Over the last 43 years, the People’s Choice Awards has been the award show of the people, voted on by fans with results that you wouldn’t necessarily see at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, or the Grammys.
Joel McHale hosted the show, held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, chaperoned by eight babies, which he claimed were “part of the Angelina and Brad divorce settlement.” He explained that the babies were there as consolation prizes. “If you don’t win an award you get one of the adorable babies to take home,” he explained. Tyler Perry looked quite excited at the prospect, while Blake Shelton looked stunned, like it might be too real.
Only a fraction of the award show’s 64 categories are announced live, but the show has plenty of action, drama, laughs and musical performances.
Here’s what happened at the People’s Choice Awards:
Best Joke: “2016 was an interesting year,” said McHale. “We all watched as a longtime government insider squared off against an egotistical billionaire. I’m speaking of course about Captain America: Civil War.”
Best Slow Burn: It took Jennifer Lopez eight nominations to finally win a People’s Choice Award. She was able to take home a crystal sculpture for her work in Shades of Blue in the Favorite TV Crime Drama, Actress category. For all you ’shippers out there — J. Lo did not thank Drake in her acceptance speech.
Best Acceptance Speech: Only at the People’s Choice could Kevin Hart best Oscar frontrunner Ryan Gosling. He thanked the people and God in his acceptance speech, but claimed that he was not thanking The Rock. “This one goes to all the co-stars I’ve had except The Rock.” said Hart, while Johnson cracked up in his seat. “He hasn’t helped me at all. He actually lessened my talent.”
Toughest Competition: The Favorite Dwayne Johnson category was stacked, but Dwayne “Literally Just A Rock” Johnson won. Unfortunately it was just a rock and couldn’t accept the prize.
Best Fashion Excuse: Justin Timberlake took home the Favorite Song prize for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and when he took the stage he looked suspiciously casual like he was shopping at Whole Foods and remembered he claimed he was on the 101 just eight minutes ago.
Thank the Popular Vote: Only at the People’s Choice Awards can Dwayne Johnson’s work in Ballers beat out Kevin Spacey’s acting in House of Cards. Could Johnson really run for President — and win?
Best Bleep: Johnson finished his acceptance speech and then said that Kevin Hart told him to say .. .well, we don’t know what it was, because it was bleeped out. The camera cut to Hart who looked shocked. Johnson repeated the claim that Hart told him to say BLEEP and the camera cut away in case any lip readers were watching.
Best Use of the Spotlight: Blake Lively beat out Meryl Streep for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress and used the stage to beg the Spice Girls to hang out with her. “I was always an ambitious kid, so I set a goal for myself as a kid. I knew if I could accomplish this that I would be successful, and I could be happy, and that was … to meet the Spice Girls,” Lively said to laughter from the crowd. “Still haven’t accomplished it.” Your move, Spice Girls.
Best Repeat Performance: While accepting his eighth People’s Choice Award, this time for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor, Tom Hanks trotted out his new favorite saying, “Throw deep, baby!” Which is the same way he signs his fan letters.
Most Effective Speech Opener: When Justin Timberlake took the stage to introduce Ellen DeGeneres, the crowd wouldn’t stop screaming, so he leaned into the mic and whispered, “Shut up.” It was effective.
Best Shout-Out: Mashed potatoes. After accepting one more award, DeGeneres became the most-decorated People’s Choice winner in history with 20 awards to her name. After the cheering crowd quieted down, she started her acceptance speech by recounting a story: “I was driving here tonight on the 101,” said DeGeneres. “And I was thinking, I love mashed potatoes. Don’t you love mashed potatoes?”
Best Revelation: The Mick’s Kaitlin Olson took the stage with John Stamos and when he caught her checking him out, he swore he wasn’t a “Westworld sex robot.” She didn’t believe him until he said Bob Saget was the sex robot. It explains a lot.
Friendliest Competition: When Melissa McCarthy accepted her prize for Favorite Comedic Movie Actress, she admitted that she had engaged in light hand-to-hand combat with most of her competitors (“Kendrick’s too quick,” she sighed.) As for Kristen Wiig, according to McCarthy, “her wing span is incredible.” “She is like a beautiful, strong, aggressive orangutan,” said McCarthy, adding: “Kristen Bell and Rebel Wilson slashed my tires.”
Best Recovery: Kristen Bell presented the Favorite Humanitarian Award to Tyler Perry — (warning: rare moment of sincerity) who is truly an astonishingly generous and caring human — and halfway through listing Perry’s many, many good deeds, her teleprompter went out. She blinked, announced the teleprompter was down, and stumbled through the end of the speech without it. She then apologized for using a teleprompter, but admitted that she couldn’t even begin to memorize all of Perry’s acts of kindness. Good save!
Most Literary Reference: Robert Downey Jr. shouted out both Arthur Conan Doyle and Stan Lee when he accepted his award for Favorite Action Movie Actor.
Best Fraction: Fifth Harmony performed their hit “Work From Home” sans Camila Cabello.
Best Cross Promotion: Sophia Vergara won her first People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedic TV Actress, and the segment was sandwiched between Vergara’s commercials for Head & Shoulders dandruff shampoo.
Strangest Appearance by a Pirate: Johnny Depp was the last act of the night, chosen by the people as their Favorite Movie Icon. Depp delivered a performance that was a simultaneous reenactment of his 2014 appearance at the Hollywood Film Awards and Captain Jack Sparrow asking about the rum’s whereabouts. Please think carefully before giving Depp any more awards or reasons to attend award shows.