Lopez Lampoons Nick in Front of Jessica

01/11/2006 at 08:00 AM EST

Lopez Lampoons Nick in Front of Jessica
Robert Galbraith/REUTERS/Landov

Nick Lachey

Nick Lachey

A year ago, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson joined forces at the People's Choice Awards, and took home a prize for the best reality show. One year later, reality has truly set in, and Jessica was notably Nick-less at Tuesday's 32nd annual ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium.

However, she did her best to carry on. She opened the show being lowered from the ceiling, with her suggestive rendition of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," from The Dukes of Hazzard. She later took home the prize for favorite song in a movie.

"Oh gosh, I never win anything, this is so cool," Simpson, 25, said from the stage, singling out her family, the public and "my angel" Willie Nelson for thanks.

Comedian George Lopez surprised the packed house by picking on both Jessica and the absent Nick during his award presentation. "The producers wanted to apologize to Nick Lachey," he said, "who could not be here because they didn't need any more seat fillers."

As an uneasy laugh went up from the crowd, the camera panned to Simpson, who did not look amused. Lopez added: "Hey, that makes up for The Dukes of Hazzard."

Simpson did not head backstage after the show, but Lopez pal Sandra Bullock put the comedian's comments in perspective. "When you get George, you get all of George," she said. "As long as I am not in the line of fire, which I often am, I love his work."

And Jessica's less-than-accepting look? "I didn't quite get the joke either. Maybe she didn't get the joke."

As for the winners' circle, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was named favorite movie and favorite movie drama, and multiple awards went to TV host Ellen DeGeneres (favorite daytime talk-show host and funny female star for the second year in a row) and Alias and Elektra's Jennifer Garner (female action star and female TV star).

Knowingly or not, leading lady winner Reese Witherspoon took a swipe at the critics groups who named her best actress for the Johnny Cash movie bio Walk the Line. As she told the audience at the awards ceremony: "You guys voted for us. Not the stuffy people in closed rooms ... people who voted actually go to the movies."

Johnny Depp again was named favorite male movie star, although Sandra Bullock took female honors over Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman. (Last year's winner, Julia Roberts, wasn't in the running.) Brad Pitt returned as favorite leading man, while his ex, Jennifer Aniston, won the prize for Total Effects Fans Favorite Look.

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