LOS ANGELES — The 2015 edition of the XBIZ Awards rolled out in celebratory splendor at a luxury hotel in the trendy, glitzy L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles before a sizeable, excitable and party-primed assortment of dressed to kill porn performers, novelty nabobs and digital techies. (photo galleries)
The JW Marriott Hotel provided an airy space, several stories high, for the red carpet, which seemed to roll on forever, and a spacious, well-appointed ballroom for the awards presentation, which got underway a bit before 10 p.m. As the L.A. Lakers battled the Cleveland Cavaliers next door at Staples Center, XBIZ bestowed honors on the best of adult video, pleasure products and online adult entertainment.
James Deen was the laidback host, gradually warming up after being introduced by Dani Daniels, Jessa Rhodes, Maddy O’Reilly and Keisha Grey, who also served as one of the official Trophy Girls along with Scarlet Red.
Things got off to a lively start with two parody awards—for Drama and Comedy—that went to work by the two Kings of Porn Parody, Axel Braun and Will Ryder. MILF mamas Lisa Ann and Vicki Vette did the presenting.
Braun, winning for “Cinderella XXX: An Axel Braun Parody,” brought along his Cinderella, Samantha Saint, and Prince Charming, Seth Gamble, and thanked Wicked Pictures for letting him do the projects he wants.
Ryder won for “Not the Jersey Boys XXX,” taking the stage with a phalanx of cast and crew. “I really like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,” he said, and then gave a nod to the actor who played him, Tommy Pistol. “You are incredible to work with.” Scott David, his producing partner and X-Play co-owner, also thanked everyone.
The first pleasure product awards, for Innovative Sex Toy, went to Fleshlight’s LaunchPAD (Design) and Revel Body’s SOL Sonic Vibrator (Technology).
Alektra Blue and Tanya Tate presented the Best Girl-Girl Sex Scene award to Kayden Kross and Misha Cross in “Misha Cross Wide Open.” Misha (who was named Foreign Performer of the Year) is still in Europe so Kayden picked it up herself with one well-placed adjective: “Awesome!”
Best Scene in a Non-Feature release went to Adriana Chechik and five men for “Gangbang Me" from Hard X—an already legendary triple-anal sex scene. Three of Adriana’s co-stars—Mick Blue, Erik Everhard, John Strong—showed up to share the honor.
Kayden Kross returned to the podium with partner Manuel Ferrara. Porn’s most glamorous couple—compared by many to mainstream’s Brangelina—presented Adult Site of the Year to AdultEmpire.com (VOD) and Cam4.com (Live Cam). They would later be named Director of the Year, Non-Feature Release for co-helming “Misha Cross Wide Open.”
Dani Daniels and Riley Reid presented MILF Performer of the Year to Kendra Lust, drawing yells of approval from the crowd. Ms. Lust, voluptuous in a clinging blue dress, squealed with joy accepting her prize.
Even more cheers greeted Carter Cruise when she won the highly competitive Best New Starlet award. The sunny, lanky blonde thanked her agent Mark Spiegler and gave an extra-special shout-out to director Jacky St. James who provided her with some of her best roles last year.
Adult Site of the Year, Performer, went to the Australian bombshell Angela White for AngelaWhite.com, and was accepted by her enthusiastically.
At the point in the proceedings, with no introduction, the video screens announced a “Tribute to Christian Mann.” The much-loved porn executive was shown in a video interview conducted not long before his death—the same one shown at his memorial service last year. It’s a moving remembrance and was received in respectful silence by the otherwise super-lively crowd.
A brief entertainment break featured an aerial artist who danced in mid-air, in and out of hoops, with delicate grace and steely control—quite lovely.
Deen the host appeared again and challenged the audience: “If anyone wants to come up here and talk shit to me now is the time to do it.” No one took him up on the dare so he introduced Julia Ann and Axel Braun. Their presentation of Best Actress Feature brought Carter Cruise onstage again, winning for her work in “Second Chances” from New Sensations. Even bubblier than before, she again thanked Jacky St. James for giving her the role—“an amazing experience and one of my favorite projects.”
Best Actor Feature went to Steven St. Croix, for “Wetwork.” The veteran star, whose long career is studded with Best Actor awards, called out a few of his fellow nominees—“other guys that I enjoy watching”—and said he hoped they’d all start getting acting awards of their own.
Charismatic stars Asa Akira and Bonnie Rotten were joined by Fleshlight COO Brian Shubin for two Affiliate Program awards: to CE Cash (Network) and Adult FriendFinder (Dating).
Samantha Saint, Chanel Preston and Adam & Eve general manager Bob Christian teamed up to present Sex Toy Company of the Year to The Screaming O, and Lingerie Brand of the Year to Magic Silk, their first award.
Superbabes Jesse Jane and Nikki Benz presented Feature Movie of the Year to Vivid Entertainment’s “Wetwork.” Director Eli Cross thanked his co-stars, St. Croix and Penny Pax, as well as Vivid’s Marci Hirsch. The film was also honored for Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography.
The announcement of the Director of the Year - Body of Work winner drew screams from the crowd: Jacky St. James. The New Sensations/Digital Sin contract director exclaimed, “I can’t believe this!” before thanking company owner Scott Taylor “and all the amazing people I’ve worked with…I am so grateful for the opportunity to do what I love and work with such incredible people.”
Yet another popular choice was Female Performer of the Year, bestowed by the trio of Will Ryder, Tasha Reign and Nina Elle on Anikka Albrite, who looked delectable in a white tutu. The happy blonde thanked the two most important men in her life, husband Mick Blue and agent Mark Spiegler.
Male Performer of the Year went to the evening’s host, James Deen. “I have no idea what I won,” he said disingenuously. Then, looking the trophy: “Oh shit!” It was Deen's third consecutive win in that category and fourth overall, an XBIZ Awards record.
Retailer of the Year went to Adam & Eve and was picked up by two gentlemen from Hillsborough, N.C.
Then came a serious interlude as XBIZ founder and publisher, Alec Helmy, honored the industry’s past with the inauguration of the Industry Pioneer awards, in four categories: Video, Pleasure Products, Retail and Online.
For Retail the inductees were Frank and Michael Koretsky, who created the East Coast porn empire IVD/ECM. It was Frank, clearly moved, who accepted. The online adult entertainment pioneer was Brian Shuster of Utherverse Digital Inc., the youngest of the honorees. Pleasure products pioneer went to Teddy Rothstein and Elliott Schwartz, founders of Nasstoys, and was accepted by Schwartz.
A fourth Pioneer award was given posthumously to Christian Mann and was graciously accepted by his widow Melissa.
After a special segment hosted by FSC CEO Diane Duke and ASACP Executive Director Tim Henning honoring Streamate and Lauren McEwen, and the announcement of companies that collectively donated over $42,000 to the two organizations, host Deen moved among the audience for a few moments of banter.
Gay Performer of the Year went to an ebullient Landon Conrad, and Transsexual Performer to Asian-American star Venus Lux, who held up two fingers to signify that this is two in a row for her.
Gay porn icons Chi Chi LaRue and Michael Lucas presented BDSM Pleasure Products Company of the Year to Sportsheets International and New Pleasure Products Company to Kiiroo. Girl-Girl Performer of the Year went to Girlfriends Films contract star Prinzzess Felicity Jade, and Web Star of the Year to Ariel Rebel.
The presentation ended with a complete list of all the XBIZ Award winners crawling over the video screens.