This Sunday, in the midst of Conan O'Brien jokes, celebrities shamelessly plugging their summer blockbusters, and awkwardly placed musical performances, the MTV Movie Awards will give Mark Wahlberg the MTV Generation Award. The honor has been around since 2005 and has been doled out to 10 actors (only two of whom are women, but that's a whole other can of worms).
According to MTV, the Generation Award is given to an actor who has "shown us a variety of impressive roles, a personal and professional flair and of course, an awesome level of talent." So the real question is does Wahlberg deserve the award? In fact, have any of the recipients deserved the honor and do they still? Let's investigate, shall we?
2005: Tom Cruise
Other than his Oprah couch debacle, Tom Cruise was still at the height of his bankability in Hollywood in 2005. Cruise was fresh off a critically acclaimed role in Collateral and was getting ready to release his big-budget, Steven Spielberg blockbuster War of the Worlds. No matter what your opinion of Cruise and his, ahem, interesting spiritual choices, the actor has shown great depth in many of his roles from dramas like Born On The Fourth Of July, comedies like Tropic Thunder, and action films like Mission Impossible.
2006: Jim Carrey
Poor guy. Lately, Jim Carrey hasn't had the best luck with movie roles. But in 2006, Carrey was still riding high from Bruce Almighty and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Both roles show us that Carrey can do comedy and mature acting onscreen. The Truman Show is another great reminder of what Carrey really can do. Since receiving the award, Carrey showed us that versatility again with I Love You Phillip Morris and he's reuniting with Jeff Daniels for the sequel to Dumb and Dumber. I still have hope that Carrey can make a big comeback. And on the topic of "personal flair." Carrey may have too much of that, so he's covered.
Verdict: Deserving, But On Probation
2007: Mike Meyers
While he was at the height of Shrek franchise fame at the time, Meyers really hasn't done much since his Generation Award win in 2007. He hit a high with his cameo in Inglorious Basterds but also dropped to a real low the year before with The Love Guru. While Basterds was a bit of a departure for Myers, he hasn't really been given the best opportunity to show real variety.
Verdict: Not So Much
2008: Adam Sandler
It seemed as though Adam Sandler's future was poised to have both great comedies and some classically dim-witted ones with the releases of Funny People and Bedtime Stories. But Sandler's recent ventures have been more than just disappointing. I mean, That's My Boy? Really Sandman? But it seems hope is on the horizon, Sandler has been cast in two really interesting films that should be released later this year.
Verdict: Not So Much At The Moment, But Keeping Hope Alive
2009: Ben Stiller
Zoolander alone makes Ben Stiller deserving of every award made. But Stiller was truly on top of his game with the release of his film Tropic Thunder a year before he received the Generation Award. Since then, Stiller has made a few indie films like Greenberg as well as continued his animated movie success with the Madagascar series. He directed another film last year, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which opened to mixed reviews. But clearly, Stiller has shown variety and so much creativity that I'm willing to give him a pass for even his worst films.
2010: Sandra Bullock
Bullock won an Oscar in 2010 with The Blind Side and received another nomination for what is arguably one of the best films of 2013, Gravity. That's before we even mention her hilarious turn in The Heat, which showed that she hasn't lost her funny side. There's really no question that she deserves everything, including my friendship. Sandy, I'm available to hang out!
2011: Reese Witherspoon
Between Legally Blonde and Walk The Line, Witherspoon clearly deserved the award. But does Witherspoon still deserve it? This Means War was definitely not the best film of 2012 despite the two pretty men Witherspoon got to make-out with (Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, I'm available to both of you as well). But lately Witherspoon is turning back towards the dramatic features that bring her the most critical acclaim like the 2013 film Mud with Matthew McConaughey. Yeah, she's doing just fine.
2012: Johnny Depp
It seems as though we've heard more about Johnny Depp's recent engagement more than anything else he's done film-wise in the last few years. To be honest, his cameo in 21 Jump Street was the best role he's had recently and showed that he really can do great comedy even in the quickest of scenes. But the release of Transcendence could change that, and he's even got the film adaptation of Into The Woods coming up with Meryl Streep. A thriller and a musical in one calendar year? Those are definitely different.
Verdict: Deserving, But On Probation
2013: Jamie Foxx
While Foxx was receiving this awards right before the release of his terrible film White House Down, Jamie Foxx still definitely deserves his Generation Award. Foxx's career has gone from comedy to sports drama, to biopic, to musical, and everything in between. Foxx even excelled in thrillers like Collateral. There's no wonder he'll make Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 something really special.
2014: Mark Wahlberg
In his career, the artist formerly known as Marky Mark has played a psychotic boyfriend, a porn star with a gigantic package, a rock star, a criminal, a football star, a boxer, a police officer who shot Derek Jeter, a soldier, and a grown man with a Teddy bear. I'm not really sure who else is more deserving.