Teen Choice Awards: Stars Get Preachy, Turn Show Into a PSA Fest

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"The Fault in Our Stars" cast at the Teen Choice Awards

Shailene Woodley, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Ansel Elgort made their time in the spotlight count at Sunday's awards show

The Teen Choice Awards took place Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium, and the two-hour fan-voted event was dominated by motivational PSA-like messages targeting the teenage set.

The Fault in Our Stars breakout Ansel Elgort, who took home choice movie breakout star and choice movie drama actor, made his moment in the spotlight count, bringing added awareness to cancer and those fighting it. "I really am glad that we were embraced by young people who were dealing with the illness. And I just hope that we did it justice, and my heart goes to everyone who's dealing with it, because cancer sucks," Elgort told the enthusiastic and impressionable crowd.

Elgort's Fault co-star Shailene Woodley had a big night, winning several awards for the successful Fox 2000 adaptation of John Green's best-selling tearjerker and for Divergent. Woodley's first trip to the stage to accept her choice movie sci-fi/adventure actress award for Divergent focused on empowering women to stay true to themselves.

"I feel pretty honored to be accepting this award on behalf of women — not only all women but a strong woman named Tris Prior," she said, referencing the main female protagonist in the dystopian tale, "who was not born a superhero. She was not born with innate superhuman powers. … You get to watch her grow, and you get to watch her find her own confidence, which in turn brings her bravery. In my opinion, you can be brave and jump off trains, but the truest form of bravery and courage is to wake up every single day and to be ourselves. … That is something all of us have the opportunity and choice to make each and every morning. So you do you, I'm going to do me and she's going to do she, and hopefully I'll be brave enough to take this [surfboard] into the water for Shark Week!"

Her second trip to the mic focused on living life to the fullest, a theme heavily explored in Fault, which won the top movie drama prize.

"I'm wearing heels and have a face full of makeup on and we're all so lucky to be here, breathing," Woodley said accepting the award on behalf of her Fault cast and crew. "There are a lot of people at home right now breathing into oxygen machines. There's no way to justify this. Life is unfair. All we have [are] moments, and it's really our job to wake up each day and be so grateful for those moments."

Selena Gomez, accepting Teen Choice's equivalent of a career achievement prize, the Ultimate Choice, expressed gratitude to her fans and her family.

"I have to be honest, especially this month, I cannot thank you guys because you remind me of what's important and that's giving and loving and caring about each other, and I'm not trying to preach or any of that. It's that you guys make me better," the 22-year-old singer told the audience. She also made sure to publicly thank her mother, whom she reportedly fired in April as her manager. "I want to thank my mom so much. … I want all of you to love your mom and give her everything, because she's incredible."

Singer Ariana Grande, picking up her choice female artist award, joined in on the positivity train, urging teens to never stop believing in their dreams. "To all the teens out there who love to sing who love to dance who love to act, don't ever stop. I was told no so many times, and I never thought I'd be able to do what I do now every day. I never took no for an answer," she said. "To everyone out there who loves to sing and dance and act, keep going for it."

Disney star Zendaya, winner of the Candie's Style Icon award, urged teens not to grow up too quickly. "I just want to be that thing for young girls, to know that I'm still finding out who I am too — every single day," she said. "You don't have to rush. We don't have to grow up too quick. Enjoy being who you are and the ages you are right now because you're only that age once, and embrace growing up and finding out who you are because it's a beautiful journey."

Later in the show, YouTuber Bethany Mota — winner of choice female web star — said she first began uploading YouTube videos five years ago, at a very dark place in her life. "YouTube gave me that voice to speak to many people around the world. You can do this too. Any of you can do this. You're all amazing. You all have the potential to be anything you want to be."

And to keep the synergy going, Fox recruited Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg and The Mindy Project's Mindy Kaling to offer some advice on relevant teen issues such as dealing with menstrual cramps (seriously), cheating on tests, whether to join the marching band and the pros and cons of boxers versus briefs. Samberg's cure-all for cramps? Watch the first season of Pretty Little Liars.

Fox also brought out the young cast of fall cancer dramedy Red Band Society. "You have all been inducted into the red band society," holding up their arms to show the red bands on their wrists.