Movies have the Oscars. TV shows have the Emmys. Stoners and stoner movies have… the Stonys? At least there’s no confusion as to what a Stony Award is for (though it could be misconstrued as being Flintstone-related). Sponsored by High Times magazine—the leading publication for cannabis enthusiasts—the Stony Awards is a New York-based event that celebrates the best that pot culture has to offer. The following actors are just some of the most critically and commercially successful honourees since the awards’ inception in 2000.
10. Snoop Dogg, 2002
It’s not at all surprising that the former Snoop Doggy Dogg (and current Snoop Lion) Calvin Broadus would end up with a Stony. Marijuana and marijuana usage has been a major part of the artist’s work since he burst onto the hip hop scene in 1992 on The Chronic, Dr. Dre’s debut solo record. Snoop has been very, very open about his recreational pot usage regardless of its legality or lack thereof, having been arrested and/or fined for marijuana possession on more than a few occasions. He also reinvented himself with a reggae album, Reincarnated, released last year, which is as pot culture as one can get. Snoop received his Stony in 2002, right around the release of his album Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss.
9. Francis Ford Coppola, 2002
Godfather trilogy director Francis Ford Coppola was honoured with a Stony in 2002 for his work over two decades prior on Apocalypse Now, the Vietnam War epic with a psychological horror tinge that featured captivating performances by Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen. The film also depicted—and was largely made under the influence of—excessive hallucinogenic drug use including marijuana and LSD. In an interview with GQ, Coppola denied that he was on drugs while making Apocalypse Now, though a 2009 Guardian piece revealed that supporting actor Dennis Hopper had been on cocaine for much of the film’s production.
8. Bill Murray, 2005
SNL alum, Academy Award nominee and famed party-crasher Bill Murray took home a Stony in 2005 for his portrayal of the eponymous protagonist of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. A Jacques Cousteau-esque undersea explorer long past his prime, Steve Zissou spends a good portion of the film’s running time imbibing either marijuana or alcohol in an attempt to numb his overpowering sense of ennui. After meeting and sharing a joint with Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), an airline pilot who claims to be his illegitimate son, Zissou sets out to recapture his glory days—as well as hunt down and kill the fabled “jaguar shark” that killed his friend and mentor.
7. Tommy Chong, 2006
Well of course he won this.
Tommy Chong is best known for his work with Cheech Marin in the Cheech & Chong movies, albums and stand-up shows. The Canadian actor/comedian made his cinematic debut alongside Marin in Up in Smoke, a seminal stoner movie where in Cheech and Chong travel across America in a van made out of synthetic cannabis. Chong also appeared as a recurring character, burnt-out hippie Leo, on That 70s Show. He won the Stony Award for Top Pot Comic in 2006, the same year a/k/a Tommy Chong, a documentary about Chong’s battles with the DEA, won the Stony for Best Documentary.
6. Mary-Louise Parker, 2006
Prior to the mid-2000s, Mary-Louise Parker was primarily known for smaller, supporting roles in films like Fried Green Tomatoes, Red Dragon and The West Wing. Starting in 2005, Showtime’s comedy-drama crime series Weeds elevated her to mainstream recognition and success. Parker was cast in the lead role of Nancy Botwin, a suburban mother and housewife who turns to dealing marijuana following her husband’s death. As the seasons pass, Botwin rises through the ranks of the drug underworld, ultimately becoming a kingpin—kingqueen?—herself. Beyond Weeds, Parker has appeared in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and action romp RED and its sequel RED 2.
5. James Gandolfini, 2007
The late James Gandolfini revolutionized television acting as Tony Soprano, the morally conflicted mafia boss antihero of HBO’s The Sopranos. His performance—or at least one aspect of it—also merited a Stony in 2007 for the episode “Kennedy and Heidi” in The Sopranos’ sixth and final season, where, in the aftermath of euthanizing his protégé Christopher he absconds to Las Vegas and does marijuana and peyote with a stripper acquaintance. Gandolfini, who died last summer, followed up his tenure on The Sopranos with acclaimed turns in Welcome to the Rileys and Enough Said.
4. Seth Rogen, 2007
The perpetually unshaven Canadian comedy superstar didn’t really burst onto the movie scene until his 2005 supporting turn in Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but within a couple of years Seth Rogen cemented himself as both a pop culture—and pot culture—icon. His 2007 Stony honoured his first leading role in Apatow’s next film Knocked Up, where Rogen played an unemployed (and illegal Canadian immigrant) stoner who inadvertently becomes a father-to-be after a one-night stand with a TV personality (Katherine Heigl). Since then, Rogen has gone on to become a leading figure in modern film comedy, appearing in Superbad, Pineapple Express (another stoner favourite), This Is the End and Neighbors.
3. James Franco, 2008
Though actor, literary critic and novelist James Franco made his name in family-friendly mainstream movies like the Spider-Man trilogy, Franco has embodied the rebellious stoner since first collaborating with Judd Apatow on Freaks & Geeks. This was no better exemplified than when Franco ditched his clean-shaven looks for Pineapple Express, David Gordon Green’s combination stoner-crime flick, in which the former Harry Osborn played haggard-looking and perpetually cheerful marijuana dealer Saul. Franco’s atypical performance earned him the 2008 Stony for Stoner of the Year, with Pineapple Express as a whole took home a Stony for Best Comedy Film. Apart from his comedic and superheroic work, James Franco was nominated for his lead role in biopic 127 Hours, starred as perpetually high rapper/criminal Alien in Spring Breakers and has taken to directing William Faulkner’s novels As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury.
2. Kristen Stewart, 2009
She-of-stoic-face, Kristen Stewart, became a Hollywood star as Bella Swan in the blockbuster Twilight movie series, based on Stephanie Meyers’ popular books. Adventureland, a 2009 comedy set at a low-rent amusement park in the late 1980s, was her first comedic turn, one which had her portray a party girl park employee not entirely opposed to imbibing. She took home a Stony for “Stonette” of the Year as a result. Following Adventureland and the remainder of her Twilight tenure, she embraced her hedonist side once again in an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and collaborated with fellow Stony winner James Gandolfini in Welcome to the Rileys.
1. John Cusack, 2010
Once an ’80s heartthrob for his roles in Say Anything… and Better Off Dead, John Cusack was a figurehead of romantic comedies for much of the ’90s and 2000s, appearing in High Fidelity, the darkly comic Grosse Pointe Blank and, well, Must Love Dogs. His starring role in chrono-displacement comedy Hot Tub Time Machine had more than a few stoner movie elements, which led to him receiving Stoner of the Year for 2010 and the movie itself receiving the Stony Award for Best Comedy. Apart from his laid back stoner roles, which can also be seen in Grosse Pointe Blank, Cusack has also made a name for himself as a dramatic actor in Max, Being John Malkovich and as Richard Nixon(!) in The Butler.