The 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards featured only a handful of explicit references to the ongoing writers’ strike, but the non-live event looked distinctly different.
The show featured numerous pre-recorded segments and speeches as well as clips from upcoming movies and TV shows as well as previous editions of the MTV Movie & TV Awards. In addition, the show, award categories, and nominees and winners were announced through a voiceover, which initially referred to the event as the “2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards special”.
Host Drew Barrymore, who announced on Wednesday that she would not be presenting this year’s edition of the awards in person in solidarity with the striking writers, appeared in a few pre-recorded sketches at the top of the show, filmed before retiring from her role as live emcee .
Barrymore kicked off the show with a pre-recorded opening inspired by her 1999 film Never been kisseddressed as her Josie Geller character in her ’80s “Josie Grossy” era. Looking for her first hug, Barrymore’s Josie popped up in scenes from No, M3GAN, Wednesday, Top Gun: Maverick and the White Lotusthe latter featuring 2023 MTV Comedic Genius award honoree Jennifer Coolidge.
The segment ended with her finally being kissed by Cocaine Bear, like Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”, which also pops up in Never been kissedPlays.
After her moment with the bear, Barrymore’s Josie proclaims that she “feels so alive, like[she]can do anything” and repeats her line from the film, “I’m not Josie Grossy anymore.”
Barrymore also appeared in advertisements for show sponsor Cheetos popcorn and a pre-recorded sketch in the form of a featurette for the Barbie movie, starring Barrymore as “Skipper,” in which the actress puts herself in the trailer for the upcoming Greta Gerwig movie. She also floated on her rain-loving viral video by putting herself out in a scene Wednesday.
Winners like Pedro Pascal, who took home multiple awards, and the cast of Vanderpump Rules accepted their awards via pre-recorded thank you notes. And Coolidge delivered the show’s first reference to the strike, about 30 minutes into the two-hour broadcast, in her pre-recorded acceptance for the Comedic Genius honor.
“Almost all great comedy starts with great writers,” Coolidge said in part, referring to himself as “a proud member of (SAG-AFTRA),”
“I stand before you tonight, side by side with my sisters and brothers from the WGA who are now fighting, fighting for the rights of artists everywhere,” she continued before later invoking Shakespeare in her statement of support.
“I think of the words of Shakespeare, where he once said: ‘The play is the thing.’ Well, I don’t want to put words in his mouth or anything, but I think he really meant, ‘it is everything.’”
Pascal and RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars winner Jinkx Monsoon later expressed solidarity with the writers in their pre-recorded speeches.
The show also included clips of The Little Mermaid, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and next week’s Yellow jackets.
Late Friday night, the MTV Movie & TV Awards announced it would be shifting from a live event to a pre-recorded ceremony that, executive producer Bruce Gillmer said, still allows us to produce a memorable night full of exclusive sneak peeks, irreverent categories that our audiences have come to expect and countless moments that will both surprise and delight as we honor the best of film and TV from the past year.”
Gillmer began his statement by saying this was part of his team’s effort to “carefully consider how best to deliver the first fan awards ceremony that we envisioned, which our team has worked so hard to achieve.” amid the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike, which began Tuesday after negotiations. with studios and streamers collapsed the night before.
Until Friday afternoon, MTV planned to continue with a live show with an in-person audience on Sunday night as nominees Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner and hosts. Vanderpump RulesLala Kent, who appeared in a pre-recorded acceptance speech, and the cast of Joy rideincluding Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu, all pulled out of the event.
None of the stars previously announced by MTV as hosts for the Movie & TV Awards presented any of the awards on Sunday night’s show, while expected luminaries like Jamie Lee Curtis, Gal Gadot and Tiffany Haddish didn’t even appear on the air.
Friday afternoon, the Writers Guild of America said it planned to picket outside the ceremony and then take place at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
Shortly after news of the demonstration broke, MTV announced it would switch to a pre-recorded awards show, and the WGA canceled its protest plans.
Still, writers have peaked at locations in Los Angeles and New York City since going on strike as the union seeks more transparency around public streaming, higher minimum wages and protections against mini-rooms and the use of artificial intelligence in writing.
Scream VI And The last of us topped the winners on Sunday evening, taking home awards for best film and best show, respectively.