This is not your father's People's Choice Awards. Yes, perennial faves like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are still among the nominees announced Tuesday. But so are such performers as Zach Braff, Keira Knightley, Maroon 5, and Black Eyed Peas, and such shows as Arrested Development and Pimp My Ride, names that may not represent the broad, middlebrow choices usually recognized by these awards but which do add to their hipness quotient. There's a reason for that: For the first time in the awards show's 31 years, it's enlisted the expertise of Entertainment Weekly's editors to help pick the nominees.
EW actually picked a panel of 6,000 entertainment enthusiasts from across the country, and they picked the nominees. Winners will be selected via Internet voting. (Until this year, nominees and winners were determined by Gallup polls.) There are also several new categories this year, recognizing the increasingly fragmented genres that make up movies, TV, and music. Of the 24 categories listed so far (more movie categories will be announced toward the end of the year, as highly anticipated awards-season movies are released in theaters), there are 13 in TV alone, including three different reality-show categories (Competition, Makeover, and Other), as well as Favorite Funny Male Star and Female Star, a classification that includes sitcom stars, talk show hosts, sketch players, and anyone else who is on TV and is funny on purpose. Music categories now include Favorite Remake (that is, cover tunes) and Favorite Combined Forces (for duets and other collaborative efforts). Movie categories distinguish between Favorite Male and Female Movie Star, Action Star, and Leading Man and Woman (that is, romantic leads.)
That's how Braff got on the list twice: once as Favorite Male TV Star (for Scrubs), and once for his romantic leading role in the indie film hit Garden State, one of the few movies this year to qualify as a noteworthy romance. Others who are nominated for two awards each are Jim Carrey, Sheryl Crow, No Doubt, Norah Jones, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Jennifer Garner, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Jon Stewart. You can vote for the winners at pcavote.com. The winners will pick up their trophies on Jan. 9 during a live ceremony on CBS.