But it was Sacha Baron Cohen who gave the show it's trademark bizarro moment when he landed on Eminem - who may or may not have been deeply offended.
The popular vampire drama starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart sucked up the golden popcorn trophies for best movie, fight, kiss, breakthrough male performance and female performance during Sunday's over-the-top ceremony at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif., which honors the best in film from the past year as voted on by viewers.
Other winners included "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" star Zac Efron for male performance and his co-star Ashley Tisdale for female breakthrough performance. Miley Cyrus accepted the best song from a movie prize for "The Climb" from "Hannah Montana: The Movie," preventing "Twilight" from winning all six categories in which it was nominated.
Amy Poehler's urinating in a sink in "Baby Mama" won an award that was new to this year: The "WTF moment."
But even that was upstaged by Baron Cohen, who flew in above the audience as his flamboyant character "Bruno." Dressed in a pair of feathery white wings with his rear end mostly exposed, the comedian crashed into an overhead obstacle and was lowered directly into in Eminem's lap in the audience, his bare hindquarters in the rapper's face.
"Is the real Slim Shady about to stand up?" chirped Baron Cohen.
Eminem seemed visibly upset by the encounter, and members of his entourage roughly removed Baron Cohen as the rapper struggled to get out. But had Baron Cohen and MTV punked the self-styled homophobic rapper, or was he in on the elaborate joke?
Eminem acted visibly upset at the mishap, saying "Get this (expletive) off me" and turning his face away in disgust. He then stormed out with his entourage in tow - and cameras rolling - and beat a path for the exits.
Baron Cohen's descent to the audience was included in earlier rehearsals, but Eminem - who performed Sunday night - didn't take part in that piece of the run-through. As the rapper stormed off it sounded as though he was wearing a microphone, and cameras were in position to record his fast exit, but he was not seen or heard from again.
It wasn't the first tantrum for Slim Shady at an MTV ceremony: Sparks flew when the rapper was interviewed by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the 2002 show.
Before this year's broadcast, Heath Ledger was awarded the best villain trophy for his twisted turn as the Joker in "The Dark Knight." Jim Carey later won for best comedic performance for "Yes Man." Ben Stiller received the MTV Generation Award, the show's highest honor, from a trio of presenters: Efron, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and a weeping Kiefer Sutherland.
"Ben, I have never had the privilege of working with you, but when I see the remarkable consistency you display in your films, whether you're portraying a man with his balls caught in his zipper or a man struggling to control his diarrhea on a date, I see a consummate professional who commands the respect of his co-actors," said Sutherland.
In addition to handing out awards for movies from the past year, MTV debuted new footage from the upcoming films "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" and "New Moon." Andy Samberg initially teased "Twilight" devotees by introducing the vampire sequel preview with footage of Samberg as an amateur Dracula.
The zany host kicked off the show with a movie mash-up featuring cameos from Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake before launching into an on-stage rap performance in which he attempted to woo a surly-looking Megan Fox in the audience. Samberg later crooned with Will Ferrell during an explosive movie montage that "cool guys don't have to look at explosions."