Werewolves, vampires and freak aquatic natural disasters brought down the house at the Young Hollywood Awards Aug. 1, which honored zitcom stars and pop sensations like Selena Gomez, Dave Franco, AnnaSophia Robb and Austin Mahone.
While the YHAs have been partying since it was 1999, this was the first time the show was broadcast live on the CW. To honor its fresh primetime slot, producers upped the glitz and glam with performances at the Broad Stage by young heartthrobs like Mahone, Cody Simpson and Miguel and cheeky pop-culture laden bromides from host Aisha Tyler to boot.
“My dad picked my dress tonight,” she said, donning a retro-inspired lemon Alexander McQueen frock and studded pumps. “I thought it was going to be one of those awkward Christmas sweater moments but it’s actually amazing. He actually has fantastic taste.”
Presenting sponsor SodaStream provided cocktails and mocktails before the show — an appropriate choice given that most of the honorees aren’t old enough to hit your average bar. That doesn’t mean they’re in a rush to move up an age bracket, though. In fact, most of the honorees couldn’t quit gushing about the company they keep in this generation of performers.
“Young Hollywood is really dominating right now,” said “Teen Wolf’s” Holland Roden, who took home a statue for Best Ensemble. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously, because we still have a lot to learn. But look at people like Lena Dunham — successful showrunners who are still in their twenties. Look at my costar Dylan O’Brien, he’s kicking ass and taking names.”
Roden wasn’t the only one spreading love to fellow stars just a few steps down the carpet. “Revenge’s” Christa B. Allen called the awards show something of a reunion of longtime pals — she grew up auditioning alongside honoree Lucy Hale and presenter Aimee Teegarden.
But leave it to veteran Tara Reid to drop a reality check on the next generation: “It’s exciting to see all of the new stars and see what they’re going to be like when they’re older. That is, see who lasts and who doesn’t. That’s the game.”
With her days as a teen sensation in the “American Pie” era long behind her, Reid was an honoree at the YHAs for her sleeper megahit, “Sharknado.” Kathy Griffin presented the award to Reid and Ian Ziering, who walked on stage wielding a chainsaw (a reference to a much-tweeted-about moment in the pic).
“The words cinematic masterpiece have been thrown around a little too freely — until tonight,” Griffin said, backed by a swelling orchestral soundtrack. “This year, Americans witnessed a cinematic event that only happens once in a generation.
“Cinematic giants like ‘Citizen Kane,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘The Godfather.’ This film . . . will be remembered as the film that changed the world we live in, and fearlessly asked us the tough questions about how and why we choose to waste our time.”
Reid and Ziering spent less of their time at the mic thanking their respective entourages and more time plugging “Sharknado’s” next moves. The disaster flick phenom will have a limited theatrical release, with 200 special midnight screenings on Friday, and a Gotham-set sequel has been greenlit for next summer.
Unlike other award fetes, where nominees buzz with anxious anticipation before weighty envelopes pop open, the YHAs are a more breezy affair. That’s because honorees are announced well before the festivities are underway.
“You don’t have all of those people who don’t win,” said Derek Hough of “Dancing With the Stars.” “At shows like the Emmys, the people who don’t win have to walk out and deal with that attention. Here, everyone wins. It’s just a celebration.”
Kit Harington, who was dubbed Actor of the Year, however, respectfully disagreed.
“The pressure is really on,” he said. “I’ve never done a speech before, so we’ll have to see how it goes down. I could utterly fail. I’m going for horribly humble and insanely English. I’ve got to play on the accent.”
Sticking to his plan, Harington later apologized to the audience for his bad Hugh Grant impression before thanking Hollywood for welcoming him into the fold.
The Young Hollywood Awards are part of the portfolio of Penske Media Corp., owner of Variety.
A full list of the Young Hollywood Award honorees:
· One to Watch — Anna Camp
· SodaStream UnBottle the World Award — Lauren Conrad
· Fan Favorite — Dave Franco
· Fan Favorite Album & Most Anticipated Tour — Selena Gomez
· Crossover of the Year — Lucy Hale
· Actor of the Year — Kit Harington
· Male Breakthrough Performance — Liam James
· Breakout Artist — Austin Mahone
· Best Male Artist — Miguel
· Style Icon — Kelly Osbourne
· Female Superstar of Tomorrow — AnnaSophia Robb
· Internet Sensation — “Sharknado,” accepted by Tara Reid & Ian Ziering
· Role Model Award — Cody Simpson