"It's cool to see a lot of these big movies that don't necessarily get Oscars, but are still very popular, have their night," Aziz Ansari told us. The comic and 'Parks and Recreation' star is hosting the show in what will be his first emcee gig ever. "That's the point," he added. "As far as an awards show that will give you ridiculous fodder to react to, you can't ask for anything better than the Movie Awards." Celebrities, films and pop culture are set to collide this Sunday at the MTV Movie Awards (June 6, 9PM ET, live on MTV). Forget prestige and well-crafted winners' speeches: The network's annual award show is a populist affair in which films like 'The Hangover,' 'Avatar' and 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' are the top dogs, and where tween adoration trumps critical acclaim. With categories like Best Kiss and Best WTF moment ("There's nothing hot about projectile vomit," one nominee description says cheerily), MTV makes fandom fun, while maxing out the award show's potential as a promo machine for all things teen.
"It's cool to see a lot of these big movies that don't necessarily get Oscars, but are still very popular, have their night," Aziz Ansari told us. The comic and 'Parks and Recreation' star is hosting the show in what will be his first emcee gig ever. "That's the point," he added. "As far as an awards show that will give you ridiculous fodder to react to, you can't ask for anything better than the Movie Awards."
Over the past decade, MTV has made churning out such fodder an art form. The network's award shows aren't just indicators of what's happening in pop culture, but also opportunities for staged antics designed to reap maximum buzz. Seven years ago, Madonna and Britney Spears made headlines with an MTV-sponsored make-out session on stage; last year Eminem had a well-rehearsed dust-up with Sacha Baron Cohen, who was promoting his 2009 movie, 'Bruno.' As for this year's gag-to-be? Ansari wouldn't reveal specifics, but did reveal his hope for the Best Kiss winner.
"I don't know who's nominated [for Best Kiss], but I saw a video of [rapper] Soulja Boy kissing one of his chains," Ansari told press on a recent call. "He put the chain up to his mouth, and kissed it, and I'm hoping that will win, and he can re-create that when he accepts the award."
Despite the jokes, there's no question which film franchise will be occupying most of the Movie Awards airtime. "I'm trying to become one with the audience, so I just put a poster of ['Twilight' star] Robert Pattinson up on my ceiling -- I've been staring at it non-stop," Ansari deadpanned, when asked how he's preparing for his hosting duties. "I'm not writing any jokes, or filming any shorts. I've just been looking at that poster, and hopefully it will get me ready for June 6."
"My goal is to, at some point, maybe touch Robert Pattinson's hair, or [co-star] Taylor Lautner's abs. If I can pull that off, I'll be happy." 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' and 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.' Lest anyone in Hollywood miss out on the action, MTV has invited a plethora of audience favorites to serve as presenters throughout the evening, including Betty White, Bradley Cooper and Shaun White, among others. This year's show will in fact be the most guest-heavy of any other, thanks largely to a record number of stars who were interested in participating.
"Year after year, more people want to play with us, and participate in the show," said executive producer Audrey Morrissey, who has worked on the Movie Awards for 14 years. "That's such a measure of success, and ... personally rewarding. I can't remember a previous show, where the outcry to be a part of the show was so big."
This year's show will also be defined by an audience that Morrissey says is more "plugged-in" than ever. "They're very aware of what's going on on the Internet," she said. "Everything is very immediate. Aziz speaks to that."
Amid the many stars, copious jokes and likely stunts, the Movie Awards are still, at heart, a party for all things young and cool -- not to mention a chance for Ansari to prove his emcee chops under a big spotlight, an opportunity that isn't lost on him despite the reliance on one-liners. "For me, it's a really huge deal," he said. "My background is as a stand-up comic, and then doing sketch on [television show] 'Human Giant.' It's a dream gig to host.
"I think [MTV producers] were a little confused when they called me, though. I think they were under the impression that I was a Jonas Brother."