MTV promises a fun night of offbeat movie awards


Imagine if you let all the hot air out of the Academy Awards ceremonies and replaced it with helium or nitrous oxide -- you know, that goofy gas that makes you mellow in the dentist's office?

Hold that thought and you've about approximated "The MTV Movie Awards."

Eddie Murphy will be in charge of holding together two hours of marginally structured mayhem, during which celebrated music industry types rub elbows -- and possibly other body parts -- with movie industry types (tonight at 9).

On the music side of it, look for an eclectic mix: Rod Stewart, Stone Temple Pilots, Dr. Dre, Duran Duran. On the movie side, count on seeing Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington, Kelly Lynch, Christian Slater, Jon Lovitz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Chris Rock, Rosie O'Donnell, Keanu Reeves.

"This will throw everybody for a loop right out of the box," says executive producer Doug Herzog, who's also an MTV vice president, in charge of programming. "It starts big, takes some real twists and turns and just gets bigger."

But come on, Doug. Do people really need another awards show on TV?

"Of course not," Mr. Herzog replies. "They need a great awards show . . . and this is risk-taking and adventurous as opposed to staid."

If you watched last year, you saw and heard William Shatner interpret all the nominated songs in his own inimitable style. There is nothing MTV won't try.

Mr. Herzog isn't telling specifics, but he will say "we'll be having some fun with the best-film category."

Be forewarned. This is MTV. These are fan-voted awards. And they are voted in unlikely categories such as Best Kiss and Best Action Sequence. Where else would you find Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone nominated as a "duo" in the same category with Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes?

"It's done from our point of view," says Mr. Herzog. "You have to know that going in. But if you're a fan of movies and you have a sense of humor, you'll love it."

Back in April, Music Television aired an awards nominations special during which five nominees in each of 12 categories were announced. In the weeks that followed the special, MTV flashed 900 numbers which viewers could call to vote in each category.

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