and John Boyega in the same category for Best Breakthrough Performance. The stars were judged on an equal playing field for their performances.
And just who were the judges, you might ask? While most awards show nominees and winners are selected by a committee of organization members, the MTV Movie Awards run a bit differently. Only the nominations are selected by MTV executives. The winners are selected by the fans, who vote for them online.
As such, audiences feel more included and the show feels more authentic. When viewers don’t see their favorite nominee win, it doesn’t feel as much like a political Hollywood decision.
Perhaps the most seldom acknowledged and under-appreciated aspect of the MTV Movie Awards is their length. There are just 14 categories. In comparison, there are 24 categories at the Oscars. The SAG Awards come close to matching MTV, with 15 awards in their organization.
MTV’s production won’t take up the entirety of your night. The show runs two hours, plus any red carpet coverage. Viewers can get to sleep at a decent hour after seeing their favorites take home the golden popcorn of glory.
At the end of the day, we as an audience enjoy recognizing our best-loved stars for their performances. We’re going to watch the awards shows.
This awards season, MTV lead by example. Now, it’s up to future showrunners to follow suit.