LOS ANGELES The MTV Movie Awards is not the most high-profile or high-brow award show in town, but—mercifully, for the comfort and attention span of the guests in attendance—it ranks as one of the shortest and least stuffy. Guests streamed into the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios on Sunday evening for the two-hour program, televised live on the East Coast with a three-hour delay locally, for which the dress code was more bought-it-off-the-rack than army-of-stylists. (Kristen Stewart, star of the night's big winner, Twilight, wore sneakers with her dress—but still managed to bobble the award before it clattered to the ground during her acceptance speech.)
The set at the Gibson, which is managed by concert production and marketing giant Live Nation, was a video-rich collection of multitiered elements, including a glowing main stage and an elevated platform with a podium for awards presentations and speeches. Illuminated panels in the shape of celluloid film pieces dominated the design, which was accented with LED tubing in bright colors.
The program had a vaguely '80s and early '90s theme, with host Andy Samberg beginning the program with a cadre of backup dancers reminiscent of the neon-clad Fly Girls troupe from the '90s sketch comedy show In Living Color.
Standout moments from the program included a performance by Eminem, whose band performed behind him on a short flight of video-embedded stairs. And later—in a stunt unlikely to be replicated at other award shows—Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as Bruno from his upcoming movie, emerged from overhead and descended into the crowd, depositing his partially naked nether regions onto the face of the historically, publicly homophobic Eminem. In another sketch, LeAnn Rimes, Chris Isaak, and Forest Whitaker performed a pseudo-serious musical medley derived from host Samberg's digital shorts on Saturday Night Live.
Returning from one commercial break (during which a designated audience hype man tossed T-shirts into the crowd), Samberg quipped about the promotion-heavy show, “Welcome back to the big commercial.” He went on to introduce an exclusive clip from the new Twilight picture New Moon. (The live audience went crazy at any mention of the word Twilight, or any of its stars, or any hint that it might be mentioned again soon.)
Canons shooting mylar confetti ended the show around 8 p.m. local time, when some members of the crowd filtered out to an after-party directly in front of the Gibson. Others got a jolt of caffeine for the drive home from Coca-Cola, which handed out its products from a refrigerated cart outside the theater.