Six of the 13 awards - for which the music channel's 120 million European viewers could vote online - went to artists from the UK. Coldplay, who had been nom-inated in five categories after a stunning summer in which their album X&Y saw them named "Best Band in the World", won two: Best Song for their single "Speed of Sound" and Best UK and Ireland Act.
Gorillaz, their Damon Albarn-inspired cartoon band rivals, who also received five nominations - three in the same categories as Coldplay - won the coveted Best Group title. Their appearance at the Lisbon ceremony was billed as the "world's first 3D hologram performance" and was one of the highlights.
Technicians used hologram technology to beam three-dimensional cartoon alter-egos of the band's human artists on stage, instead of using screened silhouettes.
Robbie Williams beat 50 Cent, Eminem and Moby to Best Male Artist, James Blunt won Best New Act and the veteran British DJ duo the Chemical Brothers won Best Video for their single "Believe".
The British artists were still, however, upstaged by the headline act, Madonna. Although the 47-year-old American superstar was not nominated for any award, she gave a much- anticipated first global live television performance from her new album, Confessions on a Dancefloor, which she hopes will reverse her recent slump. Sales of her last three albums totalled an estimated 10 to 11 million copies, which is disappointing considering she has sold more than 160 million albums in her 22-year career.
The Californian punk-rock band Green Day won Best Rock Act and beat Coldplay and U2 to the Best Album gong, with American Idiot.
The Latin American singer Shakira took the award for Best Female Artist. Other American winners included Snoop Dogg (Best Hip-Hop), Alicia Keys (Best R&B), The Black Eyed Peas (Best Pop) and the Los Angeles metal band System Of A Down (Best Alternative).
Despite receiving four nominations, Gwen Stefani left empty-handed, as did the Britons Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and Stereophonics.
For the first time, the awards included a category for the best African act, which was won by 2 Face - whose real name is Innocent Ujah Idibia - a Nigerian hip-hop artist from the tin-mining city of Jos.
Madonna returned to the stage again to present Sir Bob Geldof with an award acknowledging his central contribution to Tony Blair's Commission for Africa and the Make Poverty History campaign. The Portugese footballer Luis Figo also presented an award. The MTV Awards are Europe's biggest music awards show and a showcase for the industry outside America.
The ceremony was hosted by Borat Sagdiyev, the spoof television presenter played by the risqué comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
"My 13-year-old son is travelling here by foot, with his two wives and his three childrens," the Cambridge University graduate told reporters, after touching down before the ceremony in an Air Kazakh propeller plane which was controlled by a one-eyed pilot clutching a vodka bottle.
* BEST MALE: Robbie Williams
* BEST FEMALE: Shakira
* BEST GROUP: Gorillaz
* BEST ROCK: Green Day
* BEST HIP-HOP: Snoop Dogg
* BEST ALTERNATIVE: Sytem Of A Down
* BEST SONG: Coldplay - 'Speed Of Sound'
* BEST R&B: Alicia Keys (below)
* BEST POP: The Black Eyed Peas
* BEST ALBUM: Green Day - 'American Idiot'
* BEST NEW ACT: James Blunt
* BEST VIDEO: The Chemical Brothers 'Believe'
* BEST UK & IRELAND ACT: Coldplay
* FREE YOUR MIND AWARD, 'MTV's commitment to raising awareness of key social issues': Sir Bob GeldofReuse content