Get ready for the epic Oscar rematch Hollywood has been waiting for. Recent Best Picture rivals “La La Land” and “Moonlight” face off again … for Best Kiss at the MTV Movie and TV Awards. Okay, so maybe that’s not the barn burner one might have hoped for, but it does bring these films back together for the first time since envelopegate. And it’s not an insignificant award given the nature of the nominees.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are nominated for their “La La” lip-lock, and they’re the frontrunners to win according to the collective predictions of hundreds of derbyites — they get leading odds of 11/10. Interestingly, they’ve both previously competed in this category separately, and they’ve also competed together.
Gosling won this award with Rachel McAdams for “The Notebook” in 2005. Stone was nominated with Andrew Garfield for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” in 2015. And Gosling and Stone previously paired up to compete for this award in 2012 when they co-starred in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” In addition, Stone won Best Comedic Performance for “Easy A” in 2011 and received the honorary Trailblazer Award in 2012. So both actors have proven formidable together and apart.
Ranked second with 10/3 odds are Emma Watson and Dan Stevens for Disney’s blockbuster remake of “Beauty and the Beast.” This is the first MTV nomination for Stevens, but it’s the 12th for Watson when you include her additional nomination this year for Best Actor in a Movie. And like Stone, Watson was given the Trailblazer Award (2013). “Beauty and the Beast” is by far the biggest hit film nominated in this category with over $1 billion in worldwide box office receipts, and that alone makes it a force to be reckoned with in this popular vote of online fans.
Next up is “Moonlight,” which also gets 10/3 odds for the kiss between Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome. Neither actor has been nominated for an MTV Award before, and “Moonlight” was a small film that might not have reached the mass of MTV fans despite winning the Oscar for Best Picture. However, it’s still significant to have a same-sex kiss competing in this category, and that could resonate with an MTV generation so woke that these awards established a new category for Best Fight Against the System.
Same-sex kisses have won this category before, but they’ve mostly been intended to titillate (Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar in “Cruel Intentions”) or were played for laughs (Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott in “American Pie 2,” Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen in “Talladega Nights”). The only unabashedly romantic same-sex kiss ever to win this award was between Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain.” The significance of that award wasn’t lost on Gyllenhaal, who said in his acceptance speech, “This is a real honor, not just for me and Heath but for all of you, that you picked this movie and this kiss over all the other ones … Thank you, not just from me, but from all those people struggling with love, which is all of us, as we continue to.” So while this category is usually not to be taken very seriously, it also has the potential to unexpectedly signal a cultural shift of American youth towards acceptance.
Ranked fourth with 4/1 odds are Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick for “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” This is the only nomination for the film, but underestimate them at your own risk. Efron is so popular with MTV fans that he’s won five times, including Best Male Performance for “High School Musical 3” (2009) and Best Shirtless Performance — twice, for “That Awkward Moment” (2014) and “Neighbors” (2015). And Kendrick is a two-time winner, claiming Best Breakout Star for “Up in the Air” (2010) and Best Musical Moment with the cast of “Pitch Perfect” (2013).
Rounding out the category with 5/1 odds are Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard for “Empire.” Henson has two other nominations this year (Best Actor in a Movie and Best Hero for “Hidden Figures”), and she’s been nominated six times in her career overall without a win. Howard was previously nominated for Best Performance for “Hustle and Flow” (2006), and he and Henson actually shared another Best Kiss nomination for that film as well, so Gosling and Stone aren’t the only nominees staging an on-screen romantic reunion.
Be sure to make your MTV Movie & TV Award predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so Hollywood insiders can see how their movies and TV shows are faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the ceremony airs on May 7. And join in the fierce debate over these awards taking place right now in our forums.