15 Memorable Moments From The People's Choice Awards

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
Every January, awards season kicks off with the delightfully weird People's Choice Awards. It's truly unlike any other ceremony: The winners are determined by plebeians with Internet access, categories change constantly (debuting this year is Favorite TV Character We Miss Most), and there's the longstanding rumor that those who take home trophies are informed ahead of time. Plus, the cross-pollination of music, movies, and television allows entertainers of all kinds and calibers to interact. As a result, nearly anything can happen — like these 15 notable moments from years past.
The 41st annual People's Choice Awards will air January 7 at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.
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Queen Latifah Harasses the Cast of Twilight

During the 2011 telecast, host Queen Latifah made a beeline for front-row attendees Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner; what ensued was three of the most awkward minutes in the show's history. Posing as the ultimate Twilight fangirl, Latifah addressed the trio by their characters' names, misheard (then mocked) Pattinson's British accent, and inexplicably blurted out "Pop that collar!" to a visibly uncomfortable Stewart. (The actress reacted by slumping in her seat and literally hiding her face in her hands.) When even the perfectly media-trained Lautner looks like he wants you to vaporize, you have taken the bit too far.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television.
Friends Begins Its Awards Domination

Sometimes, "the people" are embarrassingly wrong in naming the best new television comedy series. (Still not sure how $#*! My Dad Says won in 2010.) But, in 1995 voters were spot-on, awarding that title to Friends. Five years later, after Seinfeld ended, the show hit its groove and won five consecutive Favorite Television Comedy Series awards. Also from 2000 to 2004, Jennifer Aniston collected four Favorite Television Performer trophies for her portrayal of the impeccably coiffed Rachel Green.
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Jennifer Hudson Delivers A Super-Emotional Speech

Jennifer Hudson has won Academy, BAFTA, SAG, Grammy, and Golden Globe awards, but her most moving speech came in 2014 when she was honored for her off-screen talents. She received the Favorite Humanitarian Award for her and her sister Julia's work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, named after Jennifer's 7-year-old nephew (and Julia's son) who was murdered in 2008. The Chicago-based organization helps children by providing tangible items (like school supplies, food, and toys) as well as positive experiences. "Where we come from, all you hear about is who shot who and who went to jail," Hudson told the audience in her acceptance speech. "We want to show them that I came from the same area as you, and if I can do it, you can do it too. There is more to life than the block you live on."
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"Seat Coordinator" Jane Lynch Puts Everyone In Their Place

For this pre-recorded segment shown during the 2012 awards, Glee's Jane Lynch took on another gruffly authoritative role: Eloise Dunk, longtime seat coordinator to the stars. She gave Entertainment Tonight's Mark Steines a behind-the-scenes tour of her duties, which included roping off enough space for Lady Gaga's rumored uranium pantsuit. During their sit-down interview, Steines invited Dunk to reflect on her career, asking, "If you could go back in time and change one seat assignment, what would it be?" Dunk deadpanned: "Abraham Lincoln."
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Ellen DeGeneres Sets An Awards Record

If there were ever a need to present evidence that Ellen Degeneres is one of the most beloved entertainment personalities of all time, exhibit A would be her trip to the stage in 2014. It marked her 14th win, a record for the People's Choice Awards, and her trademark wide-eyed soliloquy proved why she was there: It was charming, humble, and ended with a good-natured dig at fellow daytime TV host nominee Oprah Winfrey (a "lovely, single, African-American woman who works 80 hours a week to get by").
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Taylor Swift Gracefully Fends Off Olivia Munn

After edging out superstars like Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift glided onto the stage to accept the award for 2013's Favorite Country Artist. But, when she went in for a hug, presenter Olivia Munn stood stone-cold and informed her, "If you want to thank me first, it makes the most sense." With flashback to Kanye-gate on everyone's mind, Swift quipped, "This always happens!" Munn eventually relinquished the trophy (and the spotlight), and Swift seamlessly segued into her speech. Even the producers seemed out to get her, though: Fresh off her breakup from Harry Styles, she exited the stage to One Direction’s "Live While We're Young."
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Ian Somerhalder And Nina Dobrev Laugh Off Awkward Win

The Vampire Diaries fans imploded when costars Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev shacked up on the show and then began dating in real life. But, art imitates life only so much, and when the actors broke up, their characters remained a couple. Complicating matters further was their win for Favorite On-Screen Chemistry in 2014 — which they accepted with smiles, adorable banter, and a quick friendly kiss. True professionals, those two.
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Photo: BEImages.
Jane Fonda Ties, Ties Again (And Again)

After winning the award for Favorite Motion Picture Actress in 1980, Jane Fonda was nominated again the next three consecutive years — and tied all three times. She shared the title with Goldie Hawn in 1981, with Sally Field in 1982, and with Katharine Hepburn in 1983. Fonda has been nominated three more times since then — but a second solid win still eludes her.
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Neil Patrick Harris Admits His "Hosting" Addiction

In the opening skit from the 2012 ceremony, host Kaley Cuoco noticed something peculiar in the audience: Neil Patrick Harris wearing a headset mic…and flanked by a pair of bedazzled showgirls. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that Harris also had on a tear-away tuxedo — the final clue that he'd been plotting a hosting takeover. Before he could break into a full music number, Cuoco summoned security to drag him (and his showgirls) away to “Glee-hab.”
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Photo: Courtesy of People's Choice Awards.
*NSYNC Gets Creative With Outfit Ratios

It seems a little mean to point and laugh at anybody's wardrobe choices from the early 2000s. So we'll just leave this photo right here and retroactively congratulate *NSYNC on their 2001 win for Favorite Musical Group or Band. (They won again in 2002, and three of the five members showed up to collect the award — in infinitely more subdued ensembles.)
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When Brigitte Met Balki

Mismatched presenters are a long celebrated awards show tradition, and in 1987 the People's Choice producers paired up lovable oddball Bronson Pinchot with Danish femme fatale Brigitte Nielsen. It was an instantly, honestly funny gag: The Perfect Strangers star sported Warby Parker–like glasses and a case of the giggles, while Nielsen wore a slinky strapless gown and towered at least a foot overhead. "I just want to say that I think this is…really amazing," Pinchot informed Nielsen's bosom. (Fun fact: Nearly 20 years later, both presenters starred on VH1's The Surreal Life — though on different seasons.)
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Win-Win: Brit Wins Big, Looks Beautiful

America has always been rooting for Britney Spears, but it turns out they haven't actually been voting for her. Somehow, Brit managed to be in the public eye for over a decade — and provide us with works of staggering genius like "…Baby One More Time," the entire Blackout album, and, um, Crossroads — without winning a single People's Choice Award. Finally, in 2014, Spears was crowned Favorite Pop Artist while looking the most bathed and blonde she had in years. And, for old time's sake, she chewed a wad of gum as she thanked her family, friends, and fans.
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The Writers' Strike Silences Joaquin Phoenix

The 2008 telecast was canceled due to the Writers Guild of America strike, and a TV special with pre-taped acceptance speeches from the winners was aired in its place. The most memorable was Joaquin Phoenix's acknowledgement of his Favorite Leading Man award, which he scrawled on a series of cue cards and flipped through, Love Actually–style: "I'm speechless without the writers," the cards read in part. "Seriously. But in my own quiet way, I want to thank the millions of fans that voted for me for favorite leading man." It was uncharacteristically sweet of the notoriously private actor — so we'll forgive him (or his assistant) for misspelling his own name as "joaqin" on the second card.
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Photo: REX USA/Rob Latour.
The Old Trophy Gets Some New Parts

In 2010, after spending 35 years shaped as a flame (hand-cut from Waterford® crystal), the People's Choice trophies got a makeover. Winners are now awarded with an object that more closely resembles a giant vagina (hand-cut from Waterford® crystal). In the end, it was our fault: Like the categories themselves, the winning new design was determined by the American public.
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The Bridesmaids Team Channels Wilson Phillips

Bridesmaids won Favorite Comedy Movie in 2012, and while its star and cowriter Kristen Wiig wasn't on hand to accept, the rest of the cast and crew didn't disappoint. Producer Judd Apatow appeared at first to be giving a Friday Night Lights–inspired motivational speech: "No one can change your life except for you," he intoned. "Don't ever let anyone step all over you. Just open your heart and your mind. Is it really fair to feel this way inside?" It wasn't until Maya Rudolph chimed in — "Someday...somebody is gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye!" — that most people caught on to the recitation of Wilson Phillips' feel-good anthem "Hold On" (which saw a major resurgence in karaoke bars after that movie brought it back in a big way).
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