In flagrant disregard of the decorum and dignity one expects from the MTV Movie Awards, Aubrey Plaza interrupted Will Ferrell’s acceptance speech for his Comedic Genius Award, a moment that threatened to render that honor all but meaningless. As you can see in the video below, Ferrell was attempting to lend the appropriate gravity to being handed a gold-painted popcorn bucket and told by a network geared at easily distracted 13-year-olds that you are a genius, when Plaza sauntered onto the stage and attempted to wrest it away from him. Ferrell refuses to relent, instead of asking Plaza if she’s okay. “Yup,” she replies, before giving up and returning to her seat, where she spilled her drink and looked vaguely embarrassed. Or vaguely pleased with herself, as is Aubrey Plaza’s inscrutable way. “Aubrey Plaza, everyone—just like we rehearsed it,” Ferrell said, hoping to smooth over the night’s one moment of spontaneity.
Of course, there’s some debate over whether the moment was spontaneous. MTV, for its part, has insisted that it wasn’t planned, adding that Plaza was asked to leave by security shortly thereafter. (In response, Plaza tweeted only, “Thanks for the advice @kanyewest went better than planned!” in reference to that one time Kanye West did something kind of egomaniacal.) Still, it’s telling that Plaza was seated in the front row, making her “stage crash” all the more convenient. It’s also worth noting that Plaza had the name of her upcoming movie, The To-Do List, hash-tagged across her chest—a movie released by CBS Films, which is a corporate sibling of MTV. Could this have been an engineered moment of soulless marketing, cynically interrupting this otherwise pure celebration of cinema?