×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Inside the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards With Dwayne Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish

As Hollywood gathered at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., on Saturday night for the MTV Movie & TV Awards to celebrate the night’s honorees — including Trailblazer Award winner Jada Pinkett Smith and Generation Award honoree Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — calls for empowerment and inclusion within the entertainment industry and beyond took center stage.

“When I first got to Hollywood, [they] didn’t know what the hell to do with me: half black, half Samoan,” Johnson said. “I was told at that time, ‘You gotta be a certain way. You gotta drop some weight, you gotta be something different, you gotta stop working out, stop doing the things you love, stop calling yourself ‘The Rock!’”

“So I made a choice. I wasn’t gonna conform to Hollywood; Hollywood was gonna conform to me,” he continued. “This is what I am. I’m proudly half black [and] half Samoan and wanted to bring those cultures out here for the world to see. There’s another side to being your most authentic, most true self, and that’s the side where the magic is on. That’s gold. You gotta recognize the joy and the responsibility of bringing everybody with you. And when you do that, by being kind, being compassionate, inclusive, and straight up just being good to people, that’s what matters, that’s where the real power is.”

The star of the upcoming “Hobbs and Shaw” wrapped up his speech with one succinct quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

Putting meaning to your message was a running theme throughout the awards. When “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo accepted the award for best kiss, Condor made sure to preach the importance of accepting all genders and sexual orientations: “Kiss who you want to kiss, love who you want to love, be who you want to be!”

Star of “The Kitchen,” Tiffany Haddish, presented Jada Pinkett Smith with the Trailblazer Award, celebrating the actress’ philanthropic work and “Red Table Talk” Facebook Watch series, in which she speaks to a variety of people in the industry about important subjects.

Haddish — who has appeared on an episode — said, “[Pinkett Smith] never stops pushing boundaries. She doesn’t know the meaning of the word no,” before joking, “Which is also why I ask her for money.”

”I love Jada Pinkett Smith with her open communication with children about issues these days with her new show,” “The Haunting of Hill House” star Kate Siegel told Variety on the red carpet. “I think that’s so important to remove the kind of pedestal nature from celebrities so that we can all talk about the same issues that are affecting all of us.”

Pinkett Smith accepted the award alongside her son Jaden Smith, who also hyped up his mom and the crowd before she began speaking, saying she wasn’t sure if she deserved the award quite yet.

“[But] because I was comparing myself to all the trailblazers that I admire I realized, ‘Okay maybe we do have something in common,’” she explained. “Often we applaud the trails people blaze and we forget to applaud the trails that are blazed in the hidden grooves of the mind that are filled with uncertainty, thoughts, beliefs and pain. And its these determinant obstacles must be challenged in order to muster the courage to blaze their own path.”

She went on, “Every last person in this room must do that in some capacity so that means that every single person in this room is trailblazing.”

The show, of course, had lighter moments. Host “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi kicked off the night by featuring “nerdy” high school photos of celebs to remind the audience where all the “fancy and beautiful” stars really began. From the Rock’s meme-able fanny-pack picture and Kumail Nanjiani’s awkward yearbook photo, to Levi’s own theater shot from his high school production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” the comedian’s goodhearted teasing got the audience laughing early. “At the end of the day, everyone in this room are nerdy entertainers,” Levi told the crowd.

And for some guests, the night served as a full-circle moment. While “Schitt’s Creek” star Daniel Levy went to his first MTV Awards show as a host for MTV (he helmed “The Hills” after-show for MTV Canada), Kiernan Shipka said it was “insane and amazing” to be sharing the stage with her former “Mad Men” co-star Moss, who she began working with when she was six years old.

“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” star also talked about how her eponymous character embodies the values celebrated at the awards show. “Just the fact that she’s such a radical little feminist at such a young age,” Shipka told Variety. “And instead of just talking the talk, she actually walks the walk and wants to make changes and is active about them. I think we can all hope for change, but taking action is the most important thing.”

Other highlights throughout the night included a performance from Lizzo who sang her hit song “Juice” and Bazzi who hit the stage with “Paradise.” See below for a full list of this year’s winners:

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Mariah Carey Tracee Ellis Ross

    Mariah Carey, Tracee Ellis Ross Celebrate Biracial Heritage at “Mixed-ish” Premiere

    Mariah Carey and Tracee Ellis Ross embraced their “ish” at Tuesday night’s series premiere event for ABC’s “Mixed-ish” by reflecting on how their biracial identity makes working on the new show even more personal. “I’m just so thankful that this show exists,” Carey told the assembled crowd during a Q&A with series creator Kenya Barris. [...]

  • #WorldIsInOurHands Campaign

    Rainn Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Joaquin Phoenix And More Join #WorldIsInOurHands Campaign

    At the 44th annual Toronto Film Festival last week, in addition to attending red-carpet premieres and promoting films, some stars also joined in the fight to tackle the climate crisis. Antonio Banderas, Susan Sarandon, Joaquin Phoenix, Rainn Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Neve Campbell and Alfre Woodard are among the bold-faced names to join forces with the [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Lowell Smokes Cafe Marijuana

    With Cannabis Lounges, On-Site Consumption, Marijuana-Infused Meals Go Legit

    Can this century’s Roaring ’20s repeat history but with pre-rolled joints instead of whiskey flasks and soccer moms as the new flappers? This month, West Hollywood will see the opening of the nation’s first at least quasi-legal cannabis consumption lounge, officially dubbed Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café, located at 1211 N. La Brea between Fountain [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content