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People's Choice Awards 2021

A Year to Remember: Highlights from the People’s Choice Awards 2021

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Dec. 8 2021, Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

The People’s Choice Awards is a decades-old celebration of fan favorites. From movies to music and everything in between, the award ceremony acknowledges those stars who have made us smile, made us cry, and given us something to love and enjoy.

In 2021, the People’s Choice Awards had the solemn duty of acknowledging entertainment’s role in helping us survive two years of the unimaginable. It was a year of memories, not all good, but the people honored were some of the brightest lights in a dark sky. CELEB takes a look at some of the highlights from this year’s People’s Choice Awards. 

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Red Carpet Looks

People's Choice Awards 2021

When it comes to distracting yourself from a hard day at the office, nothing quite hits the spot like a red carpet rundown. This year’s People’s Choice Awards ceremony saw a contrast between stars embracing bright colorful designs and those looking for a darker, more elegant look. Here are some of our favorite looks from the red carpet:

  • Halle Berry: The former Catwoman wore a “cat suit,” and turned heads on the red carpet over the weekend. Sequined from head to toe in the gunmetal gray one-piece, Berry looked as beautiful as ever.
  • JoJo Siwa: In contrast to Berry’s sultry look, Siwa looked charmingly princess-like in a floaty pink number. With tiered ruffles and sequined accents around her waist and neckline, the former child star wore her signature blonde locks down instead of in a ponytail. 
  • Cardi B: Showing off her stunning hourglass figure, Cardi B looked hot in a sequined rose-gold form-fitting gown. 
  • Leslie Jones: While this wasn’t our favorite red carpet look, it was certainly a bold statement. Jones looked radiant in a neon yellow/green mini-dress with a halter top. It was a simple number with a simple statement: wow. 
  • Laverne Cox: The actress looked stunning in a floor-length tiered feathered gown. With purple feathers flowing both down and up, it was a busy number that somehow still looked lovely on Cox. She wore a simple lavender updo to compliment the flowing lines of the gown. Later she took the stage in a dazzling gold gown with an out-of-place overly large bow across the belly. 
  • Tracee Ellis Ross: The Blackish actress wore a perplexing but simple black Balenciaga suit that was reminiscent of a flight suit, but with the sultry whimsy added of a deep neckline. 
  • Kim Kardashian: The socialite and fashion icon wore a bodycon minidress-meets-suit. In form-fitting black from head to toe, Kardashian’s most notable accessory was her overlarge sunglasses that looked upside-down. 

From pastel pinks and sequins to stunning black head-to-toes, the evening’s looks were a dazzling showing off of everyone’s fashion tastes. 

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Most Notable Awards 

People's Choice Awards 2021

As exciting as it is, the red carpet isn’t the main event though. The award ceremony brought together fan favorites from multiple artistic expressions, making it a night of fun for all. 

These artists won some of the most noteworthy awards:

  • Dwayne Johnson: More on him later, but The Rock was presented with Male Movie Star of 2021. Johnson’s role on Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie isn’t his only screen time recently; the former wrestler-turned-actor also has a massive social media following. 
  • Kim Kardashian: This year, Kardashian was granted the Fashion Icon award. It’s only fitting, since Kardashian is always the person to watch at red carpet events and has her sights set on revolutionizing the fashion industry to be more inclusive. Kardashian took a moment to thank her soon-to-be-ex-husband Ye (the artist formerly known as Kanye West); “Thank you to Kanye for really introducing me to the fashion world.” Ye recently mourned the loss of a good friend who walked through his early days in the fashion industry; legendary designer, Virgil Abloh.
  • Simi Liu: Marvel’s Shangi-Chi star was given Action Movie Star of 2021. It’s fitting for Liu to win after the highly-acclaimed drop of the Shang-Chi movie in Q4 of 2021; it was quickly folded into the Marvel universe’s most beloved films. 
  • Adele: Of course Adele won the Female Artist award, hot off the success of her newest album. The pop crooner recently announced a residency in Las Vegas for 2022. 
  • Selena Gomez: Best known for her voice, Gomez won Comedy TV Star for her role in Netflix’s hit show, Only Murders in the Building
  • Ellen Degeneres: The recently-controversial comedian and daytime TV talk show host won an award for the final season of her beloved show, Ellen. Degeneres has faced a media and internet firestorm since mid-2020 over accusations that her show was a hostile work environment and the comedian herself sometimes abused suboordinates. 
  • Scarlett Johansson: The Black Widow star won Female Movie Star of 2021 for her role in the Black Widow movie. Even though we won’t see her on screen again as Marvel star Nat, her superspy heiress is expected to get a movie in the coming years. Despite lukewarm performances in the box office and a behind-the-scenes controversy over compensation, Black Widow quickly gained steam in SVOD and fans named it Movie of 2021
  • Tom Hiddleston: Sometimes lovingly called Tom Hunkleston by his rabid fans, the Thor star won Male TV Star of 2021 for his role in the hit Disney + show, Loki. Loki follows his character of the same name as he tries to make sense of a cosmic mystery. The show won TV Show of 2021, after its wildly successful launch on Disney + earlier this year. 
  • Halle Berry: The actress was given the People’s Icon award, a fitting award for someone who’s shown herself to be a role model time and time again. Berry took a moment to thank her fans before turning to her children; “My two little kids, they have to lose so much time with their mommy because I get to go work and do what I love, so thank you Nahla, thank you Maceo.”
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It was a night of fan-chosen minority winners, pointing to the reality that other award shows – which often display less diversity – may not be in line with what the people truly want.

The Rock Makes Everyone Cry

People's Choice Awards 2021

We can’t talk about the evening without taking a moment to talk about when The Rock brought everyone to tears. Amazon’s founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage to give Johnson the People’s Champion award. The former wrestler said a few words on stage before calling a Make-a-Wish recipient named Shushana to the stage. 

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Johnson handed the award to her, and the teen who looked radiant in a green sparkling gown seemed stunned as she accepted it. Johnson explained, “I met her earlier. I told her how proud I was of her story. She is a fighter, she has inspired her family and friends. I want to tell you just how much you’ve inspired me and everyone around you and certainly everyone here. I want to give you this because you represent everything that it means to be a People’s Champion — so this is for you.”

Shushana thanked him, beaming as she said, “Thank you for this. I didn’t expect this at all. But, I mean, thank you and to Make-a-Wish. I just never expected that something this good could happen. This is crazy.” The Make-a-Wish Foundation grants often complex and difficult-to-obtain wishes to children with critical illnesses. 

Johnson also took time in his speech to harken back to the original winner of the People’s Champion. Johnson said, per NBC New York, “‘For those who may know or for those who may not know, the original people’s champion was the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali,’ the former WWE star explained. ‘I first met Muhammad when I was a little boy and he was so cool to me. He was so kind and he was so funny. He was always wonderful to me.'” 

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During his time in the WWE, The Rock dubbed himself the People’s Champion – you may remember the eyebrow – but asked Ali’s wife for permission to use the title formally. NBC adds, “‘She said, ‘He told me to tell you you are the people’s champion, you have earned it, you take that title,’ Johnson reflected. ‘Years later to be standing here with you guys, you voted me the People’s Champion, the irony is not lost on me because I realize that what it means to be the People’s Champion is so much bigger than me. You treat people good, you treat people kind. You take care of people. You’re inclusive of people, all people, all colors, it doesn’t matter.’

The Comedy Movie Star of 2021 winner continued, ‘The last time I saw Muhammed, we were at a Make-a-Wish event and we were both granting wishes. His last words to me were, ‘You keep rumbling.'”

Johnson also gave a nod to his co-star and fellow nominee Emily Blunt when given the Comedy Movie Star award earlier in the night, sharing his favorite quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

No one can accuse the Rock of being anything but nice, and it was sastifying to see him take the stage for the night’s most heartfelt award.

With 2021 almost on the books, the People’s Choice Awards closed things out with a bang. 

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