'Twilight,' 'Slumdog' lead MTV nominees

Heath Ledger to compete posthumously as best villain

NEW YORK – It's "Twilight" versus "Slumdog Millionaire" at this year's MTV Movie Awards.

The vampire blockbuster and Oscar-winning Indian romance have six nominations each, including best movie, MTV announced Monday. "Slumdog" star Dev Patel and "Twilight" vampire Robert Pattinson are both nominated for the male breakthrough performance award. The other contenders are Ben Barnes ("The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"), Bobb'e J. Thompson ("Role Models") and Pattinson's "Twilight" co-star Taylor Lautner.

Mark Burnett, who produces the freewheeling ceremony, said either film has a great chance of winning best picture.

"Twilight" has "certainly touched a part of America and young girls are totally in love with what the movie stands for and (with) romance," Burnett said in an interview. "And, on the other hand, I have to say, all of my kids loved 'Slumdog Millionaire.' There's just something so uplifting about what that movie stands for."

Other nominated films include "Iron Man," "The Dark Knight" and "High School Musical 3: Senior Year."

Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for her dramatic role in "The Reader," is up for best female performance, along with Angelina Jolie ("Wanted"), Anne Hathaway ("Bride Wars"), Kristen Stewart ("Twilight") and Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button").

Nominees for best male performance are Christian Bale ("The Dark Knight"), Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man"), Shia LaBeouf ("Eagle Eye"), Vin Diesel ("Fast & Furious") and "High School Musical" heartthrob Zac Efron.

Efron's co-star (and girlfriend) Vanessa Hudgens will challenge Miley Cyrus for the breakthrough performance female award. Their competition includes "Slumdog" beauty Freida Pinto and Ashley Tisdale, another "HSM" star.

The golden popcorn trophy for best kiss -- one of the event's signature unconventional categories -- could be handed to one of six big-screen duos, including Efron and Hudgens, Pinto and Patel, Stewart and Pattinson, or Sean Penn and James Franco, who co-starred in "Milk."

Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his menacing performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," is also nominated in the best villain category.

MTV usually introduces a new category or two each year: This year, a golden popcorn will be awarded to the "best song from a movie." The nominees are Cyrus' "The Climb" (from the new "Hannah Montana" film); the "Twilight" song "Decode" by Paramore; the "Slumdog" anthem "Jai Ho"; and the Bruce Springsteen ballad "The Wrestler" from the movie starring Mickey Rourke.

Votes can be cast online at MTV's Web site through May 27 for all categories except best movie. MTV said voting in that category remains open until May 31, when the show will air live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif. "Saturday Night Live" star Andy Samberg is the host.

Burnett said the key to a successful movie-awards show is to let awkward moments pan out. Among last year's highlights: Franco and Seth Rogen pulled out a bag of fake marijuana on stage.

"I will tell you right now -- there are three big things" that are part of the show, Burnett said. "I would say personally in my three years of producing the MTV Movie Awards live, the biggest thing that I can think of is going to be happening this year."