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Posted at 2:50 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

The People's Choice Awards: An FAQ

By Jen Chaney

Queen Latifah returns to emcee tonight's People's Choice Awards. (AP)

The People's Choice Awards -- a ceremony that defines itself as "the original metric of pop culture," even though most of us define it as the original metric of entertainment-industry nonsense -- takes place tonight in L.A. and will be broadcast on CBS beginning at 9 EST.

Naturally this annual occasion may raise some questions tonight. (Question 1: Wait, why am I watching this again?) So in a preemptive, People's Choice-related strike, let's answer a few of those queries about the event and handicap the absurdity in a few of the key categories.

So this is the People's Choice Awards? Am I one of the people who chose, because I don't remember doing that.

You could be one of the people who selected the winners in one of the 44 categories, but only if you voted in the online polls, which have now closed.

How scientific is this so-called "voting"?

Not very. The People's Choice site encouraged participants to vote as often as they liked and to tell their friends to vote. Which explains why "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" has a good chance of beating "The Social Network" in the Favorite Movie Drama category.

Do online voters determine the nominees as well?

In part. A dozen nominees become eligible for voting in the initial rounds. But those 12 are determined by what the People's Choice Awards describes as "national ratings averages, box-office grosses, music sales, input from our media partners and E-Score Celebrity." In other words, who they think is popular. In a way, it's a lot like the process of choosing your high school homecoming queen, except even that system doesn't generally allow students to vote more than once.

Do teens get to vote in this? Or are they exempt since they have the Teen Choice Awards?

There does not appear to be an age requirement for voters. Which is unfair, really. When are they going to host a "The Choices of People Over the Age of 30 That Hollywood Doesn't Care About Anymore Awards"? Tell me that, America!

Which category features the most undeserving nominees?

Wow, that's a tough one. It looks like there may be a tie. Favorite Comedy Movie features some truly awful nominees ("Sex and the City 2" and "Valentine's Day" among them), but Favorite Rock Band -- with Nickelback and Maroon 5 in contention -- is an affront to anyone who has ever plugged into an amp.

To the credit of "the people," though, they managed not to nominate "The Tourist."

Which category promises the most potential fodder for celebrity gossip?

Probably Favorite Movie Star Under 25, which pits alleged lovers Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson against the recently split Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron. Oh, Emma Watson is in that category, too. And favorite Movie Actress is semi-interesting since Jennifer Aniston is competing against Angelina Jolie. You know, if you're still interested in that whole ancient mess. The reportedly broken-up Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal also are nominees (in different categories), for what that's worth.

Do the People's Choice Awards matter in the wide scheme of things?

Wait, that wasn't rhetorical? Oh, because the answer is clearly no. But I'll probably watch anyway. I need something to make snarky comments about between the hours of 9 and 11 p.m., don't I?

By Jen Chaney  | January 5, 2011; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Celebrities, Movies, Pop Culture  
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1. "An FAQ"?

2. This Person's Choice: "2001: A Space Odyssey" on a 70mm print at the TIFF Lightbox in downtown Toronto. Of course, it doesn't have Queen Latifah, but, oh, my God, it's full of stars!

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 5, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Q: What foods or beverages should I consume to sustain me through the inanity of this evening?

A: We would like to recommend the following cocktail:
1. Roll up a copy of Parade magazine.
2. Insert it into a bottle of overpriced designer vodka and shake vigorously for two minutes.
3. Pour the result over ice into a chilled martini glass.
4. Garnish with the Proctor and Gamble product of your choice. I suggest coating the rim with crushed Pringles.
5. Consume until the banter becomes witty.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | January 5, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Bawlmer, remind us to never EVER let you get behind the bar on the Island.

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 5, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I may never drink again after reading that recipe. Then again, I put these awards in the same category as the American Music Awards. Real-award wannabes that for some odd reason seem to draw crowds, kinda like hoping that fender bender you're rubbernecking to see actually has something cool to view.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | January 5, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

How can Taylor Swift win an award in the 'Country Music' category, when she IS NOT A COUNTRY WESTERN STAR?????? The REAL country western stars in Nashville and Nashvillians, in generalm are sick and tired of Taylor Swift being called a 'country star' when she IS NOT ONE.She is a 'pop star' and not a very good one to boot. She is a 'wannabee' country star only in her dreams, not with her lack of real talent.

Posted by: cajun1 | January 6, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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