Forget about winners Drake, Kendrick Lamar or even lifetime achievement honoree Charlie Wilson — the real winners at Sunday night’s BET Awards were Fox Searchlight, the Weinstein Co. and Universal Pictures. Those distribs got some of the most attention at the Nokia Theater kudocast, where producers seemed more occupied with movie promos than awards.
Angela Bassett screened an exclusive trailer for November’s “Black Nativity,” while exec producer Forest Whitaker and Michael B. Jordan showed one for this month’s “Fruitvale Station.” “The Best Man Holiday” and “Imagine a Future: My Black Is Beautiful” also stole some screen time for plugs.
Amid countless name drops of new TV skeins, ensemble films and even the odd standup concert film, presenters managed to dole out a few honors. Some of the night’s biggest winners: Lamar, who won for new artist and male hip-hop Artist; Gabrielle Douglas, who snagged the Youngstars Award and the Subway Sportswoman; and Drake, who won the Coca-Cola Viewers Choice Award and video of the year for “Started From the Bottom.”
Lamar and Drake were also among the winners for collaboration, along with A$AP Rocky and 2 Chainz for the foursome’s “Fuckin’ Problems.” Drake’s victories were hardly a surprise — he was on the bill a total of nine times across the collaboration and musicvideo categories.
Some of the night’s most buzzworthy perfs included an R. Kelly revue and a Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj duet to kick off the festivities. For the finale, Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu brought the house down with a staged recreation of their video for “Q.U.E.E.N.,” complete with Badu’s memorable poodle sidekick.
Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder and India.Arie were all part of a tribute to Wilson, who earned praise for his efforts as frontman of R&B and funk outfit the Gap Band as well as his later work as a solo artist.
“Charlie Wilson is soul music,” Timberlake said in his tribute before later joining Snoop, Pharrell and Wilson himself for a soul medley. “His impact colors the work of many artists, which is basically my nice way of saying I and a lot of other artists have stolen from him.”
And it was lucky number four for Minaj and Chris Brown. The Trinidadian songstress was named female hip-hop artist for the fourth consecutive year, while Brown adds a fourth Fandemonium Award to his collection.
Jamie Foxx may not have won at the B.O. this weekend with “White House Down,” but he did take home a statue from BET. Foxx’s “Django Unchained” co-star Kerry Washington also earned kudos. “Think Like a Man” was named best movie, beating out Oscar-nommed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Django.”
Foxx paid tribute to Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte in his acceptance speech, before bringing it back to the evening’s revelry by proposing to Kevin Hart that they do a movie together.
Chris Tucker made a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance as the night’s emcee, cracking a couple of Obama jokes and another about the hosting net’s limited resources.
“And I’m gonna tell you what’s not gonna happen — it ain’t going to be no jumpin’ in no crowd during performances, Miguel,” the host said. “I saw the Billboard Awards, Miguel! You know BET ain’t got no insurance like that!”
And while Tucker may have teased that he accepted the hosting gig because of his tax debt — “That’s the last time I let Wesley Snipes help me out with my taxes”—we know he was there for the same reasons as everybody else: to shamelessly plug his new standup pic.
Full List of Winners:
Female R&B/Pop Artist
Male R&B/Pop Artist
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Male Hip Hop Artist
Female Hip Hop Artist
Video of the Year
Drake, “Started From The Bottom”
Video Director of the Year
Young Stars Award
“Think Like a Man”
Subway Sportswoman of the Year
Subway Sportsman of the Year
Coca-Cola Viewers Choice Award
Drake, “Started From The Bottom”
Tamar Braxton, “Love and War”
International Act: Africa
Ice Prince (Nigeria)
International Act: UK
Lifetime Achievement Award