By Mary Milliken
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Young adult favorite “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was voted ‘movie of the year’ and scooped top acting honors at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, reflecting the irreverent ceremony’s appeal to young fans.
The second installment of the hugely popular “Hunger Games” books beat out this year’s Oscar best picture winner “12 Years a Slave” in online voting that continued through much of the show.
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson won best female and male performances for their roles as Katniss and Peeta, the two youths fighting to give hope to an oppressed society.
At the unbuttoned awards ceremony in downtown Los Angeles hosted by comedian Conan O’Brien, awards also went to the best shirtless performance for Zac Efron and best kiss, a three-way smooch between Will Poulter, Jennifer Aniston and Emma Roberts in the comedy “We’re the Millers”.
But there were also serious moments in the show. Hutcherson remembered his “Hunger Games” cast mate Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a drug overdose earlier this year.
“I know that if Philip were here, he would think this is really cool,” said Hutcherson.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” has earned more than $850 million at the worldwide box office and two more films, Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2, will complete the franchise from Lionsgate.
In one of the night’s upsets, Tris, played by Shailene Woodley in “Divergent, won favorite character of the year, coming from behind in last-minute voting to surpass Lawrence’s Katniss. They each received more than 9 million votes.
O’Brien, 50 years old and noticeably older than most award winners and audience members, kicked off the show by trying to break the record for the most celebrity cameos in his intro, notching up 50. Among them were Taylor Swift, who gave him a manicure, and Internet sensation Grumpy Cat, who slept in the front row of the audience.
BEST SHIRTLESS ACCEPTANCE
Among the most buzz-worthy moments of the night were Efron’s shirtless acceptance of his award, thanks to help from singer Rita Ora, and actor Seth Rogen giving his mother a prolonged kiss on stage.
The night’s musical performances included a duet by Rihanna and Eminem singing “The Monster” before they head out on tour together this summer. There was also a tribute to Paul Walker, a fixture in the street car racing franchise “Fast and Furious,” who died in a car crash last year.
The awards are an opportunity for film fans to pick their favorites, in contrast to most of the film industry awards, like the Oscars, which are voted by elite industry groups.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” and “American Hustle” got a chance to redeem themselves after walking away empty-handed from the Oscars on March 2. They each landed eight nods for the MTV awards, but also won little on Sunday.
Jonah Hill won best comedic performance for his role as the drug-addled swindling stockbroker in director Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a role for which he was nominated for the Oscar for best supporting actor.
And Jared Leto, who won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role as a transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers Club,” earned the MTV award for best on-screen transformation
The MTV Trailblazer Award went to actor Channing Tatum for his versatility in playing everything from a dancer from the wrong side of the tracks to a hero trying to save the world from danger.
Mark Wahlberg, who most recently starred in the Afghanistan war drama “Lone Survivor, received this year’s MTV Generation Award, an honor given to those who engage with the MTV audience throughout their careers.
Wahlberg, 42, joked with the much younger audience that the award probably signaled that his career was over.
“This is ‘You’re (expletive) done’,” said Wahlberg. “But you know what? It was a great run.”
(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)