“[This] Says Something About How We Perceive the Human Experience”: Emma Watson Wins Gender-Neutral Acting Award
As previously reported, Emma Watson’s Beauty and the Beast received an impressive four MTV Movie and TV Award nominations. Last night, the film was honored with the award for Best Movie, but everyone’s talking about its other victory – Emma Watson winning the first major gender-neutral acting award.
Traditionally, awards shows have divided acting nominees into sub-category upon sub-category, most notably dividing awards for “Best Actor” and “Best Actress.” This year, MTV decided to buck the trend and nominate all performers in the same category: “Best Actor in a Movie.” Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things also picked up a gender-neutral award for “Best Actor in a Show.”
You can watch Emma’s full acceptance speech below:
Here’s the full transcript of her speech:
Wow. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Firstly, I feel I have to say something about the award itself. The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex 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 about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories.
This is very meaningful to me. Both to be winning the award and to be receiving it from you, Asia [Kate Dillon]. Thank you for educating me in such an inclusive, patient, and loving way. Thank you so much. I think I’m being given this award for a performance as an actor, but it doesn’t feel like that what it’s really for, although I am very grateful if you did think that I did a good job because the whole singing part of the situation was pretty terrifying—yeah, not kidding about that part!
But more seriously, I think I am being given this award because of who Belle is and what she represents. The villagers in our fairy tale wanted to make Belle believe that the world is smaller than the way she saw it, with fewer opportunities for her—that her curiosity and passion for knowledge and her desire for more in life were grounds for alienation. I loved playing someone who didn’t listen to any of that. 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.
I want to thank Linda Woolverton for writing the original Belle, Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont for writing what the animated movie was based on, and 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 [P. Henson], I can’t see you, but Daniel [Kaluuya], James [McAvoy], Hailee [Steinfeld], all of you, it’s a privilege to have been nominated alongside you. Lastly, I want to thank anyone and everyone who had anything to do with giving me this opportunity and for supporting me on that journey. You know who you are, and I can’t thank you enough. Thank you so, so much.
Congratulations, Emma! With all of her hard work promoting gender equality, we can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this historic award.