The MTV Movie Awards have a history of producing controversial watercooler moments: Sacha Baron Cohen wearing a thong as the character Bruno and getting too close to Eminem for the rapper's comfort; Jim Carrey accepting his award dressed as a hippie-Jim Morrison hybrid; and Sarah Silverman eviscerating Paris Hilton with a cruel monologue. Did Sunday night's Hunger Games- and Twilight-dominated airing of the annual awards show contain any new moments to add to the canon? Here, five talking points from the telecast:
1. The Hunger Games vs. Twilight battle royale was a draw
Everyone knew the show would boil down to a face-off between The Hunger Games and the latest installment of Twilight. Perhaps that's why host Russell Brand randomly shouted "Twilight! Hunger Games!" during his opening monologue. But in the end, "if the battle of the heavyweights was a boxing match, it would've been dubbed a split decision," says Steve Baltin at Rolling Stone. The Hunger Games took home four trophies, including Best Male and Female Performance for stars Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence, while Twilight took home the night's biggest honor, Movie of the Year.
2. Emma Stone stole the show
Brand's opening monologue, packed with lazy jokes about Charlie Sheen and Brand's ex-wife Katy Perry, was simply terrible, says Michael Slezak at TV Line. Luckily, Emma Stone salvaged the proceedings with good humor and charm. She reprised her "loopy-lady shenanigans" from the Oscars, once against playing hilariously overenthusiastic while presenting the Best Breakthrough award. She also won the first-ever Trailblazer award — intended to honor an unconventional role model. Stone gave a sweet acceptance speech encouraging young viewers that "what sets you apart can feel like a burden, but it's not" — before admitting that she sounded "like I live in a van down by the river."
3. Johnny Depp rocked out
Johnny Depp won the Generation award for his legacy in film, but his appearance at the awards show was dominated by music. He was presented the award by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, and then joined rockers the Black Keys for a performance of their singles "Gold on the Ceiling" and "Lonely Boy," playing guitar throughout the set. "It was undoubtedly a very cool moment," says Ray Rahman at Entertainment Weekly.
4. The show was as crowd-pleasing as ever
The Oscars may be good at recognizing artful movies, but they've never been "good at recognizing the value of the entertainment side of moviegoing," says Linda Holmes at NPR. Enter the MTV Movie Awards. The show refreshingly rewards films that are overlooked by the Oscars, but are greatly loved by the public: The Dark Knight, The Hangover, The Matrix, Iron Man. Categories like Best Fight and Best Kiss are brilliant. "People remember great kisses." And this year, Jon Hamm's "delectably revolting" performance in Bridesmaids and Mission: Impossible's jaw-dropping parking lot fight scenes were among those worthy nominees that only the MTV Movie Awards recognize.
5. The Dark Knight Rises had everyone buzzing
"The summer movie that needed the MTV Movie Awards the least got the biggest boost," says Steven Zeitchik at the Los Angeles Times. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and director Christopher Nolan were on hand to present new footage from The Dark Knight Rises, "scoring hugely positive reactions in the room and on social media." The bit began with clips from Nolan's first two Batman films, after which Bale teared up from being reminded of the late Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker. The subsequent Dark Knight Rises footage was an "epic montage" showing off new villains Catwoman and Bane, as well as several scenes of destruction. See it for yourself: