MTV Awards: cocktail of film, fun

Diaz, Reeves, Lucas find importance, target auds in show

At the loud, raucous party after Saturday’s MTV Movie Awards, president Judy McGrath described the kudocast as “an affectionate alternative to reverential awards shows.” Chairman Tom Freston said the kudos “are not about the metaphysical parts of the film industry. This is about the fun of movies.”

Fun, but important enough fun for the likes of George Lucas, Nicolas Cage, Mel Gibson, Keanu Reeves, Janet Jackson, Adam Sandler and Cameron Diaz to participate in the Sony lot taping.

A key reason for their presence, in the words of producer Joel Silver (whose “The Matrix” won best movie), is that MTV serves as “a direct hypodermic into our target audience.”

Ireverence in mix

It’s this potent cocktail of light fun, demographic importance and irreverence that gives the show an edge that, say, the Daytime Emmys will never have.

It’s light fun to present a best villain award, but there’s an edge to the moment when presenter Mark Wahlberg cuts short reading the nominees list to say: “Let’s just give it to Charlton Heston for being head of the NRA.” (Mike Myers was the actual winner for “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”)

Or when Sarah Michelle Gellar, who along with Selma Blair won best kiss for their prolonged lesbian lip-lock in “Cruel Intentions,” began by saying “My mother’s going to be so proud of this,” and ended by thanking director Roger Kumble and producer Neal Moritz “for being the sick perverts they are.” (Mortiz’ backstage comment was: “That’s right — and proud of it.”)

Certainly the Oscars haven’t seen a moment like the one when Matt Stone (who, with Trey Parker, won best musical performance for “Uncle F**ka” in “South Park”) used his acceptance speech “to thank the MTV viewers for not even nominating Phil Collins.”

‘Matrix’ plus ‘Sex’

High points from the non-awards part of the show included performances by D’Angelo, ‘N Sync and Metallica, plus the clever opening video where host Sarah Jessica Parker and “SNL’s” Jimmy Fallon (as Keanu Reeves) were thrown into a world that mixed “The Matrix” with “Sex & the City”; and Ben Stiller did a dead-on impression as Tom Cruise’s reality-challenged stunt double in a video that featured both the “MI:2” star and director John Woo.

The “South Park” creators contributed a funny segment in which characters from “Gladiator” and “Battlefield Earth” fight it out at the Coliseum. And the In Memoriam interlude to recently deceased stars paid homage to cinematic animals: the canine Hooch, from “Turner & Hooch,” succumbing to physician-assisted suicide; Bobo, the gorilla in “Congo,” dying in a hang-gliding accident; and Damon, the ground hog in “Caddy Shack,” being killed by a lawn dart.

The video in which the question “Who writes this awards show patter?” was answered, with a parody of Bruce Vilanch at work (played by David Cross), was too industry-inside and fell flat. Don’t bet on this making it into Thursday’s 9 p.m. broadcast.

Following is a complete list of winners:

Best Movie: The Matrix”

Best Male Performance: Keanu Reeves, “The Matrix”

Best Female Performance: Sarah Michelle Gellar, “Cruel Intentions”

Breakthrough Performance — Male: Haley Joel Osment, “The Sixth Sense”

Breakthrough Performance — Female: Julia Stiles, “10 Things I Hate About You”

Best Villain: Mike Myers, “Austin Powers: he Spy Who Shagged Me”

Best Musical Performance: “Uncle F**ka,” Matt Stone and Trey Parker in “South Park”

Best Comedic Performance: Adam Sandler, “Big Daddy”

Best On-Screen Duo: Mike Myers and Verne Troyer, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me”

Best Kiss: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair , “Cruel Intentions”

Best Action Sequence: “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace,” The Pod Race; George Lucas, director

Best Fight: Keanu Reeves vs. Laurence Fishburne, “The Matrix”

Best New Filmmaker: Spike Jonze, “Being John Malkovich”