Those anxiously awaiting the return of Fox’s breakout hit “Empire” can get a bit of a fix when Taraji P. Henson and Terence Howard co-host the ninth annual Spike TV Guys Choice Awards, airing June 18.
It’s an always irreverent proceeding – with awards like ”Decade of Hotness” and “Biggest Ass Kicker” that nonetheless draws a stable of A-listers. In addition to the hosts, this year that list includes Sir Ben Kingsley, Clint Eastwood, Salma Hayek, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dwayne Johnson, Liam Neeson, Floyd Mayweather and Robert DeNiro.
“We’re here for one reason, because black people are taking over TV,” exclaimed Henson as the taping began on a soundstage at Sony Pictures Studios on June 6. It was dressed in a ski lodge theme, to “make white folks comfortable about the takeover,” Howard said.
It was fitting that DeNiro, who famously played a boxer in “Raging Bull,” presented “The Best Ever” award to Mayweather, who thanked fans and U.S. troops. “I will think about you fighting for our country,” he said.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave the “Brass Balls” award to Kingsley. “It’s great to be honored for what I love,” said the esteemed actor, who stars in the upcoming “Self/less” and the miniseries “Tut.” “I will now kiss my balls.”
Kingsley in turn presented another film star, Neeson, with the “Biggest Ass Kicker” trophy.
Mary J. Blige appeared to present an honor and dubbed Henson’s “Empire” character, Cookie Lyon, as HBIC, head bitch in charge. “Superstars don’t happen overnight. It takes years. I earned this effing honor,” Henson said in accepting the “Jean Claude Gahd Damn” award.
Eastwood looked out at the audience and thanked all the service people who were in attendance before anointing Johnson with the “Troops Choice” award. (He also made a crack about Caitlyn Jenner that will reportedly be cut from the broadcast.)
Johnson then lauded Eastwood as one of his heroes. “One of the reasons I do what I do is because we all live in a country where we are free,” he said, and then called up dozens of troops on stage before announcing a new show for them on Veterans Day of next year called “Rock the Troops.” “We will take some of the biggest stars in movies and music overseas to honor you,” he promised.
Hayek also acknowledged the armed forces in accepting her mantlers for “Decade of Hotness.” “From going to Kosovo in 1999, I learned that they depend on each other, that there is no discrimination, that they are brothers and sisters.”
Gyllenhaal was presented the “Guyconic” trophy by Rachel McAdams. “It’s a pleasure to be on the set of ‘The Shining,’” he said. “If this gives me anything, it is the opportunity to thank the Armed Forces.”
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog — a regular at Guys Choice for the past few years — took to the podium with a list of “douchebags of the year,” and it was a long one. Included were Josh Duggar, Johnny Depp, Brian Williams, Ben Affleck, Bill Cosby, Dr. Oz, Robert Durst, Tom Brady, Warren Sapp, Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell, Alex Rodriguez, Zayn Malik, Dennis Hastert, and the “Entourage” movie — for being “a date rape — I mean night movie.”
Chelsea Handler became the first female ever to be awarded the coveted mantlers for the “Funniest M.F.” award.
And Chris Pratt, star of the blockbuster “Jurassic World,” went home with the Guy of the Year award.
(“Guys Choice 2015” premieres on Spike TV Thursday, June 18, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.)