The MTV Movie & TV Awards may not have the prestige of the Oscars or Emmys, but on Sunday night, they proved why they are such an important part of awards season: They bring inclusiveness.
Although prestigious award shows have gotten a bit better since the #OscarsSoWhite catastrophe a couple years back, they still operate in ways that don't fully connect to most moviegoers or TV viewers in the country (I mean, I'm sorry, but who even saw "Hacksaw Ridge"?) And that's where MTV comes in.
By letting the (mostly young) fans vote for winners and changing up their category organization this year, the MTV Movie & TV Awards proved they were the true celebration of inclusiveness in pop culture that we really needed. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. It did away with gender-specific categories.
The two biggest revamps the awards did this year were add television to its field of honorees (it was previously just the MTV Movie Awards), and combining its gender-differentiated categories into gender-inclusive categories.
So instead of having Best Actor and Best Actress as separate categories, there was just one Best Actor category with both male and female nominees.
The EP of the show told Elite Daily that this felt like a natural change in line with the way MTV's young audience looks more at an actor's actual performance than their gender:
I think the way [our viewers] see performances is as performances… I don't think they look at actresses and say, 'I think that was a great performance for a girl,' I think they look at it and think, 'That's one of the performances of the year.'
2. It used its Best Kiss award to actually mean something.
The hallmark award of the MTV Movie & TV Awards has always been Best Kiss.
Almost always, the award is given to either a super-steamy sex scene or a totally comedic scene. Ultimately, the award-winning moment comes and goes without much to remember, but this year, the show highlighted a kiss that actually meant something important to the black and LGBTQ communities.
The award with given to Ashton Sander and Jharrel Jerome for their tender kiss in "Moonlight," and they dedicated the award to anyone who feels like an outsider or other.
3. It gave newcomers and young stars the spotlight.
One of the most refreshing ways that the MTV Movie & TV Awards differentiated itself from prestige awards shows is by highlighting the young talent that blew us away this year. One of the biggest winners of the night was "Stranger Things," whose young cast stole everyone's hearts with their sweet acceptance speeches.
And when Hugh Jackman and his "Logan" costar Dafne Keen won the Best Duo award, the established actor stepped aside to let Dafne have the spotlight with her acceptance speech.
4. It highlighted black excellence.
A bulk of the awards given out on Sunday celebrated black actors and black projects.
"The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah took home the Best Host trophy, Ava DuVernay's doc "13th" won Best Documentary, ABC's "Black-sh" won the new Best American Story award and Taraji P. Henson accepted the Best Fight Against the System trophy for her movie "Hidden Figures."
On top of that, the stars of the night's most nominated movie "Get Out" both left with awards, too: Daniel Kaluuya won the Next Generation award and Lil Rel Howery won Best Comedic Performance.
All in all, MTV Movie & TV Awards was definitely not so white... unfortunately, that's not easy to hashtag, though.