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Tolerance sealed with a best kiss

Times Staff Writer

It’s a bit loopy to search for cultural commentary in the MTV Movie Awards -- the trophy looks like shellacked popcorn for a good reason -- but there was an honest-to-goodness moment of gravity at the taping Saturday in Culver City when Jake Gyllenhaal accepted the award for best on-screen kiss for his lip-lock with Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain.”

There had already been plenty of jokes made at the film’s expense before pop star Justin Timberlake opened the envelope and read out the names (“Oh, it’s the fellas....” the singer said in a faint voice) and Gyllenhaal arrived at the microphone a bit grumpy. But then he seemed to realize that the award meant that the show’s voters, which is MTV’s viewers, might be (gulp) more mature and tolerant than Oscar voters. “It’s a big deal,” the actor said.

The show, which will air on Thursday, quickly returned to its familiar vibe, celebrating film with awards -- based on fan votes -- in such categories as best villain and sexiest performance. There were countless lewd references to the anatomy of host Jessica Alba and an extended celebration of the lifetime cinematic achievements of Jim Carrey, and Chewbacca the Wookie played drums during a performance by Gnarls Barkley. Last summer’s “Wedding Crashers” was the night’s big winner, collecting three trophies.

The show also made clear the staggering influence of comic books on Hollywood right now. At one point, the new Superman and Lex Luthor (actors Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey) handed an award to the new Batman (Christian Bale), who proceeded to thank his fiancee, whom he referred to, without irony, as “my Wonder Woman.” The show went back to Alba, who was nominated for her work in two comic book films, “Fantastic Four” and “Sin City.”

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A look at some behind-the-scenes moments from the Sony Pictures Studios gathering:

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How do you spell that? One of the first to arrive on the blue carpet was bleached blond amazon Brooke Hogan -- “Hulk Hogan’s daughter,” as her publicist consistently reminded the press, who seemed to need reminding.

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Where’s a stylist when you need one? Hogan looked spectacular in a fitted leopard-print gown, but the dress code was specifically inconsistent. The girls from “The Hills” (whom the media largely ignored) were dressed for prom, while the comedian Andy Milonakis, whom everybody wanted to talk to, was dressed like a 12-year-old in jeans and a camouflage shirt. By contrast, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly were dressed as NASCAR drivers and doing interviews in character to promote their new movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

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She needs support? Brett Ratner, flush with the success of his new movie, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” arrived with a looker on his arm and not much to say. “I’m here to support Jessica Alba,” he said. Then, a button popped off his jacket and fell into the press area.

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She doesn’t need support, either: When Jessica Simpson arrived, the crowd began to chant her name as Andrew Daly of “The Showbiz Show With David Spade” tried in vain to get the star’s attention. Instead she did a quick interview with MTV’s SuChin Pak, who was wearing a short magenta dress designed by “Project Runway” antihero Santino Rice. “Look at the two of us,” said Simpson, who was also wearing a short dress. “Saucy.”

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Sorry, gotta fly: One of the last people to come down the carpet was Routh, the star of the upcoming “Superman Returns.” “Hey, look, it’s Superman!” said “American Idol” contestant Kellie Pickler.

“Not too many questions,” said Routh’s publicist as he ushered him along. Superman was running late.

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Times staff writer Deborah Netburn also contributed to this report.


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