And the first major MTV Movie & TV Award of the night goes to... Emma Watson!
The "Beauty and the Beast" star took home the Best Actor in a Film award for her role as Belle in the 2016 Disney reboot, and she used her speech to highlight the importance of inclusion.
Emma highlighted the importance of the MTV Awards doing away with gender-based categories for the first time ever. Read what she had to say below:
Firstly, I feel I have to say something about the award itself. It's the first acting award in history that doesn't separate nominees based on their sex, and that says something about how we perceive the human experience. MTV's move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone, but to me, it indicates that acting is 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. This is very meaningful for me, both to be receiving the award, and to be receiving it from you, Asia: Thank you for educating me in such an inclusive, patient, and loving way. Thank you so much.
She went on to describe what the role of Belle represents: a free-thinker who isn't afraid to always be herself:
I think I'm being given this award for a performance as an actor, but it doesn't feel like that's what it's really for. Although I'm really grateful if you did think I did a good job, because the whole singing portion was really terrifying. Yeah, not kidding about that part. But more seriously, I think I'm being given this award because of who Belle is and what she represents. The villages in our fairytale wanted to make Belle believe that the world was smaller than the way that she saw it, with fewer opportunities for her. That her curiosity and passion for knowledge and her desire for more in life were ground for alienation. I loved playing someone who didn't listen to any of that. I'm so proud to be a part of film that celebrates diversity, literacy, inclusion, joy, and love the way that this one does.
And to finish it all off, she thanked the original Belle creators and, of course, her fellow nominees:
I want to thank Linda Woolverton, for writing the original Belle, to Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont for writing what the animated movie was based on, and to Paige O'hara for playing Belle in the original. And I want to thank every single person who voted for me. Thank you so much. Taraji, Daniel, James, Hailee, all of you, it was a privilege to be nominated alongside you. Lastly, I want to thank anyone and everyone who had anything to do with giving me this opportunity and supporting me on that journey. You know who you are and I can't thank you enough. Thank you so much.