The MTV Movie and TV Awards are not known as the highest accolade for actresses and actors; it’s safe to say that, as children, many dream of winning at the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys or BAFTAs, citing these iconic awards as pinnacles of success. Despite this, the MTV Awards are proving themselves to be an enviable ‘gong’ to collect, having done away with gendered award categories.
The decision comes as part of a decidedly 21st century makeover for Hollywood and sees the Best Actor and Best Actress categories with the gender-neutral designations Best Actor in a Movie and Best Actor in a Show.
The Grammys were the real trailblazer in this trend, having decided way back in 2011 that it would do away with gendered divide between male and female musicians, bands and collaborations.
Ultimate mega babe Emma Watson (her unofficial title) won the covetable first ever MTV Award for Best Actor for her role as Belle in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, her thank you speech once again reminding us of all the reasons why we love her.
Using the opportunity, Watson thanked and applauded MTV for the move and talked about what the award meant to her, emphasizing the empathy needed by actors in portraying different characters and their lives:
“MTV’s move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone. But to me, it indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories. Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits.”
The award was presented to Watson by gender-neutral nonbinary actor Asia Kate Dillon. Dillion is herself doing wonders for raising awareness about gender neutrality in Hollywood. She’s appeared in Orange is the New Black and she is the first openly non- binary identifying actor to be cast in a major TV series as a non-binary character in Billions.
Here’s hoping that this heralds just the start of a movement that will change award shows and the film and TV industries at a whole!
Words: Esther Newman