Johnny Depp, Reese Witherspoon Named Top Stars at People's Choice

Queen Latifah hosts a scaled down version of the annual award show

Although the writers’ strike continues to slow down the award season, on Tuesday night the people were heard – and not just in New Hampshire.

Yes, the 34th annual People’s Choice Awards carried on. Rather than cancel the show, producers retooled it as an understated, “newsmagazine”-style broadcast, hosted by Queen Latifah on CBS. The actress acknowledged the changes immediately, telling viewers, “I know this show’s a little different than last time. But we have what’s important – you, the people, and all your favorites all night long.”

Apart from the host – who spent much of the broadcast directly addressing the cameras and walking around an empty studio – celebrity appearances were relegated to vintage clips (montages mostly of memorable moments) and prerecorded acceptance speeches. Top winners included Johnny Depp and Reese Witherspoon as favorite male and female movie star, respectively, and Justin Timberlake as favorite male singer.

Even in the taped acceptance speeches, the writers’ absence was noted often. As Joaquin Phoenix received his favorite leading man trophy, he flipped through cue cards rather than speaking. “I’m speechless without the writers,” his cards read. “Seriously. But in my own quiet way, I want to thank the millions of fans that voted for me for favorite leading man.”

And Witherspoon, who currently stars Rendition, said, “We are nothing without our writers. But we are also nothing without our audience.”

Other major winners included: Ellen DeGeneres, who nabbed two awards – one for favorite talk show host and also for favorite funny female star. Grey’s Anatomy favorite Katherine Heigl picked up favorite female TV star. Country group Rascal Flatts also earned two awards, taking home favorite country song for “Stand” and favorite group.

Here is a rundown of some of the night’s big winners:

Favorite Female Movie Star

Reese Witherspoon

Favorite Male Movie Star

Johnny Depp

Favorite Leading Lady

Drew Barrymore

Favorite Leading Man

Joaquin Phoenix

Favorite Movie

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Favorite Male TV Star

Patrick Dempsey

Favorite Female TV Star

Katherine Heigl

Favorite Female Singer

Gwen Stefani

Favorite Male Singer

Justin Timberlake

Favorite Group

Rascal Flatts

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