The show business awards season of 2000 got underway in earnest today as comedian Adam Sandler and his summer hit "Big Daddy" walked away with honors in a poll of the public after being panned by critics.

The 26th annual People's Choice Awards, which honors popular favorites in film, television and music, named Sandler's film the most popular comedy of the year and named Sandler its favorite comic actor.

The supernatural thriller "The Sixth Sense," a box office smash largely ignored by critics, was named the favorite dramatic film of 1999 as awards host Don Johnson and Cheech Marin also handed out honors to Latin heartthrob Ricky Martin and actors Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Drew Carey and Calista Flockhart.

The People's Choice awards are voted on by the public through a poll conducted by the Gallup Organization. As part of the show's 26th anniversary, viewers were allowed to vote on the Internet for their favorite new drama series and new comedy series.

"Big Daddy," with its gross-out, sophomoric humor, was largely disliked by critics but went on to earn some $160 million at the box office.

"The Sixth Sense," about a little boy "who sees dead people," received little attention from critics upon its initial release last August, but later made more than $280 million at the box office.

The film eventually won a nod at the Golden Globes last month, where child actor Haley Joel Osment won a nomination for best supporting actor and writer-director M. Night Shyamalan won a nomination for best screenplay.

The film won honors today in two categories as both the people's favorite motion picture and favorite dramatic motion picture. Willis, its star, also was named favorite motion picture actor.

Although neither of her recent films ("Notting Hill" and "Runaway Bride") received an award this year, Roberts was chosen as favorite motion picture actress.

The people's favorite choice of television comedy series was the popular "Friends," now in its sixth year. "ER," the most watched series on television, was also chosen as favorite dramatic series.

Comic actor Carey was named favorite male television performer for "The Drew Carey Show," in which he plays a folksy department store personnel director.

Flockhart, star of the popular Fox series "Ally McBeal," was named favorite female television performer.

Billy Campbell, star of the TV drama "Once and Again," was honored as favorite male performer in a new television series.

Sultry TV sex symbol Jennifer Love Hewitt, who came to the public eye on the hit TV show "Party of Five" and who now stars in "Time of Your Life," was named favorite female performer in a new television series.

In the musical categories, Latin heartthrob Martin, who rose on the charts last year with "Livin' la Vida Loca," was voted favorite male musical performer. Country pop sensation Shania Twain, who climbed the charts last year with "That Don't Impress Me Much," won honors as favorite female musical performer, and the Backstreet Boys were chosen as favorite musical group or band.

CAPTION: It may have been panned by critics, but "Big Daddy," above, was the favorite of moviegoers surveyed. Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Time of Your Life") and Billy Campbell ("Once and Again") were favorite performers in new TV series.