LOS ANGELES — The XBIZ Awards returned to the splashy J.W. Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for a swiftly paced show that was greeted eagerly by a packed house of industry movers and shakers.
Those movers and shakers, from the provocatively dressed stars to the stylishly outfitted techies, all were in a mood to celebrate the year’s best.
It’s still the only adult industry awards show that honors production (both straight and gay), pleasure products, technology and retail all on the same night. This year Live Jasmin, the world’s largest live video chat community, was Presenting Sponsor.
After a leisurely star-packed red carpet, hosted by Wicked Pictures contract stars jessica drake and Asa Akira, the shindig started promptly at 9:30 p.m. and went on with nary a hitch until 11 p.m.
The best came first — Stoya. The pornstar/activist/blogger/entrepreneur, whose face has graced the awards promos for months, may be the classiest host any industry award show has ever seen. Besides her obvious beauty, she displayed the elegance, poise and presence of a mainstream celebrity (which she’s on her way to becoming).
She said she wanted to say something from her heart, then added wryly, “It doesn’t go over very well when I speak from my heart.”
The XBIZ Awards opened with Parody Release of the Year, presented by Riley Reid, Casey Calvert and Ron Jeremy to perennial winner Axel Braun for his “Batman Vs. Superman XXX: An Axel Braun Parody.” He accepted along with star Carter Cruise. “Carter did amazing in this movie, as did everyone else who was in it,” he said.
Braun scored again with the award for Best Actress – Parody Release. It went to his contract girl Riley Steele for her work in “Barbarella XXX: An Axel Braun Parody.” Looking scrumptious, she gave thanks to her fans and the movie’s crew.
Porn couple Keiran Lee and Kirsten Price presented the first Pleasure Product prizes. Innovative Sex Toy of the Year went to Womanizer, from epi24, and Couples Sex Toy of the Year to We-Vibe for their Passionate Play Collection.
Stormy Daniels and famed photographer Holly Randall presented Gonzo Sex Scene of the Year to Jesse and Manuel Ferrara in Jules Jordan’s “Jesse: Alpha Female.” Jesse was not present so Manuel took care of the thank yous.
The All-Girl Sex Scene went to Carter Cruise and Jessie Andrews in “Jessie Loves Girls” from Sweetheart Video. The ladies praised their director, Dana Vespoli.
The award for European Live Cam Site of the Year went to LiveJasmin.com. The winner for North American Live Cam of the Year was Chatrubate.com, whose COO Shirley Lara claimed, “This is just the beginning.”
AJ Applegate and Jada Stevens bestowed Foreign Female Performer of the Year on Australia’s Angela White who had thoughtfully prepared a video acceptance from Sydney in the event she might win.
CalExotics was named Pleasure Products Company of the Year. Four representatives accepted it “on behalf of Susan Colvin,” the company’s pioneering founder. Sex Toy of the Year went to Pipedream’s Icicles Gold G1.
Halfway through the awards program, attendees were treated with a special performance by a dancer-aerialist who twisted and turned through a hoop in mid-air high above the stage.
Up next — the acting awards. British bombshell Tanya Tate and Monique Alexander presented Best Actress to India Summer for her performance in the Lion Reach/Adam & Eve co-production “Marriage 2.0.” After making her way through all the roundtables to the stage, she claimed, “We made an amazing movie.”
Best Actor went to Steven St. Croix, the man with more acting awards than anyone in the business, for his role in the western epic “Wanted.” “It’s actually a surprise — all the guys in that category are good actors. I am humbled to accept. Thanks to Stormy [Daniels] for writing a great part for me.”
Vicki Vette and Jodi West presented Affiliate Program of the Year to Cherry Pimps — to cheers from the crowd — followed by Mobile Company of the Year to Affil4you.
Dana DeArmond and Dani Daniels breezed onstage to hand out two of the evening’s biggest trophies.
Feature Movie of the Year went to “Wanted,” a Wicked Pictures/Adam & Eve co-production. Most of the cast and some of the crew piled onstage to celebrate, leaving the mic to writer-director-star Stormy Daniels.
She gave props to Wicked owner Steve Orenstein “for being crazy enough to say Yes,” and to her crew for braving long hours and high temps to get the story on the screen.
Dedicating the award to longtime Wicked director Brad Armstrong, she said, “Everything I learned, I learned from him.” Brad returned the love with, “I’ve never seen anybody work so hard.”
Dana and Dani bestowed the next big prize, Best New Starlet, on Abella Danger, a popular choice with the crowd. “Aw she’s cryin’,” Dana said as Abella made her way to the stage.
Her highly emotional speech, with tears and words rushing out of her helter-skelter, seemed to make the audience love her even more.
Next up — a living legend. Porn great Nina Hartley appeared with BBW star Kelly Shibari to lay some love on gay porn. Gay Movie of the Year went to “Answered Prayers” from CockyBoys. The company founder Jake Jaxson who accepted, after praising XBIZ for “including a gay category in the awards,” revealed that the movie took “a year and a half to make, and we put our heart and soul in it.”
Rocco Steele was named Gay Performer of the Year. “It’s a real honor,” said the bearded star, “there’s a lot of great guys in this category.”
Transgender Performer of the Year went to Jessy Dubai, another popular choice. An exotic-looking brunette whose enormous breasts were barely contained by her halter-top gown, she gave thanks to “everyone who’s ever worked with me,” and to XBIZ for recognizing trans genre.
Next the Industry Pioneer Award recipients were recognized on video. They were: Ilan Bunimovitz, GameLink.com (Web & Technology); Ken Guarino, Metro (Movies & Production); Martin Tucker, Topco Sales (Pleasure Products); and Ralph Caplan, Nalpac (Retail & Distribution).
Another dancing in the air interlude spotlighted another blonde twirling in a bungee cord, even more spectacular — and more fetishy — than the first.
Then, again, there was Stoya, coolly in charge. “Having fun?” she asked, before introducing MILF icons Francesca Le and Veronica Avluv. They presented the Male Pleasure Product of the Year to Perfect Fit Brand. Fetish Product of the Year went to the Master Series from XR Brands.
The production part of the awards climaxed with the highly coveted Performers of the Year, presented by past award winners Asa Akira and Remy LaCroix. Female Performer went to Dani Daniels, who was giddy with excitement. “I didn’t think I was gonna win,” she burbled, very happy, as the thank yous poured out of her.
Male Performer of the Year was given to the popular (and hard-working) Ryan Driller, whose thank yous were less emotional but just as genuine. He said he was “super-surprised” to win, and confessed, “I’m just here to have fun.”
Misty Stone, Romi Rain and Missy Martinez presented the award for Billing Company of the Year to CCBill and Web Host of the Year to MojoHost.
Two webcam awards wrapped things up. Kendra Sutherland (aka Library Girl) was named Web Star of the Year — to cheers from the audience. She thanked “my boyfriend, my family, everyone I’ve met in the industry.” Also well received was the prize for Aspen Rae as Live Cam Model of the Year. The pretty brunette — cute, young, natural — came out with yet another “I didn’t expect to win.”
Stoya had the last word: “It’s been an amazing experience. Thank you and good night.” And then the video screens rolled with the list of the numerous awards not presented on stage.
The 2016 XBIZ Awards winners list can be viewed here.