HOLLYWOOD—The X-Rated Critics Organization had its annual awards at the Ohm nightclub on the upper level of the Hollywood & Highland Center, returning to the venue after a break while the club was remodeled. The ceremony was hosted by Wicked Pictures contract performers Asa Akira and Jessica Drake, with the participation of Evan Stone, who started the show with the Hall of Fame inductions.
Inductee Raven Touchstone, a veteran scriptwriter whose work dates back to the founding of XRCO in 1984, thanked "all the critics who were so generous to me. I was at the first XRCO Awards Show in February of 1984. ... Everybody was shitfaced and nobody stopped talking. There's no change."
A group of Wicked Pictures performers and directors thanked XRCO for the Hall of Fame induction of company president Steve Orenstein. Performer Briana Banks was inducted by Manuel Ferrara and Kayden Kross; Kross enumerated Banks' achievements before Ferrara admitted that he "came to America to have sex with Briana Banks," leading Kross to observe "Briana brought us together because of her vagina. So thank you, Briana." Banks thanked her fans, saying, "My comeback has been so phenomenal. I can't believe this is happening to me." She thanked "everyone who directed me, from Vivid to the scenes I'm doing now ... I wanted to thank you, and keep rockin' these scenes. Love you. Bye."
Performer/director/producer Joanna Angel said, "I am truly honored to be in the Hall of Fame. It is porno's polite way of telling you that you're old. But old and successful, so that means something. ... You've made me and my company and my ridiculous movies feel very important. I want to thank every single girl and every single guy that has ever worked for me. I wouldn’t be here it wasn't for all your penises and all your vaginas. I am truly honored to have had the most amazing tattooed sluts on my website. ... If anyone out there has agents or friends or whatever telling you you won't make it in this industry because you're too tattooed, tell them to fuck off."
Other inductees included Vivid co-founder Steven Hirsch, reviewer Don Houston, director Mason, '70s Golden Age performer Constance Money, Britney Rears performer Hillary Scott and Internet Adult Film Database honcho Jeff Vanzetti.
As the Hall of Fame inductions ended, Stone started the awards by saying, "Remember, it's nice enough to be nominated. ... Not really. It only counts when you win."
Akira and Drake took the stage, introducing Heart-On Girls Harley Jade and Anya Olsen and bringing Sarah Vandella and Riley Steele on stage to give out the first awards. Performer/director Tanya Tate, winning Best Lesbian Performer, thanked "all the girls who let me lick their pussies and all the directors—you know who you are."
Vanessa Veracruz and Carter Cruise were the next presenters, starting with Orgasmic Oralist. Winner Vicki Chase asked, "Is this my official hat trick award?" before thanking producers and her costars: "I feel like I've had oral sex with 90 percent of you. To earn this award once again, thank you. It's been a pleasure. And you're welcome." Performer/director Lexington Steele won Best POV Series for Lex's Point of View, and thanked "the XRCO, which has supported me over the years, and all the ladies that participated in the series. I'll see you guys again. Thank you." The Best Actor winner for Magic Mike XXXL was announced as "Derrick Fuckin' Pierce" from the stage.
Director MimeFreak and performer Luna Star presented the Best Ethnic Series to Blacked.com's My First Interracial. Director Greg Lansky spoke of "teamwork" and brought Jason Brown to the stage: "He's super shy. He's hating me right now." Brown said, "We're a very small-knit group and I love that we take care of each other. That's what it's really all about." The winner of Unsung Siren was Amber Rayne, who passed away in April. There was a moment of silence in her memory, which was observed among the audience if not the outlying bar area. Peter Pan XXX won Best Porn Parody, leading director Axel Braun to observe, "Where's Joanna Angel? I'm a huge fan of her parodies. It's been so long since I shot this movie I really don't remember much. Tinker Bell is here, she was great. Ryan Ryder was awesome. Steven St. Croix was amazing. Thanks to XRCO and Steve Orenstein and everybody at Wicked for allowing me to make this movie."
The next presenters, Kleio Valentien and Chanell Heart, gave Best Non-Feature Director to Greg Lansky, who thanked his performers, saying, "It's the hardest fuckin' job in the world. Adult performers are artists, and deserve to be respected as such. I'll never stop saying that."
"It's always an odd feeling going on stage alone, because you have so many people—performers, producers, and people on your team—and you're all alone on stage, on the spot, and you have to remember every single person along the way," Lansky told AVN. "Honestly, it's all teamwork. It's very humbling. I'm grateful to XRCO. It's a subjective matter of opinion, so I was hoping for it, I really wanted it. I was satisfied when I got it. Right now I feel very honored to be part of this."
Director Brad Armstrong, winning Best Drama Parody for Magic Mike XXXL, asked, "How did we beat Axel? What happened? He must have not been nominated. ... Thanks to all the studs who came and danced around on stage. And thanks to the ladies who screamed and threw their dollars on the stage."
Edyn Blair and Cassidy Klein announced Best Comic Parody winner Batman v. Superman XXX, bringing Braun back to the stage. He handed off to Carter Cruise, who said, "Axel is really awesome, and you guys should all start taking tequila shots." John Strong, winning Unsung Swordsman, thanked his co-stars and directors, saying "It's been a pleasure, and I couldn't have done it without you."
Presenters Akira Lane and Allison Kilgore professed mock outrage at announcing MILF of the Year winner Kendra Lust, which was accepted on her behalf by Nina Elle. Mainstream Adult Media Favorite was won by Jessica Drake.
"It's pretty amazing," Drake told AVN. "I forgot I was nominated until I was being driven here tonight and I was looking at the nominations. When I came across that nom I was, like, 'Reallly? Oh yeah, that's right.' When they called my name I didn't hear it. It's an honor, and people think I take my job too seriously, but when I win an award like that it makes me feel good because I think I'm being rewarded for all my hard work. It's a justification for all the sacrifices I've made during my career. It's really cool, and I love the new awards."
Anikka's Anal Sluts and Angela 2 tied for Best Gonzo Movie. "Anikka's Anal Sluts was the movie that started everything for us," Anikka Albrite told AVN. "If it wasn't for John Stagliano and Evil Angel we wouldn’t even have this movie, John liked the first scene we shot with Valentina Nappi, and told us to make four more and make a whole movie."
Axel Braun was back on stage after being named Best Parody Director, saying, "It was great to be nominated among some of the coolest people in the industry—Brad Armstrong, Joanna Angel, Will Ryder, and the other guy. It's really cool to get rewarded for something that I invested so much time in and am so passionate about."
James Bartholet and Katie Morgan announced the next awards. Bartholet faked out the band by announcing Axel Braun as Male Performer of the Year winner. "He wins everything!" The actual winner, Mick Blue, told AVN, "It's nerve-wracking every time. I still believe that every year the competition is very tough. Every performer out there has his own quality. Many times I think the races are really tight, and if you are lucky to come out as a winner, it's amazing. Without Anikka in my corner I wouldn’t be standing where I am right now. She changed my life over the past two years. She is the biggest supporter I have, and have ever had."
Best New Starlet winner Abella Danger thanked "the directors who inspired me, like Greg Lansky and Pat Myne. I appreciate this so much ... I'm gonna cry. I gotta go."
Wicked Pictures' Wanted took Best Epic. Performer Dick Chibbles called the production "10, 12, 15 days of hell. Stormy put all us Stormy Troopers out in the desert in 118 degrees. Seven trucks stuck in the sand. Seventeen people cried, and a 70-D exploded on a jib. This might pay for some of the damages."
Best Release went to Being Riley from Tushy.com. Accepting the award, director Lansky said, "Riley and I worked really fucking hard on this movie. There were a lot of other great movies nominated, so props to everyone." Indicating star Riley Reid, Lansky said, "This is a really, really special person to me. It's a real honor doing a movie with a real artist." Reid added, "This is a really special movie. It was the first time I took it up the butt, so that was awesome."
Akira and Drake announced the last award, Female Performer of the Year, won by Adriana Chechik and accepted by Brad Armstrong.
Among those present, in no particular order, were Melissa Hill, Pat Myne, Roy Karch, Max Hardcore, editor Sonny Malone, Kate England, Jonathan Morgan, Chanel Preston, Will Ryder, Mark Schecter, Sandra McCarthy, J. Crew, Tee Reel, Tali Dova, Lily Cade, Mark Spiegler, Shy Love, Kat Dior, Mr. Marcus, Scarlet Red, Lucky Starr, Alex Chance, Eric John, Ana Foxxx, Luke Wylder, Chris Streams, Flash Brown, “Porno Dan” Leal, Venus Lux, Karla Lane, Aiden Starr, Seth Gamble, Kristina Rose, Jennifer White, Kagney Linn Karter, Christie Stevens, Tia Cyrus, Heather Vahn, Reena Sky, Jodi Taylor, Small Hands, Casey Calvert, Eli Cross, Filthy Rich, Misty Stone, Ziggy Star, Dana DeArmond, Stella Cox, Lana Rhoades, Inna Sirina, Bridgette B., Markus Dupree, Christian Clay, Jean Val Jean, Mike Moz, Rachael Madori, Kira Noir, Melissa Moore, Alex Grey, Karlee Grey, Jessica Jaymes, Rick Shameless, Jonathan Morgan, Tara Morgan and many many other adult industry professionals.
The 2016 XRCO Awards were sponsored at various sponsorship levels by Sybian, Wicked Pictures, IAFD.com, Axel Braun Productions, Blacked.com/Tushy.com, DVDErotik.com, GlamorGirl, AGW Entertainment, Pipeline Multimedia, Naughty Business, SS Entertainment LLC, Adam & Eve and ATMLA.
Pictured above, from left: Axel Braun and Riley Steele; co-hosts Jessica Drake and Asa Akira; Greg Lansky