Celebrities including Jennifer Coolidge and Pedro Pascal expressed their support for Hollywood’s striking screenwriters at the pre-taped MTV Movie and TV Awards.
The annual event was scheduled to return to Los Angeles’ famous Barker Hangar in Santa Monica for a live show Sunday night, but the live show and red carpet were scrapped at the last minute in favor of a pre-recorded show.
Scroll down to see the full list of 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards winners
Drew Barrymore was scheduled to host the ceremony but backed out in solidarity with the strikers, saying that without TV and film writers there would be no awards show.
Show bosses said they were “stepping away from live performances” as they were “carefully figuring out how best to give fans the first prizes we envisioned.”
The writers’ strike began on Tuesday after 11,500 Writers Guild of America (WGA) members went out of business after negotiations between them and the studios failed to secure a new contract before their current contract expired.
Before the event was cancelled, the WGA said it was planning an awards picket.
The union is demanding a higher minimum wage, more writers per show, and less exclusivity for individual projects.
The writers say they suffered financially during the streaming TV boom, in part due to shorter seasons and smaller residual payments.
According to Guild statistics, half of TV series writers now work for minimum wage, up from a third in the 2013-14 season.
Artificial intelligence is another issue at the negotiating table. The WGA wants safeguards that prevent studios from using artificial intelligence to generate new scripts based on writers’ previous work.
Some of America’s biggest shows are affected by the strike, with US late-night talk shows being the first to suffer from the need for their scripts to relate to current events.
Daytime soap operas will be next, with prime-time comedies and dramas last to be hit due to their longer running times.
Speaking on a pre-recorded MTV show accepting the comedic genius award, White Lotus star Coolidge said she stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the strikers, saying they were “fighting for the rights of artists around the world”.
She continued, “You know, almost all great comedies start with great writers.
“As a proud member of the SAG (Screen Actors Guild), I stand before you today, shoulder to shoulder with my sisters and brothers of the WGA (Screen Actors Guild of America), who are now fighting for the rights of artists everywhere.”
Pascal, who stars in the movie adaptation of the video game The Last Of Usrecognized those who “fight very hard” for fair wages by collecting one of his three MTV awards that night.
The hit show, written by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, won Best Program while Pascal was awarded 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 all … stand in solidarity with the WGA, which fights very hard for fair wages. Thank you, we love you.”
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British actor James Quinn, who won a Breakthrough Performance award for his role in Stranger Things season four, also praised the striking writers.
He said, “I don’t think people can connect with a character like Eddie or others in the Stranger Things universe without compassionate, intelligent, high-quality writing.
“Being a writer is hard work. He deserves respect. If we respect each other, we can create a kinder, more inclusive, more collaborative environment for everyone… it would be nice.”
Elsewhere, the show’s top prize – Best Picture – went to the slasher Scream VI.
Tom Cruise was awarded for the best role in the film for its high-octane follow-up to 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 move cost the California economy an estimated $2.1 billion (£1.68 billion) as productions shut down and unemployed writers, actors and producers cut expenses.
The complete list of the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards winners
Best Hero: Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us)
Best Performance in a Movie: Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick)
Best Docu-Reality Series: Kardashians
Breakthrough performance: Joseph QuinnStranger 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)
Most Frightened Performance: Jennifer Coolidge (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 Program: The last of us
Best Musical Moment: Purple Hearts, “Come Home”
Best Performance in a Program: Jenna Ortega (Wednesday)
Best Villain: Elisabeth Olsen (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)
Best Kick-Ass Cast: Stranger things
The best song: “Carolina” Taylor Swift (Where The Crawdads Sing)
Best Host: Drew Barrymore (The Drew Barrymore Show)
Best Video: The Scream VI