Pop Playground
The Kids' Choice Awards


yes, we now live in an age where every channel on basic cable has its own awards show, but Nickelodeon's Kid Choice Awards (revamped with the catchy "KCA" acronym) has been going strong for years, never failing to give Coolio his fair share of props. Now that the Tween Demographic (kids 8-13 who are incredibly adept at badgering their parents into buying things for them) has exploded, the KCA's have taken on a new prominence. Sandwiched between ads for brightly colored plastic are a mixed bag of the established and the up-and-coming, with a few never-will-be's thrown in for good measure. The fickleness and arbitrariness of the KCA award process is reflected in its ADD-sensitive camera work (no shot longer than 3 seconds!); its dubious respect reflected in Mike Myers' desperate attempt to remain ironically aloof of the proceedings that he is hosting while not pissing off the sponsors. All this, and the Olsen Twins covered in a neon-bukkake fountain of slime? I call it the most essential night of television – at least this week. Here's a wrap-up of this year's big winners.

Favorite Movie: Finding Nemo

It's Nickelodeon, of course the cartoon is going to win.

Male Movie Actor: Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey owes everything to the fecaphiliacs of the tween demographic, and it's not surprising he came up big here. Ashton Kutcher is a surprising nominee; his targets a bit older audience who can fully appreciate the mock repossession of Justin Timberlake's property. Myers' mugging is too ironized, and Eddie Murphy takes the role of KCA bridesmaid.

Female Movie Actor: Amanda Bynes (What A Girl Wants)

Poor Amanda. She has undoubtedly peaked, soon to be eclipsed by better managed, more ambitious, and prettier tween starlets like Hilary Duff and Mandy Moore. Rush release that record, girl. The other nominees (Cameron, Halle, Latifah) are all too old.

Voice From an Animated Movie: Ellen Degeneres (Finding Nemo)

Ellen has the distinct advantage of being the only nominee from a movie anyone cares about. I didn't even know they made sequels to The Jungle Book and Rugrats; Sinbad was apparently this year's token Dreamworks assault into the increasingly inconsistent Disney animated feature market. Ellen's desexualized, non-militant demeanor makes her the lesbian parents would accept as a babysitter, a winner for kids and families.

Favorite Music Group: Outkast

I thought Good Charlotte was a shoe-in, but never count out the influence of older kids with the tween demographic. The pre-teen oriented pop-punkers lost, as well middle-school heartthrobs B2K. No Doubt had No Chance, but it makes it look nice to have a girl featured in the list nonetheless. Big Boi's performance of "I Like The Way You Move" was hampered by poor sound, terrible camera work, and an overeager Farnsworth Bentley (he practically shoved Big Boi out of the frame in one shot). Eh, all I wanted to see was the umbrella dance anyway.

Favorite Male Singer: Nelly

It's been a slow year for Nelly, (especially compared to fellow nominee Justin Timberlake), but the memories of tween voters are long and fragmentary – Bow Wow was also nominated. Perhaps voters were turned off by JT's move away from bubblegum pop into more "mature" territory. Paging JC Chasez: here's your chance, man!

Favorite Female Singer: Hilary Duff

HOME TURF, BEYONCE.

Favorite Song: Outkast – Hey Ya

Further proof that everyone everywhere likes this song.

Favorite TV Show: All That

A venerable Nickelodeon sketch comedy/variety show, All That is also the only nominee with prominently featured non-whites. It's also the only nominee to feature a sibling of Britney Spears. Of course, All That is the only Nickelodeon show nominated, and even Queen of Tween Duff can't beat that advantage. Fear Factor's nomination should prove more binge-drinking fodder for host Joe Rogan.

Favorite Male TV Actor: Frankie Muniz

If you ask me, Malcom in the Middle fell off as soon as Muniz's voice changed. Lil Romeo was robbed!

Favorite Female TV Actor: Raven Symone

Remember when Raven was the cute, precocious toddler on The Cosby Show? Those days are long gone. Now she's a stocky, awkward, hammy star of her own eponymous show on the Disney Channel! The Lizzie McGuire brand is obviously in a slump as Duff concentrates on her music career, Jennifer Aniston probably didn't even know she was nominated, and Jamie-Lynn Spears' career is only in its nascent stages. Hence, Raven takes the prize as her handlers desperately hope she matures into a more comely, profitable incarnation.

Favorite Cartoon: Spongebob Squarepants

This LSD-burnout kid went on for about an hour about the merits of this show at my old apartment. No doubt the kids love it.

Favorite Sports Team: The LA Lakers

An odd category befitting the sport dilettantes of the 8-13 set, the Lakers went up against the Cubs, the Dolphins, and the Yankees. None of these teams have players bigger than Shaq. Or members with as many platinum albums as Shaq.

Favorite Male Athlete: Tony Hawk

If Shaq-Fu were as phenomenally popular as Tony Hawk's video games, he could have dominated this category too. At least Tony was gracious enough to thank the voting population for paying him to skateboard. You guys rule!

Favorite Female Athlete: Mia Hamm

The Williams sisters split the vote: they should have had a joint nomination, simply for the sake of the uncomfortably competitive victory speeches they would have given. Mia's Nike deal gives her the high profile she needs to succeed in this arena. Goal!

Favorite Book: Harry Potter Series

I'm glad it's not just adults reading these.

Favorite Video Game: Spongebob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom

The only nominee in this category that wasn't a promotional tie-in for something greater was Super Mario Advance 4, which is the Gameboy Advance adaptation of the classic Super Mario Brothers 3. Which is one of the best games ever made, you uncultured preteen masses. Mario started this shit, Spongebob, and he's going to finish this shit!

Favorite Fart In A Movie: Kangaroo Jack

Criminally overlooked at the Oscars, Kangaroo Jack finally receives its just rewards on Nickelodeon. I can only hope the Academy will take notice of the sequel (purportedly a dark, psychological thriller).

Favorite Celebrity Burp: Hugh Jackman

Nominees were recorded live at the show, and viewers voted during taping. Wolverine's creepily overenthusiastic showing sealed the deal on this one. Such a shame that the unwieldy orange blimp trophy is so unsuitable for cutting up drugs.


By: Gavin Mueller
Published on: 2004-04-07
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