All movie awards are important, of course, for they provide us a way to adore our Hollywood stars (other than with money). But in the pantheon of movie awards, the MTV Movie Awards are perhaps the most important. For what other awards dare to give prizes for the things we love most about the movies? Not just the beautiful images and the brave performances but the kisses, the explosions, the shirtless torsos, the WTF moments.
Plus, they’re just so often right. This year’s awards, hosted by Amy Schumer Sunday night, could once again display the wisdom of, like, whoever the hell it is who chooses the MTV Movie Awards (Jesse Camp, presumably). Could Boyhood or Selma avenge their Oscar snubs? Could Channing and Jonah win the Best On-Screen Duo award that was seemingly made for them? Has there ever been a more on-point nomination for any award than Zac Efron for Best Shirtless Performance? In light of movie awards that can, tragically, get it so wrong, let’s celebrate the movie awards that have been getting it right since 1992 (Most Desirable Male: Keanu Reeves in Point Break).
10. Best Villain, 1993: Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female
Yes, better than Nicholson in A Few Good Men. How many guys did he murder with a spike heel?
9. Best Fight, 2005: Uma Thurman vs. Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill Volume 2
The MTV Movie Awards gave plenty of love to Quentin Tarantino’s bloody two-part masterpiece, with six nominations and four awards. (Compare that to the zero and zero granted by the Oscars.) But this award, for the gruesome, hilarious, terrifying, awful mobile-home battle between Black Mamba and California Mountain Snake, was the most correct of them all.
8. Best Sandwich in a Movie, 1996: Ham and cheese sandwich in Smoke
Sure, the entire award was a not-that-funny Garry Shandling bit. But that ham and cheese baby-faced Harold Perrineau ate in this beloved Paul Auster/Wayne Wang Brooklyn drama looked really delicious.
7. Best Comedic Performance, 2012: Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
The MTV Movie Awards are great at recognizing comedy, frequently giving prizes big and small to movies that dare to go for laughs rather than tears. This 2012 award, for a performance for the ages, was particularly richly deserved.
6. Best Musical Sequence, 2000: “Uncle Fucka” from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
Sure, “Blame Canada” got the surprise Oscar nomination, but “Uncle Fucka” was the best song in the best movie musical of the last 20 years, so to see it rewarded was incredibly satisfying.
5. Best Movie, 1995: Pulp Fiction
Run, Forrest, run—away from the MTV Movie Awards, where you don’t win jack.
4. Best New Filmmaker, 1996: Wes Anderson, Bottle Rocket
OK, they don’t always nail this award (Peter Cattaneo?!) but in this case they got it extremely correct. Witness Wes Anderson at his least-dapperly-dressed ever!
3. Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997: Chewbacca
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
2. Best Male Performance, 1993: Denzel Washington, Malcolm X
One of the biggest travesties in the history of the Oscars – Al Pacino winning for Scent of a Woman over Denzel as Malcolm – was remedied just four months later in the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank as Washington was given a gilded carton of popcorn in honor of one of the great screen performances of our time. That’s why, to this day, no one even remembers who Al Pacino is.
1. Best Kiss, 2005: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, The Notebook
This is the second-most correct award in awards history, following Albert Einstein’s 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics.