Stars including Jennifer Coolidge and Pedro Pascal expressed their support for Hollywood’s outstanding writers at the pre-recorded MTV Movie and TV Awards.
The annual event was supposed to return to L.A.’s famed Barker Hangar in Santa Monica live Sunday night, but the live show and red carpet were scrapped at the last minute in favor of a pre-recorded schedule.
Scroll down for a complete list of the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards winners
Drew Barrymore was due to host the ceremony but pulled out in solidarity with those on strike, saying without TV and film writers there would be no awards shows.
The show bosses said they were “stepping away from a live show” as they “carefully examine how best to deliver the fan first awards show we had envisioned.”
The writers’ strike began on Tuesday after 11,500 Writers Guild of America (WGA) members quit their jobs after negotiations between them and the studios failed to settle a new contract before their current deal expired.
Before the event was cancelled, the WGA said it planned to stake the awards.
The union is calling for higher minimum wages, more writers per show, and less exclusivity on individual projects.
The writers say they suffered financially during the streaming TV boom, due in part to shorter seasons and lower residual payments.
Half of TV series writers now work at minimum wage levels, up from a third in the 2013-14 season, according to Guild statistics.
Artificial intelligence is another issue at the negotiating table. The WGA wants safeguards to prevent studios from using AI to generate new scripts from writers’ previous work.
The strike is impacting some of America’s biggest entertainment, with US late-night talk shows being the first to suffer due to the need for their scripts to reference current events.
Daytime soap operas will follow, with primetime comedies and dramas being the last to be interested due to longer turnaround times.
Speaking on the pre-recorded MTV show as she accepted the award for comic genius, the White Lotus Coolidge star said she stood “side by side” with those on strike, saying they were “fighting for artists’ rights everywhere”.
He continued, “You know, almost all great comedy starts with great writers.
“As a proud member of the SAG (Screen Actors Guild), I stand before you tonight, side by side with my sisters and brothers of the WGA (Writers Guild of America), who are fighting right now, fighting for the rights of artists everywhere.”
Pascal, who plays in adaptation of the video game The Last Of Usrecognized those who “fight very hard” for a fair wage by accepting one of its three MTV awards overnight.
The hit show, written by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, won Best Play, while Pascal won Best Hero and Best Duo, for his performance alongside his British co-star Bella Ramsey.
Paying tribute to the writers, Pascal said: “Craig and Neil can’t be here. We are all… sympathetic to the WGA who are fighting hard for fair wages. We thank you, we love you.”
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British actor James Quinn, who won the Breakthrough Performance Award for his role in the fourth season of Stranger Things, also praised the outstanding screenwriters.
He said, “I don’t think people would connect with a character like Eddie or anyone else in the Stranger Things universe without compassionate, intelligent, quality writing.
“Being a writer is hard work. It deserves respect. If we respect each other, we can cultivate a kinder, more inclusive, more collaborative environment for everyone…that would be nice.”
Elsewhere, the show’s grand prize – best picture – went to the slasher flick Scream VI.
Tom Cruise was awarded Best Performance in a Motion Picture for its high-octane sequel Top Gun: Maverick, sending a message to fans from the cockpit of an airplane.
The last WGA strike, in 2007 and 2008, lasted 100 days. The action cost the California economy an estimated $2.1 billion (£1.68 billion) as productions were halted and out-of-work writers, actors and producers cut back on spending.
Complete list of winners of the MTV Movie & TV Awards 2023
Best Hero: Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us)
Best Performance in a Motion Picture: Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick)
Best Docu-Reality: The Kardashians
Breakthrough Performance: Joseph Quinn (Stranger Things)
Best On-Screen Reality Team: Katie Maloney, Ariana Madix, Scheana Shay and Lala Kent (Vanderpump Rules)
Best Comedy Performance: Adam Sandler (Murder Mystery 2)
Best Duo: Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey (The Last Of Us)
Best Fight: Gale Weathers vs. Ghostface (Scream VI)
More Scared Performance: Jennifer Coolidge (The White Lotus)
Best Competition Series: RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars
Best Kiss: Madison Bailey and Rudy Pankow (Outer Banks)
Best Music Documentary: Selena Gomez: My mind and me
Best Show: The Last of Us
Best Musical Moment: Purple Hearts, “Come Home”
Best Performance in a Play: Jenna Ortega (Wednesday)
Best Villain: Elisabeth Olsen (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)
Best Kick-Ass Cast: Stranger things
Best Song: “Carolina” by Taylor Swift (Where The Crawdads Sing)
Best Presenter: Drew Barrymore (The Drew Barrymore Show)
The best movie: Scream VI