By MARK KENNEDY
AP Entertainment Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — A host-less, pre-taped and muted MTV Movie & TV Awards kicked off Sunday, the first big awards show to air during the screenwriters’ strike with a commercial-heavy broadcast featuring lots of past recycled live clips.
Tom Cruise took home the best performance in a movie for “Top Gun: Maverick,” beating Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Michael B. Jordan and KeKe Palmer. In a pre-taped response, Cruise was seen piloting a jet and thanking the fans, while also plugging his next “Mission: Impossible” film.
“The Kardashians” won best docu-reality show, the best breakthrough performance went to Joseph Quinn of “Stranger Things,” and Pedro Pascal won best hero for “The Last Of Us.”
Host Drew Barrymore had dropped out in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, and the show’s red carpet was rolled up. Faced with a picket from the guild, MTV scrapped the live event entirely.
While Barrymore wasn’t there, she had left plenty of sponsored bits, one with Cheetos popcorn and another pretending to play younger sister Skipper in the upcoming movie “Barbie.” She was also in commercials for Pluto TV.
Jennifer Coolidge received the Comedic Genius Award on tape and gave a shoutout to striking writers, saying almost all great comedy starts with great writers.
“I stand here before you tonight side by side with my sisters and brothers from the WGA,” she said.
MTV filled the show with old clips, like an all-star 2001 performance of “Lady Marmalade,” Lizzo belting out her hit “Juice” in 2019, and other genius award speeches from previous winners like Melissa McCarthy, Kevin Hart and Jack Black. It was sometimes hard to determine what was new and what was old.
Still to come were some big awards, including best movie category, which pits “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Elvis,” “Nope,” “Scream VI,” “Smile” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The best TV shows nominated are: “Stranger Things,” “The Last of Us,” “The White Lotus,” “Wednesday,” “Wolf Pack,” “Yellowstone” and “Yellowjackets.”
And best performance in a TV show pits Aubrey Plaza, “The White Lotus;” Christina Ricci, “Yellowjackets;” Jenna Ortega, “Wednesday;” Riley Keough, “Daisy Jones & The Six;” Sadie Sink, “Stranger Things” and Selena Gomez, “Only Murders in the Building.”
Other categories for the golden popcorn sculpture include best hero, best villain, best comedic performance, best kiss, best fight, most frightened performance, best duo, best movie song, best competition series and best host. Two new categories this year are best reality on-screen team and best kick-ass cast.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits