Actors and actresses in attendance at last night's People's Choice Awards largely avoided politics and controversial issues. Even Ellen DeGeneres, as outspoken as she was against California's Proposition 8, resisted political commentary as she presented the Favorite Funny Male award and accepted the Favorite Talk Show Host.
Perhaps their silence isn't surprising, since none of the winners or even the nominees in any of the categories offered overtly political themes.
But there are “some in every crowd,” and ceremony host Queen Latifah and British actor Hugh Laurie just couldn't help themselves.
Latifah kicked off the ceremony by alluding to president-elect Barack Obama's win and led the audience in a chant of Obama's campaign slogan, “Yes we can:”
Yes! Yes! This past year we have all seen what the power of the people can do. And tonight we're going to take a few hours to celebrate the people and all of their favorites in music, movies and television. How's that sound, everybody? Now, hey now hey! Before we get to all the awards, I have one important question for these good people up front. And just so you know, the correct answer tonight is yes, we can! Say it with me now everybody!
Latifah went on to ask comedians Adam Sandler and Robin Williams the question “Can we make the people laugh?” to which they replied, “Yes we can!”  She also asked Laurie and his fellow “House” cast members “Can we heal the people?... “Man, that sounds so good.”
Politics' only other intrusion came roughly midway through the ceremony when Laurie accepted his Favorite Male TV Star award by saying:
I love people. Really, I am in favor of them. It's a particular honor to be the people's choice, especially because the people have been choosing pretty well recently. You seem to be in a good choosing space. I don't know who won this award eight years ago, but that was double-edged I think. I would like to thank all of the people who voted for me. To the people who didn't vote for me, I want to say I will be your male actor in a TV drama too. Thank you very much.
The People's Choice Awards are a reflection of how people like to be entertained as the nominees and the winners are chosen by regular people. Given the absence of overly controversial material and political propaganda from the choices, it's clear that people want to be entertained and not indoctrinated.
“The Dark Knight” won five awards, including Favorite Movie and Favorite Cast.  Actresses Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, Angelina Jolie, singer Carrie Underwood, and actors Brad Pitt and Will Smith were among the other winners.
Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.  Erin Brown is an intern at CMI.
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