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MTV 'awards' are dubious

'Great nominees' include Sandler, Phillippe, Foxx

How nice it must be to work in Hollywood, where they'll reward — or at least nominate — you for anything and everything you do.

If this year's multitude of movie awards shows — which culminated with the overblown, four-hour-plus Oscar marathon — wasn't enough to put you off such programs forever, there's one more to look forward to.

We can only be speaking of the 2000 MTV Movie Awards, which will mark the ninth time that the "music television" cable station has given out trophies to filmmakers, actors and other celebrities.

For his part, the show's producer, Joel Gallen, is promising something bigger and better.

"Unlike most sequels, I find the MTV Movie Awards just keep getting better each time," Gallen said in a press release. "That's why it's always a thrill and honor to be involved. With a new category, great nominees and a few other tricks up our sleeve, this year will be no exception."

Great nominees? Hmm, let's see about that.

The critically reviled sequel "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" led the pack with six nominations, while the equally savaged film "Cruel Intentions," "American Pie" and "Big Daddy" pulled in five, four and three nominations, respectively.

Here's a brief rundown of nominees in some of the major categories:

BEST MOVIE: "American Beauty," "American Pie," "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," "The Matrix," "The Sixth Sense."

BEST MALE PERFORMANCE: Jim Carrey, "Man on the Moon"; Ryan Phillippe, "Cruel Intentions"; Keanu Reeves, "The Matrix"; Adam Sandler, "Big Daddy"; Bruce Willis, "The Sixth Sense."

BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE: Drew Barrymore, "Never Been Kissed"; Neve Campbell, "Scream 3"; Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Cruel Intentions"; Ashley Judd, "Double Jeopardy"; Julia Roberts, "Runaway Bride."

BREAKTHROUGH MALE PERFORMANCE: Wes Bentley, "American Beauty"; Jason Biggs, "American Pie"; Michael Clarke Duncan, "The Green Mile"; Jamie Foxx, "Any Given Sunday"; Haley Joel Osment, "The Sixth Sense."

BREAKTHROUGH FEMALE PERFORMANCE: Selma Blair, "Cruel Intentions"; Shannon Elizabeth, "American Pie"; Carrie-Anne Moss, "The Matrix"; Julia Stiles, "10 Things I Hate About You"; Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry."

In all fairness, some of the nominees are deserving and some of the categories are intriguing (such as Best Fight, which includes Edward Norton vs. himself in "Fight Club"). But, come on! Adam Sandler? Ryan Phillippe? Neve Campbell? Jamie Foxx?

Kind of makes you wonder who selects these nominees, doesn't it?

However, if for some reason you're still interested, the 2000 MTV Movie Awards will air June 8.

Winners will be chosen by MTV viewers, who can cast their votes three ways: by calling 1-900-740-9000 (a call that will cost $.65 per minute), by visiting the MTV Web site www.mtv.excite.com or by filling out forms at participating Blockbuster Video stores before May 18.

GETTING THE KISS-OFF? Even though the 2000 MTV Movie Awards are still more than a month away, the show's already managed to spark one controversy.

MTV is expecting to catch flak for the Best Kiss nominees, which includes two real eye-openers — smooches between Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny in "Boys Don't Cry" and Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair in "Cruel Intentions."

But it's one kiss that's not on the list that is causing a stink: that between Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari in "American Beauty."

That kiss was originally supposed to be one of the nominees, but the film's distributor, DreamWorks Pictures, refused to let MTV show the nominated footage.

The studio hasn't released a statement explaining the reason behind the snub, but one DreamWorks official did tell reporters for the E! Online Web site that studio heads were offended.

"It's inappropriate to celebrate a relationship between a 16-year-old girl and a 40-year-old man within the context of 'Best Kiss' clip," the official said. "Within the context of the entire movie, the relationship is made clear and the kiss is seen as inappropriate."

As if the always-outrageous award show won't find some way to be "inappropriate."


Deseret News movie critic Jeff Vice can be reached by e-mail at jeff@desnews.com