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The MTV Movie and TV Awards went down last night with a new format, new categories and more wokeness than we’ve seen from just about any awards show. There was music, there was kissing, there were tears, and we loved it all.
Watch the 2017 MTV Movie and TV Awards here and check out the most woke moments below.
MTV changed their categories this year to not only include movies and TV together, but also to do away with gender specific categories. Last night’s show named Emma Watson as the Best Movie Actor for her role as Belle in the Disney blockbuster Beauty and the Beast, with the monumental moment not lost on Watson.
Never one to let an inspiring moment pass by, Watson happily accepted “…the first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience,” said Watson. “Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits.”
Watson closed out her eloquent acceptance speech by saying “I’m so proud to be a part of a film that celebrates diversity, literacy, inclusion, joy, and love, the way that this one does.”
Watson was presented the golden popcorn statue by actor Asia Kate Dillon, whose role on Billions makes Dillon the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on a major television series. Dillon also praised MTV’s decision to move to gender neutral categories, saying “Tonight we celebrate portrayals of the human experience, because the only distinction we should be making when it comes to awards is between each outstanding performance.”
Host Adam Devine left no costume unworn and no table unsmashed for his first MTV hosting gig. The Workaholics star even showed his own wokeness, presenting a play on the ’90s ‘The More You Know’ campaign with ‘Adam Gets It,’ a sketch that involved Devine making nominated film and movie titles more woke.
Taraji P. Henson won a golden popcorn statue for Best Fight Against the System for her biographical role as NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures during last night’s show. Henson applauded the film’s message, saying “The message of the movie is togetherness. I hate the separateness. I hate that it’s man versus woman, black versus white, gay versus straight. Whatever. We’re all humans, right?”
Henson also talked about the untold history of the film, which depicted the true story of three African American women who helped the U.S. win the Space Race. “No one ever told me that girls couldn’t do math and science, but there was an understanding, right? There was an understanding that it was for boys,” said Henson. “I remember getting this script [and] being very upset because I 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, that another young girl would not grow up thinking that her mind wasn’t capable of grasping math and science.”
Presenting Henson with her award was Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross and U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who made headlines earlier this year for standing up to recently ousted Fox host Bill O’Reilly and for calling for the impeachment of President Trump. The award show was mostly Trump-free (aside from Best Host winner Trevor Noah thanking POTUS “for the comedy”) but Waters’ inclusion was a very big statement to the Trump administration that the youth of the US are paying attention and mobilizing.
Past MTV recipients of Best Kiss have included same-sex couples, including Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal for Brokeback Mountain and Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair for Cruel Intentions. But last night’s win for Moonlight stars Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome featured the first non-white actors taking home the golden popcorn.
The two newcomers spoke about the importance of actors taking risks to help all audience members see their stories told on screen. “On a real note, I think it is safe to say that it is OK for us young performers—especially us minority performers—to step out of the box,” said Jerome. “I think it is OK to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to tell the story and do whatever it takes to make a change. And so this award is for that; for us artists who are out there who need to step out of the box to do whatever it takes to get people to wake up.”
“This award is bigger than Jharrel and I,” Sanders agreed. “This represents more than a kiss. This is for those who feel like the others, the misfits, this represents us.”
Beauty and the Beast took home the biggest movie award of the night, winning Best Movie of the Year. Director Bill Condon accepted the award with the films’ stars Emma Watson and Josh Gad and pointed out that Beauty and the Beast’s success should be an indication to Hollywood that more female-centric films are wanted. “This is so exciting, thank you so much,” Condon said. “Thank you to the audience who embraced this movie so much, but especially thank you to the women because women have proven that they’re a huge and powerful audience, and it’s gonna change the movie business.”
Jordan Peele made history this year when his socially conscious horror film Get Out went into opening weekend with a perfect 100 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Still sitting at an incredible 99 per cent, the film is a bona fide critical and commercial success, with lead actor Daniel Kaluuya taking home last night’s award for The Next Generation. In his acceptance speech, Kaluuya applauded the film’s writer and director for making “something that made me and my friends feel included.”