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The MTV Movie Awards is classing up its act. For the venerable celebration of Hollywood’s 21st edition in June, multiple award categories have been dropped, a few others added, and the network has installed an “academy” of actors, producers, agents and other industry insiders to vote on nominees and winners, including a “breakthrough performance” honor voted on by directors.
Although MTV won’t reveal voter names, the panel strategy is similar to the one used for its annual Video Music Awards and is designed to lend credibility to an event that has been criticized as merely a venue for studios to promote their summer blockbusters.
Voting begins May 1 and will be weighted equally between the academy members and fans, though as usual, viewer voting for the night’s top award — movie of the year — continues through the live show June 3 at Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City. “We want to make sure some of the unexpected, smaller, quirkier films have a chance,” says MTV president Stephen Friedman, adding that the Movie Awards show remains a hit with its core viewers (last year’s ceremony pulled in 4.5 million viewers and registered its largest teen audience since 2004). “But it wasn’t growing the way we want it to,” he notes.
Jesse Ignjatovic, veteran producer of the 2011 VMAs (which notched a franchise best with more than 12 million viewers), will helm this year’s Movie Awards for the first time, taking over from Mark Burnett. MTV also will up the number of musical performances with headliner fun. featuring Janelle Monae performing their hit “We Are Young” over a video montage of party films from Animal House and Old School to Project X.
“It’s not just about bringing more music to the show,” says Ignjatovic. “It’s about integrating music and movies.” But the revamped Movie Awards will not sacrifice the satirical bent and mischievous pranks it has become known for (remember Sacha Baron Cohen lowering his naked rear onto Eminem in 2009?). “Full-frontal male nudity was big this year,” says Ignjatovic, citing multiple 2011 films including The Hangover Part II and Michael Fassbender’s Shame. “I think we need to embrace it as a moment.”
5 NEW MOVIE AWARD CATEGORIES
- Best Onscreen Transformation
- Best Music
- Best Gut-Wrenching Performance
- Best Onscreen Dirtbag
- Best Cast
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