Pharrell, Drake and Lupita Nyong’o were among early winners at the 2014 BET Awards.

The Happy hitmaker nabbed Best Male R&B/Pop Artist and Best Video for his chart-topping dance track.

The star opened the show at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California with a performance of his new song with Miley Cyrus, Come Get It Bae. And although Miley didn’t join him, the audience quickly got to their feet when Pharrell introduced surprise guest Missy Elliott, who performed her hit 2003 single Pass the Dutch.

Drake meanwhile scored the win for Best Male Hip Hop Star, a category that included Future, J. Cole, Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar.

Lupita Nyong’o stole the show from her contemporaries, winning Best Actress for her Oscar-winning role in 12 Years a Slave.

The ceremony, hosted by Chris Rock, also featured a special lifetime achievement honour for Lionel Richie, including a star-studded musical tribute from John Legend, Yolanda Adams and Ledisi.

“Soul is a feeling, not a color. Talent is a God-given gift and not a category. And out of the box, out of the box is that magical place where talent - true talent - goes to live and thrive and breathe. And may you never give that up as long as you're in this business," Lionel said, applauding the performers before heading to the piano for renditions of Easy Like Sunday Morning and All Night Long.

The awards show was not without controversy.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, one man was fatally shot and another stabbed in two separate BET Awards pre-show parties in Los Angeles at the weekend.

The outlet reports the parties had no official ties to the ceremony.