LOS ANGELES - The X-Rated Critics Organization held its 24th annual XRCO Awards show last night at the Highlands nightclub at Hollywood & Highland.
Hosted by Carmen Hart and Gina Lynn, the industry-only event was attended by a who's who of porn. While the litany of nominees and acceptance speeches often seemed to go unheard by the crowd, the celebratory mood made the awards ceremony fast and fun.
Hart and Lynn kept things loose and informal as they welcomed the stars to the stage. Real-life stepsisters Rhyse and Rhylee Richards handed out the heart-shaped XRCO trophies as this year's official "Heart-On Girls."
The winners mirrored the 2008 AVN Awards in several major categories, with top honors going to Bree Olson (Best New Starlet), Sasha Grey (Female Performer of the Year), and Evan Stone (Male Performer of the Year). SexZ Pictures' Upload won three awards: Best Epic, Most Outrageous DVD Extras, and a Single Performance - Actress trophy for Eva Angelina.
Wicked Pictures had a big night with contract exclusives Kaylani Lei, Randy Spears, Brad Armstrong and Stormy Daniels all picking up prestigious awards. Armstrong and Daniels tied for Best Director (Features).
Nikki Hunter and Shy Love presented Jenna Haze with the award for Orgasmic Oralist. Jules Jordan then took the stage to accept the Best Gonzo Release trophy for Flesh Hunter 10; he later returned to pick up awards for Best Gonzo Series and Best Director, remarking to the judges: "It takes a lot of balls to give me this many Best Director awards."
Sophie Dee, Gianna and Jeff "Hatman" Marton presented the Orgasmic Analist award to Hillary Scott, who continued her winning streak from the 2007 XRCOs. "I guess we all know I enjoy anal sex by now," the actress said.
Belladonna made short work of her acceptance speech as her movie Belladonna's Fucking Girls 4 won Best Girl-Girl Release. "Thank you so much because I have reservations at the Geisha House and I have to go," she said.
Adam & Eve contract girls Bree Olson, Ava Rose and Kayden Kross announced Annette Schwarz as the XRCO's latest "Superslut." Other presenters included the Wicked trinity of Jessica Drake, Randy Spears and Kaylani Lei; Joanna Angel, Jenna Haze and Eva Angelina; Sasha Grey, Kayla Paige and Brooke Haven; Sunny Lane and Flower Tucci, Tommy Gunn, Ashlynn Brooke and Veronica Rayne; Amber Lynn and Nina Hartley; and Ron Jeremy and Sunset Thomas.
Jeff Mullen and Scott David of X-Play/All Media Play were on hand to receive their Best Comedy or Parody award for Not the Bradys XXX, along with cast members Alana Evans and Aurora Snow.
Upload director Eli Cross had one of the better lines of the evening when he accepted the MILF of the Year award on behalf of his partner, Kylie Ireland. "She's not a mother, but she plays one on TV," he quipped.
Jared Rutter presided over the first portion of the XRCO Hall of Fame induction, which included the late director Richard Mahler (a.k.a. Roger Watkins) and actor R. Bolla, among others. AVN senior editor Mark Kernes introduced a special award for attorney H. Louis Sirkin, who was unable to attend.
Rutter then introduced director John Leslie, who accepted a Hall of Fame award honoring his VCA Pictures movie Curse of the Catwoman (1991). As the crowd drowned out his speech, Leslie called for attention.
"It's kind of a sad thing," said Leslie. "Joey Silvera came to me today and said he had a very big problem. He said, maybe you can help me. I think I'm a dog. I said, Go lay down on my couch. He said, I'm not allowed on the couch."
Legendary porn stars Amber Lynn and Nina Hartley teamed up to present the next set of Hall of Fame inductees, among them photographer Suze Randall and performer Stephanie Swift. The show was a special occasion for Amber and Nina, who served as the XRCO's very first Heart-On Girls in 1985 and 1986 respectively.
AVN president Paul Fishbein dedicated his Hall of Fame award to the late Jim Holliday and took the opportunity to stress the importance of political awareness and the right to free speech.
Alluding to current federal obscenity charges against John Stagliano and Max Hardcore, Fishbein urged the industry to vote in the upcoming presidential election. "It's 2008, and we're still facing the spectre of government intervention," he said. "We're still talking about the same things we were taking about 25 years ago."
John and Karen Stagliano accepted the Hall of Fame award for Christoph Clark, and AMber Lynn accepted on behalf of performer Chloe. The lovely Shayla LaVeaux was among the final Hall of Fame inductees for 2008.
"Thank you to an amazing industry," said LaVeaux. "To all the photographers, directors, actors and actresses, and to the XRCO and all its members for inducting me into such a prestigious group of people. And last but not least, this is dedicated to Jim Holliday... he supported me and gave me all his best. Keep up the fight, and keep the industry rockin'!"
Digital Playground received the final award of the night for Robby D's Babysitters. A company rep picked up the award, with the promise, "We'll be back next year!"