The categories for the nominations for this year's MTV Movie Awards are positively millennial: among the more conventional "Movie of the Year" and Best Male and Female Performances, there are also super-cool categories like "Best #WTF Moment" (ah, the pleasure of a gratuitous hashtag) and "Best Scared as S**t Performance" (asterisk credit to MTV). And hey! There's also some really fun, backwards sexism present in the categories themselves: MTV has decided to include a "Best Hero" slot as well as a "Best Shirtless Performance" slot. Guess which category has a woman nominated in it?
Aw, were you gonna say Best Hero? You'd think an awards show that has nominated The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in nearly every category (Movie of the Year, Jennifer Lawrence for Best Female Performance, Josh Hutcherson for Best Male Performance, Donald Sutherland, aka President Snow, for Best Villain...) would do a little justice and include J. Law in the Best Hero category, as that's LITERALLY her role in The Hunger Games, but nope.
Lawrence totally personifies Katniss Everdeen, and in Catching Fire she gave us another tight-jawed, arrow-shooting performance that obviously warrants her inclusion in the Best Hero category. She's markedly absent, though! Let's take a look at the nominees that beat her out: Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, Robert Downey, Jr. as Ironman in Ironman 3, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent in Man of Steel, Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Thor: The Dark World, and the cherry on top of this absurd sundae: Channing Tatum as John Cale in White House Down.
Again, that last one was Channing Tatum as John Cale in White House Down, which to my recollection, was not a movie but just a bunch of weird posters on the subway last summer. Obviously MTV has a very narrow view of what constitutes a hero; they could have even played it off as strictly a superhero category if they hadn't included Channing Tatum FROM WHITE HOUSE DOWN.
And in case you're wondering, no, there's no comparable "female" category for Best Hero, but why should there be a "Best Heroine" category when they could have just nominated Jennifer Lawrence alongside all these hulking dudes?
No one expects MTV to be progressive, but it's a blatant and narrow definition of who can be a hero on the screen. They had no problem, though, including a woman in their "Best Shirtless Performance" category, for which they are honoring Jennifer Aniston for a scene in We're the Millers, alongside her esteemed male colleagues Chris Hemsworth, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sam Clafin, and Zac Efron.
Jennifer Lawrence will just have to take solace in knowing that her character Katniss Everdeen actually is a hero, and if Channing Tatum wins, he can go pet his golden popcorn statue alone in a basement somewhere.
If MTV wants to front like they are at all keeping up with the times, they need to start broadening their sexist views of who can be what in Hollywood.
Check back on Sunday, April 13 for our coverage of the 2014 MTV Movie Awards. Best Hero category and all.