This year’s MTV TV & Movie Awards were iconic for a number of reasons. The bar has been raised for other major awards shows to up their game and create equally inclusive and diverse shows. We are loving the politically-aware revamp MTV has gone through, from creating genderless award categories to rewarding films that fight the system rather than rewarding good fight scenes.
1. The first genderless Best Actor award
For the first time in major awards show history, the Best Actor category wasn’t split up into two separate female and male awards. The idea of limiting an award to someone’s gender felt like a ‘dated construct’ according to MTV general manager Amy Doyle. People are applauding MTV for breaking new ground and acknowledging actors on their performances alone, not their genders. This year’s award was presented by non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon (best known for her work in Orange Is The New Black) and went to Emma Watson for her role as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Emma’s touching speech acknowledged the significance of both the genderless award and being presented with it by Asia.
2. Moonlight winning the Best Kiss award
Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders were given the prize for Best Kiss for their heartbreaking and touching moment in Moonlight. This award often goes to white heterosexual hook ups, so this win by two men of colour is a big deal and something to be celebrated. Jerome used the chance to dedicate the award to minority performers, saying ‘This represents more than a kiss. This is for those who feel like the others, the misfits’.
— Movie & TV Awards (@MTVAwards) May 8, 2017
3. The ‘Fight The System’ Award
In another first, MTV replaced their Best Fight prize with the Fight The System award. In previous years this award has been presented to the likes of Jennifer Lawrence for her fight scene in The Hunger Games but is now given to a performance that is bold and seeks to shake the status quo. Taraji P. Henson accepted the golden popcorn-shaped award on behalf of the cast of Hidden Figures, which tells the story of the crucial role black women played in the early days of the US space program. Her moving speech touched on what the role meant for her: ‘I remember getting this script and being very upset, because it felt like a dream was stolen from me. And it became my mission, and everyone’s mission who was involved with this film, to dispel that myth, so that another young girl would not grow up thinking that her mind wasn’t capable of grasping math and science.’
— E! News (@enews) May 8, 2017
4. Millie Bobby Brown’s first big win
The youngest award winner was Millie Bobby Brown for her role as everybody’s favourite character on Stranger Things, Eleven. We’re used to seeing the thirteen year old being pretty hardcore in the show, but Millie melted our hearts with her tear-filled speech where she seemed overwhelmed and genuinely surprised to have won. She pulled herself together to thank the show’s creators for writing a ‘badass, female, iconic character that I had the honour to play’. We wish we’d had a feminist figure like her when we were 13.
MTV seems to be shaking up the nature of awards shows and we’re super into it.