LAS VEGAS—There's so much to like about the 2010 AVN Awards Show that it's difficult to know where to begin.
Could the high point have been the high-powered performance by rap group Baby Bash of their recent hit "Outta Control," which featured scantily-clad beauties swinging from curtains and performing mid-air acrobatics in the show's newest location, the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino Resort? (Nah; too early; the evening's only just begun!)
Could it be the opening video presentation, a smash-cut collection of clips from this year's nominated movies and behind-the-scenes footage, all set to the familiar melody of "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's classic musical masterpiece Carmina Burana? (A possibility; it's certainly the most artistic video AVN has ever composed.)
Could it be the appearance of famous comedian Dave Attell, co-hosting the show with Wicked Pictures contract gal Kirsten Price and Digital Playground's newest starlet Kayden Kross? (Couldn't rule them out—and at least one veteran star opined that Attell was the show's best comedian since Richard Jeni back in the early '90s.)
The audience ate up Attell's self-deprecating style, particularly when he noted early on that compared with the high-fashion attendees at the show, "I look like a greeter at Olive Garden." Attell also claimed that one of his favorite adult series is Monster Cocks, remarking about a particular boxcover which had a starlet's face almost obscured by a big black cock, "That's when you know you have a big dick: When you can use it as a disguise."
Perhaps Attell's best line, though, was what he imagined he'd say if called upon to pull anal beads out of a performer's ass: "And the winning Powerball numbers are...."
But of course, the main reason the show was so well attended was the awards themselves, and this year's nominees certainly didn't disappoint.
Among the nominated movies, the big winner was Adam & Eve's post-apocalyptic blockbuster The 8th Day, nabbing seven awards including Best Video Feature, Best All-Girl Threeway Sex Scene, Best Videography/Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best DVD Extras, Best Packaging Innovation and Best Online Marketing Campaign—Individual Project.
"This was a really difficult movie for us to make, and it was almost legendary," noted director Ren Savant, speaking for the entire cast and crew which had joined him on-stage to accept the trophy. "And all these people behind me are such a big, big part of this. Everyone here knows a big release takes a lot of people to do."
The year's other massively-budgeted post-apocalyptic movie, Wicked Pictures' 2040, also scored some homeruns, most notably for Best Group Sex Scene for its post-2040 AVN Awards orgy—Kirsten joked, "I'd like to thank all the vaginas and all the cocks..."—Best Art Direction (largely attributable to the movie's director Brad Armstrong) and Best DVD Menus.
One of the evening's bigger surprises, however, was the number of awards given to Tori Black, both for her individual performances—she took home awards for Female Performer of the Year, for Interactive Sex with Tori Black, and for her all-girl threeway with Bree Olsen and Poppy Morgan and her all-girl couples sex scene with Lexi Belle in Girlfriends Films' Field of Schemes 5—and for her excellent work in her star vehicle, Tori Black Is Pretty Filthy, which snagged the Best Gonzo Release trophy, as well as awards for Tori's Best Tease Performance and her Best Threeway Sex Scene with Rebeca Linares and Mark Ashley. In addition to the armful of awards, she also got something for her wrist: a diamond bracelet provided to the Performer of the Year winner by ImLive.
As the nominees for Female Performer of the Year were about to be read, presenter Evan Stone loudly claimed, "There are 15 nominees for Female Performer—15!—and I've fucked all of them!"... to which his co-presenter Joanna Angel retorted, "Oh, yeah? Me too!"
2010 was also a record year for the number of categories that ended in a tie, most notably Best Parody, where voters were evenly divided on the accomplishments of both The Sex Files: A Dark XXX Parody, which also delivered this year's Best Actress award for star Kimberly Kane, and Not The Cosbys XXX, which scored Best Non-Sex Performance for Cosby look-alike Thomas Ward.
(As Kane accepted her Best Actress award, she thanked "all the nerds who love The X Files as much as me," and noted that she'd just gotten involved in playing Dungeons & Dragons.)
Voters also voted evenly for the dual winners of Best All-Girl Threeway Sex Scene, Best Director—Foreign Feature, and Best Overall Marketing Campaign—Company Image.
Another notable winner was ace parody director Will Ryder, who snagged trophies for Best Comedy (Flight Attendants)—he won the same award last year for Not Bewitched XXX—Best Parody (Not The Cosbys XXX), Director of the Year (Body of Work), and was responsible, at least in part, for Eric Swiss' Best Actor award for Not Married With Children XXX, Thomas "Cos" Ward's Best Non-Sex Performance, Best Online Marketing Campaign—Company Image (sitcums.com)
There were a few memorable lines from the evening's acceptance speeches, the best of which had to be Sasha Grey's acceptance of the Best Oral Sex Scene award for Throat: A Cautionary Tale.
"I really didn't think I was going to win this," Grey told the audience. "Can someone remind me who the guy was?"
Another memorable Grey-ism, said partly in response to an earlier Attell joke, occurred as she accepted her award for Best Anal Scene with Erik Everhard: "I am proud to say I've never had to take Vicodin to enjoy anal."
But though voters passed over Grey for Best Actress for Throat, they loved her supporting cast, giving Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor to Penny Flame and Tom Byron respectively, as well as rewarding Raven Touchstone's screenplay, and Vivid for Best Overall Marketing Campaign—Individual Project.
Interspersed between the awards were several entertainments, including an episodic "Behind the Scenes of the AVN Awards," which had Kirsten Price giving a visual demonstration of how many movies each voter had to watch, and noting, while sitting on editor Pete Warren's lap, that although most people think AVN employees get laid all the time, in fact, they have 68 percent less sex than the general population. Yet another segment featured anti-porn protesters outside AVN's new headquarters, and James Bartholet as a massage therapist looking for work.
Yet another mini-movie featured Evan Stone as "the new standard of sexual prowess," with several actresses trying to pry him off the couch to do his scene... but the actor won't budge, because he's so comfy in his flannel Snuggie that "it's like being inside a vagina"—and he even invites Ron Jeremy to join him!
One nice surprise was the trio who presented the Male Performer of the Year award: Popular male performer Nick Manning, award-winning transsexual Wendy Williams... and mainstream comedienne Margaret Cho, who joked of her on-stage partners, "I want one in my pussy and one in my ass." Also notable was the track record of winner Manuel Ferrara: "This is my third time, dude—I'm The Man!" he exclaimed. (Like Black, he also received a gift provided by ImLive along with his Performer of the Year award: a Tag Heuer watch.)
One award that no one can win twice is Best New Starlet, and selecting this year's winner had to be difficult for voters. In the end, however, they settled on popular busty blonde Kagney Linn Karter—and watching her bounce up on stage in her low-cut dress was an Extra Added Attraction.
Especially for anyone who'd been following the news for the past six months, the award that surprised no one was the Best Selling & Renting Title of the Year, which went to Digital Playground's Pirates 2: Stagnetti's Revenge, which the company played in its softcore version on college campuses all around the country.
One of the show's more touching moments was Alexander DeVoe's acceptance of the Best Ethnic-Themed Series—Black award for his Black Ass Master series. He brought his wife on stage with him, telling the audience, "I want to thank my wife for allowing me to do porn and come home and not be in trouble."
Another highlight of the evening was the video montage accompanying Sasha Grey's receipt of Crossover Star of the Year, which contained scenes from both her adult work and her several mainstream appearances in movies like Smash Cut and The Girlfriend Experience.
Yet another montage paid tribute to industry members who had died during the previous year, including long-time Evil Angel sales manager Victor Verrett, photographer/director Richard deMonfort, writer/director David Aaron Clark (who also received a special on-stage tribute from Evil Angel owner John Stagliano and general manager Christian Mann, who stepped up to receive Clark's trophy for Best Director—Feature for Pure), and the legendary Marilyn Chambers. (In the audience to see the tribute were Chambers' daughter McKenna and the star's best friend, Peggy McGinn.)
Attendees were also treated to a bevy of beauties recreating a scene that could have been taken from Buttman's Stretch Class, with Belladonna as the taskmistress appearing on the giant video screen behind them.
The final award, Best Video Feature, was preceded by another Baby Bash number, this time with the band's female entourage encouraging about two dozen female stars from the audience to come up on stage. The Award show had started a bit late, due to an extended "red carpet," and by the time it ended, almost exactly at midnight, everyone was ready either to party or to sleep...except the one AVN employee detailed to write this report.
AVN congratulates all of its award winners, and reminds readers that they can watch a replay of the ceremony on On Demand pay-per-view during February. (Click here for more information.)