LAS VEGAS – Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge sailed off with the lion's share of the booty at the 2009 AVN Adult Movie Awards. Digital Playground's heavily hyped super-big budget epic scored 15 prizes, including Best Video Feature. That's half the 30 it was nominated for, and four more than the original Pirates in 2006.
Digital Playground took home seven more awards, including four for Cheerleaders and the Best New Starlet prize for contract star Stoya.
Awards were presented to a nearly full house at the 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center in a fast-moving, no-nonsense show that clocked in at under two hours. Like last year's edition, the 2009 AVN Awards show is slated to reach a much larger audience on Showtime.
Host Thea Vidale, who tore up the place in 2005, returned with a arsenal of jokes in praise of both America’s new first family and the larger family of the porn industry.
She was joined on stage by superstars Belladonna and Jenna Haze, both looking stunning and exuding charisma. They threw themselves with high spirits into their roles as straight women to the bawdy Vidale.
The co-hosts got to accept awards of their own on stage. Belladonna shared the prize for Best All-Girl-Girl Couples Sex Scene with Jesse Jane for their smoking encounter in Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. "This girl is strong," she said of the petite blonde. "It took me a lot to pin her down."
Haze won the highly coveted prize of Female Performer of the Year, making her only the second woman to win both that and Best New Starlet (the first was the late Missy.)
The jubilant Jenna drew cheers from the crowd by echoing Jenna Jameson’s infamous remark from last year: "I will spread by legs forever in this fucking business for you—this is just the beginning of my sluttiness."
The evening’s oddest moment came when James Deen was announced as Male Performer of the Year.
Though he had been quite visible all evening, the notoriously stage-shy actor was suddenly nowhere to be found. Joanna Angel, his friend and frequent sex partner, accepted for him and kept repeating, "Where is he?" He did eventually show up to accept his award offstage, and later admitted to suffering a panic attack that prevented him from taking the stage.
"I can have sex in front of a room full of people, but I can't get up on stage and say thank you," Deen told AVN. "But I'm honored to accept the award. When I grow up, maybe I can do it. My goal for next year is to be able to go up there and just say those two words: Thank you."
In what may be the final year of the film categories, the six nominations were split evenly between directors Paul Thomas and Andrew Blake. Vivid won the Best Film trophy for Thomas' Cry Wolf, and Blake was awarded Best Cinematography for Paid Companions (Studio A Entertainment).
Sunny Lane was thrilled to win the Best Anal Sex Scene prize for her first on-screen anal, with Manuel Ferrara, in Big Wet Asses 13. She exclaimed, "He’s so passionate, so strong, and he certainly knows how to work that soda-can cock."
Best Gonzo Release went to Vouyer Media's The Gauntlet 3, accepted by director Vince Vouyer ("This was a two-month ordeal and a very good project for me") and one of its three stars, Faye Valentine ("I swallowed a lot of cum that day").
Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge won Best Video Feature and Best Director, for company co-founder Joone, whose acceptance speech was a laconic "I’m honored." The movie took three of the year's four big acting awards: Actor, Evan Stone; Supporting Actor, Ben English; Supporting Actress: Belladonna.
The award for Best Actress went to jessica drake for Fallen, which she called "the best movie I have ever been in." The highly praised Wicked Pictures production won three other awards (including Best Double Penetration Scene for Drake, Brad Armstrong and Eric Masterson). Armstrong, the director, was named Director of the Year.
Pirates II also won for Best Screenplay, Best Videography, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Makeup, Best DVD Extras, Best High Definition Production and Best Overall Marketing Campaign - Individual Project.
Also scoring awards in double digits were Evil Angel, with 15 for the various directors in its distribution network, followed by Jules Jordan Video with 10 for Jordan and the directors and studios he distributes,(including Best New Production Company Brazzers.
Elegant Angel was close on their heels with nine awards, mostly in niche categories (Big Butt, Big Bust, Squirting, Solo, Young Girl).
Best Sex Comedy went to X-Play’s Adam & Eve-distributed Not Bewitched XXX, which also won Best Solo Sex Scene for Teagan Presley and Best Non-Sex Performance for Nina Hartley.
Best Interracial release went to Jules Jordan's Lex the Impaler 3, and Jordan was named Best Director-
The award for Best Web Starlet, one of several new Internet-related categories, went to veteran Internet presence Catalina Cruz.
The swiftly paced show, produced by Gary Miller, began rambunctiously with a number by hip-hop star Flo Rida with the Spearmint Rhino dancers. It featured an appearance by Larry Flynt and an unusual politically-themed presentation produced by John Stagliano: a video montage of Bush Administration abuses accompanied by an a cappella rendition of the National Anthem by singer Jazmin, a professional Whitney Houston impersonator from the Legends in Concert troupe. It brought the audience to its feet.
Another emotional moment was AVN President Paul Fishbein’s tribute to ten adult industry stalwarts who passed away in 2008. He dedicated the show to one of them: his close friend, producer Dick Miller.
Mark Stone’s popular video vignettes drew their usual laughs, especially the one about the "Porn Bailout," with porn stars testifying before a very real (thanks to TV news clips) panel of Congressmen.