Hey, you can still go online and vote for your favorite New Comedy and Drama Series for next Tuesday’s People’s Choice Awards (helpful hint/elbow-to-ribs — go with “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Prison Break”), but it seems to me that this is a fairly redundant exercise. Can’t you more or less figure out the “people’s choice” by what’s big at the box office or high in the ratings? Apparently not: Consider the Favorite TV Comedy category, in which a long-gone series (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) vies for top honors with “The Simpsons” and “That ’70s Show,” the latter’s presence here automatically rendering the entire enterprise a big joke, given that only about 5 million people might watch that long-depleted show on any given week, as opposed to, say, the 15-million-plus who see the un-nominated “Two and a Half Men.” (And to confuse things further, “Desperate Housewives” — considered a comedy series on every other nominees list — here is transformed into a drama as gritty as its competition “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”)
The movie categories boggle the mind further. Nicolas Cage — whose two movies last year, “The Weatherman” and “Lord of War,” were hardly the choice of any person (I don’t believe they made $25 million between them) — is a Favorite Male Movie Star nominee. Jennifer Garner, whose “Elektra” pulled a decisive tank job, is a Favorite Female Action Star nominee (as is Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose “Zorro” sequel fared almost as dismally; they must’ve just had to round out the category). Matthew McConaughey’s presence in the Favorite Male Action Star category (for, um, “Sahara?”) underscores just how miserable a year 2005 was for action flicks. “Coach Carter,” a modest box-office performer, somehow pulled a nomination for “Favorite Movie Drama.” I’m not saying that publicists or managers or studios use money or muscle to secure these rather meaningless nominations, but — oh, wait, yes I am. That’s precisely what I’m suggesting.
But they forgot one category: Favorite Stupid Name for a People’s Choice Award Category. The nominees: Crest Whitestrips Fans Favorite Smile, Nice ‘N Easy Fans Favorite Hair and Olay Total Effects Fans Favorite Look. Do the winners actually have to use the product?
Full disclosure: I’m friends with one of the guys who’s writing the ceremony. Until, that is, he reads this.