British actor Emma Watson (left) made history at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards by winning the first ever gender neutral acting award.
The 27-year-old beat actors Taraji P. Henson, Daniel Kaluuya, Hugh Jackman and Hailee Steinfeld to take home the award for Best Actor in Film and TV for Beauty and the Beast. While accepting the Golden Popcorn trophy, Watson dedicated her speech to celebrating the genderless acting categories.
The MTV awards’ policy of breaking down gender barriers in its new format — men and women competed jointly in the acting categories — was the talk of the town.
Watson said, “The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees by their sex says something about the way we perceive the human experience. MTV’s move will mean something different to everyone, but for me, it indicates that acting is about ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. And that doesn’t need to be separated.”
It was a stirring speech from Watson, who has been a gender equality activist for years. As UN Goodwill Ambassador, she gave an acclaimed speech in September 2014, while launching HeForShe campaign, aimed to get men and boys to join movement for gender equality.