LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fire? What fire?
MTV went ahead with its annual star-studded movie awards at the Universal Studios lot on Sunday, hours after a spectacular blaze destroyed chunks of Hollywood history nearby.
The celebrities on hand, such as host Mike Myers and presenter Will Smith, used the occasion to “pimp” — as Myers said — their upcoming movies, rather than address the damage.
The 17th annual MTV Movie Awards, a fan-driven event with none of the stuffiness or significance of the Oscars, took place in a hilltop theater that overlooked the smoky remains of well-known movie sets and a “King Kong” attraction.
Universal did close the theme park and the CityWalk retail strip, two of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, but the MTV event was not in harm’s way.
Winners are chosen by viewers who cast votes online and were informed beforehand, which partly explained their lack of surprise when their names are announced.
“Transformers” won the top award, best movie, and director Michael Bay said he would start shooting a sequel to the hit action movie on Monday.
Johnny Depp was the only multiple winner. The gum-chewing actor was treated like an all-conquering hero when he first took the stage to accept the best comedic performance award for his turn as pirate Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”
“You can ask anybody, I’m not a very funny person,” he said grimly.
Depp returned a little later to receive the best villain award, for playing the titular killer in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” In the process, he beat Javier Bardem, who won an Oscar earlier this year for his bloody turn in “No Country For Old Men.”
Smith won the male performance award, a statuette depicting a bucket of golden popcorn, for his role as a post-apocalyptic survivor in “I Am Legend.”
“I haven’t always made great movies but I’ve been trying real hard,” he said. “I’ve dedicated my life to creating and trying to do things that are different.”
Ellen Page won the female trophy for playing a pregnant teen in “Juno” and said, “I just got to be that lucky girl that played that incredible character.”
A new category this year was “best summer movie so far” — “whatever that means,” said presenter Seth Rogen, who appeared to light up a massive joint with fellow presenter James Franco, while recovering addict Robert Downey Jr. looked on wistfully from his seat.
The award went to Downey’s superhero smash “Iron Man,” and the actor accepted the statuette with his director, Jon Favreau.
“If you think this award is ridiculous, when ‘Swingers’ won, we were followed by Chewbacca winning the lifetime achievement award,” said Favreau, who co-starred in that 1996 movie.
Adam Sandler won the lifetime achievement honor. Backed by a band, he sang a customized version of the old James Bond theme “Nobody Does It Better.” Afterward, he sheepishly described it as “the most arrogant thing I’ve ever done,” and sent greetings to America’s troops.
The event aired live for a second consecutive year after the 2007 ceremony reversed a ratings downtrend by pulling in 3.6 million viewers, a 13 percent boost over the previous year. Previous versions were televised a few days afterward.
“Superbad,” which led the field with five nominations, was snubbed, as were triple nominees “Enchanted” and “Knocked Up.”
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Bill Trott