I’m mostly writing this on my BlackBerry from seat N8 at the AVN Awards at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, often described as the “porn Oscars”. Prizes will be handed out in more than 100 categories, ranging from Best Fem-Dom Strap-On Release to Best DVD Menus. Like the Oscars, minor category winners are pre-announced, so we may not get to see the winner of Best Threesome up close. (Even in the on-stage categories, only a selection of the nominees are named.)
Save for a lot more swearing, the AVN Awards definitely aspire to the Oscars model. There’s allegedly humorous video interludes, a roll call of industry notables who’ve died in the past year, musical moments (“The Star Spangled Banner” as an anti-censorship number) and heartfelt speeches along the usual lines, thanking managers, directors, and, naturally, the fans.
On the other hand, you don’t often hear Angelina Jolie thanking her fans in the fashion favoured by Female Performer of the year winner Jenna Haze: “I love fucking for you. I will spread my legs forever in this fucking business for you and this is just the beginning of my sluttiness.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. N8 is the T-shirt district, where cheapskate fans and observers like me congregate. On the floor, where the industry types pay far more for tables, everyone has their best finery on. Professionally speaking, these women rarely get to wear so many clothes. Some of those sequins must chafe though.
At 0930pm we hear “please take your seats, the show will begin in a few moments”. I don’t believe it. The tickets say 0900pm, and even I, a professional show-up-stupidly-early type, didn’t leave my dinner, 25 minutes walk away, until 0850pm. I know timeliness is not a priority in the adult industry.
Rather predictably, Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” plays while we wait. To my right, a couple in their 60s are dancing wildly amongst the impatient crowd. Perhaps they’re swingers. Perhaps they just really liked Busty MILFs of Boobsville.
Then we’re told “You have 4 minutes to get to your seat”. It’s not a sell-out, so I could probably move forward, but I don’t bother. One row from the back is probably quite close enough to this crowd. The fat raincoaters along from me have moved, which is why I can describe them as fat raincoaters on this screen and not risk them beating me up.
Several false alarms later, the pre-show video begins. It’s breasts and jiggling galore, though nothing hardcore. The show gets broadcast eventually on Showtime, so while prizes may be handed to movies called Blow Me Sandwich 12, we won’t be seeing any highlights. Indeed, in most categories, we’ll only see a selection of the nominees, thus avoiding too many mentions of titles like Make Her Ass Scream Louder Bitch.
Censoring the stars is more difficult. Last time I attended this event in 2007, the most memorable line was “God bless anal fisting”. Will that comment be topped tonight?
Its 0955pm when Flo Rida finally takes the stage to open the show. He’s quite a big (and current) name for a show of this type; clearly them rappers love the porn. He’s miming, which is dull if expected.
Then the star lineup for tonight is announced, but the sound is so bad I can’t make most of them out. I don’t suppose it matters. Co-host and self-described “big black bitch” comedian Thea Vidale comes on and does a pretty good routine about the industry, which I can only imagine will be cut down quite heavily for broadcast. A few random highlights, most based on abusing the audience:
Once official co-hosts (and full-time porn veterans) Belladonna and Jenna Haze take the stage, the handing out of awards begins. I’m not going to run through every one, partly because that’s what AVN is for, but mostly because watching porn stars try and make bad scripted lines funny is even more painful than watching professional actors do it at the real Oscars. The set designers don’t help the cause: everyone walks on via a row of stairs, and bimbo after bimbo in hooker heels has to mince down them to avoid falling headfirst onto the stage.
Of course, what I’m really here for are the unscripted comments. The unnamed star of The Gauntlet 3 (Best Gonzo Release) went straight to the point: “I swallowed a lot of cum that day.”
Sunny Lane, whose performance in Big Wet Asses 13 scored her a gong for Best Anal Sex Scene, offered a similar insight into technique that you’ll probably never hear from Meryl Streep: “He definitely knows how to work that soda can cock. I prepared for the scene by using a butt plug while I got my makeup done.”
Some people were apparently similarly occupied during the show. Male Performer of the Year James Deen was nowhere to be found, and his award was accepted by some random woman from his table who wondered onto the stage: “James, where the fuck are you? He went to the bathroom 10 mins ago and he hasn’t come back.” Draw your own conclusions.
Other stars were keen to emphasise their normality. Mr Marcus (winner of Best Couples Sex Scene with Monique Alexander) praised his co-star: “You can’t be a good fuck if you’re not good people.”
But most went for blunt and crude. Hall of Fame winner Tera Patrick emphasised the finance: “Only in America can you make a million dollars from the power of your pussy.” But that takes effort, as Jenna Haze emphasised: “I really worked so fucking hard this year. I sucked a lot of dick.”
For sheer directness, Best New Starlet winner Stoya thanking “each and every person that jerks off to my smut” took some beating. Apologies for that pun. It’s still not as bad as Clever Title Of The Year: Strollin In The Colon. Yikes.