We're now waist-deep in awards season, and the Grantland staff would like to take this opportunity to remind all the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Collar nominees out there that should they have to step up to that podium and take that mic on national television, they owe it to themselves to study up beforehand and see how the pros handle it. Here are our favorite awards show acceptance (and unacceptance) speeches from all corners of the entertainment world.
There's no point in discussing the VMAs: Taylor Swift half-sang about the guy she's never ever getting back together with, One Direction pranced about like enchanted boy-band hobbits turned loose on the Shire's karaoke night, and Chris Brown and Drake both won something without a violent exchange of bottle-fire, while Rihanna, looking amazing, sat nearby chatting with Katy Perry. It's outrageous and weird that MTV even bothers with handing out awards for videos, having abandoned that part of their programming strategy virtually the moment they first touched their lips to the reality-TV crack pipe, but, as the kids say, it is what it is. (Also: Don't listen to the kids! They made One Direction a thing!) Moonmen for everybody!
With Tyler the Creator on his best, most grateful behavior at Sunday’s VMAs, the lane was wide open for someone to step in and wreak havoc. Nathan Williams and Steve Pope, of sunny San Diego punk act Wavves, were game. The two kept a running Twitter log of their drug-fueled mischief (example: “I guess I’m takin this acid #staytuned #vmasmeltdown”), which ended with Pope getting the boot from the Nokia Theatre. So how, exactly, do you get kicked out of the VMAs?
On Sunday night at the Video Music Awards, Adele walked onto a bare stage, stood next to a piano, and sang what was supposed to be a stirring rendition of “Someone Like You.” The Internet immediately declared the performance the victory of the night — our new favorite songbird had finally taken the roost she deserves. And for the most part, the Internet was right. Adele did deliver on what the public has grown to want out of her — a sleepy pigeon affect, dark, heavy eyelashes, a downturned gaze, subtle (but earnest!) hand motions, Fructis’d hair, and that throaty, searching contralto. But while Adele fulfilled her end of the deal, she did precious little else. There was no ambition in that performance, no sense of danger or discovery. And in the end, it was hard to see it as anything more than a wasted opportunity.
Jay-Z would seem to have many reasons to be happy these days: He and Kanye have the No. 1 album in the country, there likely won’t be an NBA season this year which should cut down on the Nets jokes, and, to top it off, he’s about to become a dad. But there is one small thing that consistently turns Jay’s smile upside-down: Chris Brown.