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Handicapping the Unscripted Categories at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards

Reality TV gets its awards moment this Sunday.
  • The Bachelorette's Tayshia Adams hosts Sunday night's 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards. (Photo: MTV)
    The Bachelorette's Tayshia Adams hosts Sunday night's 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards. (Photo: MTV)

    This Sunday MTV will once again present their annual Movie & TV Awards, honoring the best youth-appealing entertainment products, with big nomination tallies going to Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Batman, and Euphoria. Airing back-to-back with the scripted awards will be the second annual unscripted awards, honoring the best in reality TV, talk shows, and social media.

    It's somewhat odd that MTV isn't making a bigger deal out of its unscripted awards, given how much the network could put its stamp on the concept of awarding the stars and talent behind TV's biggest reality shows. Plenty of awards shows honor movies and scripted TV, but this one's currently the only show nominating Candiace and Mia's salad-throwing fight from The Real Housewives of Potomac, and they should be trumpeting that more!

    With that in mind, we're going to give The MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted the attention it deserves, breaking down all 12 categories and offering winner predictions for each:

    Best Music Documentary

    Janet Jackson
    Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
    Oasis Knebworth 1996
    Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u (a SOUR film)
    The Beatles: Get Back

    Last year this category was packed with huge pop stars with giant fanbases — Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish, and Britney Spears all lost out to BTS — but this year it's a shorter list with more legacy acts like Janet Jackson, Oasis, and a little band called The Beatles. Will the critical acclaim afforded to Get Back mean much in the face of the hordes of young fans streaming in votes for Olivia Rodrigo? We doubt it. Predicted Winner: Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u (a SOUR film)

    Best Docu-Reality Show

    Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
    Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta
    Selling Sunset
    Summer House
    The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

    Last year's awards didn't overwhelmingly go to MTV-produced shows, but this category went to Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, which could make back-to-back wins this time around. Netflix's Selling Sunset is likely its biggest competition, given that the Bravo shows may end up cancelling that demographic out. Predicted Winner: Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

    Best Reality Star

    Chris "CT" Tamburello, The Challenge
    Chrishell Stause, Selling Sunset
    Lindsay Hubbard, Summer House
    Teresa Giudice, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
    Willow Pill, RuPaul's Drag Race

    This is a new category this year, and it's hilarious that Chrishell Stause got nominated over her co-star Christine Quinn. One imagines that the slander campaign has already begun. The in-house choice for MTV viewers will be CT, who's been a star on the network for two decades now, and this would be a nice way of recognizing that fact. But don't underestimate a hugely energized Drag Race faction who will come out in droves to vote for the show's most-recent winner. Predicted Winner: Willow Pill.

    Best Reality Romance

    Joe Amabile and Serena Pitt, Bachelor in Paradise
    Loren and Alexei Brovarnik, Loren & Alexei: After the 90 Days
    Nany Gonzalez and Kaycee Clark, The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies
    Tom Sandoval and Ariana Maddix, Vanderpump Rules
    Yandy and Mendeecees, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta

    Another new category this year, and one which could go in a few different directions. Vanderpump Rules was forever ago, but even if it wasn't, it's hard to imagine fans voting in huge numbers for Tom and Ariana. Nany and Kaycee are the in-house choice for MTV fans, though this might be where Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta comes through. Predicted Winner: Yandy and Mendeecees

    Best Competition Series

    American Idol
    Dancing with the Stars
    RuPaul's Drag Race
    The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies
    The Masked Singer

    Drag Race, The Challenge, and The Masked Singer are all repeat nominees, while Idol and Dancing with the Stars are both long-in-the-tooth legacy titles. It's surprising not to see Survivor here after that show's resurgence over the last year. Regardless, Drag Race keeps charging forward with no signs of decline, so it feels like a safe bet to repeat last year's win. Predicted Winner: RuPaul's Drag Race

    Best Lifestyle Show

    Bar Rescue
    Dr. Pimple Popper
    Making It
    Selena + Chef
    Queer Eye

    Lots of lifestyles being represented here, from bar rehabilitation to pimple popping to inspiring people to change their lives through the inspirational power of queerness. There's also some celebrity star power, between Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman on Making It and Selena Gomez on Selena + Chef. Our guess is it's between Selena and the Fab Five for the win, and since Selena won the now-discontinued "Best New Unscripted Series" category last year, we'll give her and her fans the edge. Predicted Winner: Selena + Chef

    Best Unscripted Series

    Heart to Heart
    Teen Mom: Family Reunion
    The D'Amelio Show
    The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip
    Queen of the Universe

    Teen Mom is the in-house choice, and Queen of the Universe is adjacent to the Drag Race juggernaut, but one imagines Charli D'Amelio's legions of fans will show up big for her Hulu series in this category. Predicted Winner: The D'Amelio Show

    Best Talk/Topical Show

    The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
    The Drew Barrymore Show
    The Kelly Clarkson Show
    The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
    The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

    While Trevor Noah triumphed in this category last year, we think the late-night boys can go squabble among themselves and wait for the Primetime Emmy nominations to come out, for now it's Kelly Clarkson vs. Drew Barrymore in the battle of daytime's best, most fun, and most viral talk shows. Drew is quirky enough to win over the MTV crowd, but Kelly's out there with a new cover song on Twitter every day, which could give her the edge. Predicted Winner: The Kelly Clarkson Show

    Best Host

    Charlamagne Tha God, Tha God's Honest Truth
    Gordon Ramsay, MasterChef
    Kelly Clarkson, The Kelly Clarkson Show
    Rob Dyrdek, Ridiculousness
    RuPaul, RuPaul's Drag Race

    Dyrdek's presence in this category might have you wondering if the fix is in given Ridiculousness's utter chokehold on the MTV daily lineup, but he was nominated last year as well and RuPaul still won. While we wouldn't rule out a Kelly Clarkson double win, Ru's empire building probably pays off here like it did last year. Predicted Winner: RuPaul

    Breakthrough Social Star

    Bella Poarch
    Benito Skinner
    Caleb Hearon
    Khaby Lame
    Megan Stalter

    If you've seen anyone in your social feeds passing around that "Hi, Gay" meme, you'll know why Megan Stalter is probably the favorite here, and it doesn't hurt that she stars in the twice-nominated Hacks as well. Predicted Winner: Megan Stalter

    Best Fight

    Bosco vs. Lady Camden, RuPaul's Drag Race
    Candiace Dillard Bassett vs. Mia Thornton — salad toss fight, The Real Housewives of Potomac
    Christine Quinn vs. Chrishell Stause, Selling Sunset
    Danielle Olivera vs. Ciara Miller vs. Lindsay Hubbard, Summer House
    Margaret Josephs vs. Teresa Giudice, The Real Housewives of New Jersey

    As popular as Drag Race is, the Bosco-Lady Camden fight was barely a fight and will likely, and deservedly, be a runner-up. The Summer House fight was vicious, but the show probably doesn't have enough fans to elevate it over the other Bravo entry, Teresa-Margaret, which seems old hat by now. Christine vs. Chrishell is probably the highest-profile feud and is likely the favorite to win, although Candiace vs. Mia and the salad throwing is easily the year's most memorable. Predicted Winner: Christine vs. Chrishell

    Best Reality Return

    Bethenny Frankel, The Big Shot with Bethenny
    Kylie Sonique Love, RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars
    Paris Hilton, Cooking with Paris and From Paris with Love
    Sher, Ex on the Beach
    Tami Roman, The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles

    The less said about Bethenny's HBO Max show, the better, and Tami's return to The Real World was riddled with bad vibes. Paris Hilton could get a lot of mileage out of representing two shows in the same category, but if there is any justice this will go to Kylie Sonique Love, whose comeback narrative from an early-season early elimination to becoming a trangender icon and winning All-Stars 6 was truly award-worthy. Alas, it'll probably be Paris. Predicted Winner: Paris Hilton

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted airs live on MTV Sunday June 5th at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.

    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted, MTV, The Challenge, Jersey Shore, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Selena + Chef, Summer House, Paris Hilton