At Sunday night’s MTV Movie & TV Awards, Emma Watson took home the Best Actor award for her performance in Beauty And The Beast. The honour was a little different than it’s been in the past, though, because this year, MTV decided to do away with the practice of separating the acting categories by gender, meaning that Emma took home a totally gender-neutral award. ‘The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience,’ Emma said while accepting the award. ‘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.’
Whether or not gender-neutral awards would work at something like the Oscars, which tends to favour prestige films led by male actors, remains to be seen, but Emma was thrilled by the prospect of accepting MTV’s award. ‘I think I’m being given this award because of who Belle is and what she represents,’ she continued. ‘The villagers in our fairy tale wanted to make Belle believe the world was smaller than the way that she saw it, with fewer opportunities for her… I love playing someone who didn’t listen to any of that.’
‘It really was a cultural statement,’ MTV general manager Amy Doyle told The Hollywood Reporter of making the awards gender-neutral. ‘And it really is reflective about the audience’s views and when you look at the culture as a whole, you had a man against a woman running for president [last year]. It just felt like a dated construct for a category.’
This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com
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