Stars including Jennifer Coolidge and Pedro Pascal have voiced their support for striking Hollywood writers at the pre-recorded MTV Movie and TV Awards.
The annual event had been due to return to LA’s famous Barker Hangar in Santa Monica live on Sunday night but the live show and red carpet were scrapped at the last minute in favour of a pre-recorded programme.
Scroll down for a full list of 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards winners
Drew Barrymore had been due to host the ceremony, but pulled out in solidarity with those on strike, saying without television and film writers there would be no award shows.
Show bosses said they were “pivoting away from a live show” as they “carefully navigate how best to deliver the fan first awards’ show we envisioned”.
The writers’ strike began on Tuesday after 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) stopped working after negotiations between them and the studios failed to establish a new contract before their current deal expired.
Before the event was cancelled, the WGA had said it was planning to picket the awards.
The union is seeking higher minimum pay, more writers per show and less exclusivity on single projects.
Writers say they have suffered financially during the streaming TV boom, in part due to shorter seasons and smaller residual payments.
Half of the writers for TV series now work at minimum salary levels, compared with one-third in the 2013-14 season, according to Guild statistics.
Artificial intelligence is another issue at the bargaining table. The WGA wants safeguards to prevent studios from using AI to generate new scripts from writers’ previous work.
The strike is impacting some of America’s biggest shows, with Late-night US talk shows the first to suffer due to the need for their scripts to reference current events.
Daytime soap operas will follow, with primetime comedies and dramas the last to be affected due to their longer lead time.
Speaking on the pre-recorded MTV show as she accepted the comedic genius award, White Lotus star Coolidge said she stood “side by side” with those on strike, saying they were “fighting for the rights of artists everywhere”.
She went on: “You know, almost all great comedy starts with great writers.
“As a proud member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild), I stand here before you tonight, side by side with my sisters and brothers from the WGA (Writers Guild of America), that are fighting right now, fighting for the rights of artists everywhere.”
Pascal, who stars in the video-game adaptation The Last Of Us, acknowledged those “fighting very hard” for fair wages, as he accepted one of his trio of MTV awards on the night.
The hit show, written by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, won best show, while Pascal took 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 are all… standing in solidarity with the WGA that is fighting very hard for fair wages. We thank you, we love you.”
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British actor James Quinn, who won the award for breakthrough performance for his role in season four of Stranger Things, also hailed the striking writers.
He said: “I don’t think that people would connect with a character like Eddie or others in the Stranger Things universe without compassionate, intelligent, quality writing.
“Being a writer is a hard job. It deserves respect. If we respect each other, we can cultivate a kinder, more inclusive, more collaborative environment for everyone… that’d be nice.”
Elsewhere, the show’s top prize – best movie – went to the slasher film Scream VI.
Tom Cruise was awarded best performance in a movie for his high-octane sequel Top Gun: Maverick, sending a message to fans from the cockpit of a plane.
The last WGA strike, in 2007 and 2008, lasted 100 days. The action cost the California economy an estimated $2.1bn (£1.68bn) as productions shut down and out-of-work writers, actors and producers cut back spending.
Full list of 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: The Kardashians
Breakthrough Performance: Joseph Quinn (Stranger Things)
Best Reality On-Screen Team: Katie Maloney, Ariana Madix, Scheana Shay and Lala Kent (Vanderpump Rules)
Best Comedic 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 (The 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 & Me
Best Show: The Last Of Us
Best Musical Moment: Purple Hearts, “Come Back Home”
Best Performance in a Show: Jenna Ortega (Wednesday)
Best Villain: Elisabeth Olsen (Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness)
Best Kick-Ass Cast: Stranger Things
Best Song: “Carolina” by Taylor Swift (Where The Crawdads Sing)
Best Host: Drew Barrymore (The Drew Barrymore Show)
Best Movie: Scream VI