In an effort to revamp a 25-year-old award show, MTV turned the MTV Movie Awards into the MTV Movie & TV Awards on Sunday night. In addition to awarding prizes to television shows, the network ditched the idea of dividing up “best actor” and “best actress” — the acting categories are now gender-neutral. And the category for “best fight” is now “best fight against the system.”
MTV is very proud of all its progressive changes; the ceremony’s host, “Pitch Perfect” star Adam Devine, poked some fun at the network.
“You might have noticed that tonight isn’t just about … having a great time. It’s also about breaking down barriers and spreading awareness of pressing issues,” Devine said. He noted that Hugh Jackman should be Hugh Jackperson; “Beauty and the Beast” should be “Multi-Dimensional Woman With Her Own Dynamic Traits and the Beast”; and Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars” should be “Pretty Big Talents.”
But some actors got more serious during the telecast and used their time on stage to deliver powerful speeches. Here are some of the most memorable. (A complete list of winners and nominees is below.)
1. Emma Watson wins best actor in a movie for playing Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”
As the first star to accept an award, Watson (who frequently speaks out about feminism) applauded MTV for its new category structure and called out presenter Asia Kate Dillon of Showtime’s “Billions,” the first openly non-binary performer to play a non-binary character in a major TV show.
I feel like 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. Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits. This is very meaningful to me, both to be winning the award and to be receiving it from you, Asia. Thank you for educating me in such an inclusive, patient and loving way.
I think I’m being given this award because of who Belle is and what she represents. The villages in our fairy tale 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 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.
2. Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome of “Moonlight” win best kiss.
One of the pivotal scenes during the film that won the best picture Oscar is when teenage Chiron (played by Sanders) shares a first kiss with his best friend, Kevin (Jerome). The pair delivered a joint speech when they won the trophy.
Jerome: It is okay for us young performers, especially us minority performers, to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to tell the story and do whatever it takes to make a change. So this award is for that, is 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.
Sanders: This award is bigger than Jharrel and I. This represents more than a kiss. This is for those who feel like the others, the misfits. This represents us. So we love y’all and thank y’all.
3. Taraji P. Henson accepts the best fight against the system trophy for “Hidden Figures.”
Henson starred as Katherine Johnson in “Hidden Figures,” about the black female mathematicians at NASA in the 1960s who played an integral role in the space program. After giving a shout-out to her co-stars Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, Henson reiterated the importance of the film.
This movie was bigger than all of us. We understood that, we understood the task at hand. We understood that this is a part of history that needed to be re-implemented into the blood and the veins of American history. For me, it was very important because I grew up with an understanding. No one ever told me girls couldn’t do math or science, but there was an understanding, right? There was an understanding it was for boys. So I remember getting this script and being very upset because I felt like a dream was stolen from me. So it became my mission, and everyone’s mission who was involved with this film, to dispel that myth, so that another young girl wouldn’t grow up thinking that her mind wasn’t capable of grasping math and science.
If it were not for these women, we wouldn’t be in space. And not only that, the message of the movie is togetherness. I hate the separatism, I hate that it’s man versus woman, black versus white, gay versus straight. Whatever, we’re all humans, right? God is very clever. God is very clever. He made us all different for a reason, so we better figure it out.
4. Vin Diesel accepts the Generation Award for the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.
The car-racing movies have raked in billions over the years, so MTV decided to give the franchise a special prize for its “global contribution to pop culture.” Diesel did the honors, and as you might have guessed, he mentioned family:
Most importantly, I gotta thank our generation. I gotta thank a generation that was willing to accept this multicultural franchise, where it didn’t matter what color your skin was, or what country you were from. When you’re family, you’re family.
5. Bill Condon accepts the best movie trophy for “Beauty and the Beast.”
It was a big night for the Disney live-action film, which has earned a whopping $487 million since it opened a few months ago. Condon, the director, thanked a specific demographic for the movie’s success, one that is occasionally overlooked in Hollywood.
Thank you to the audience that embraced this movie so much, but especially to the women. Because women have proven that they are a huge and powerful audience and it’s going to change the movie business. So thank you very much.
Complete list of winners
Best actor in a movie
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Emma Watson, “Beauty and the Beast” — winner
Hailee Steinfeld, “The Edge of Seventeen”
Hugh Jackman, “Logan”
James McAvoy, “Split”
Taraji P. Henson, “Hidden Figures”
Best actor in a show
Donald Glover, “Atlanta” (FX)
Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin” (CW)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, “The Walking Dead” (AMC)
Mandy Moore, “This Is Us” (NBC)
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things” (Netflix) — winner
Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, “The Voice” (NBC)
Daniel Kaluuya and Lil Rel Howery, “Get Out”
Brian Tyree Henry and Lakeith Stanfield, “Atlanta” (Fox)
Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen, “Logan” — winner
Josh Gad and Luke Evans, “Beauty and the Beast”
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” (VH1)
Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome, “Moonlight” — winner
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, “Beauty and the Beast”
Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, “Empire” (Fox)
Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”
Best fight against the system
“Hidden Figures” — winner
“Luke Cage” (Netflix)
“Mr. Robot” (USA)
Daniel Kaluuya — winner
“Game of Thrones” (HBO): The death of Hodor (Kristian Nairn).
“Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC): Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) tells her children about the death of Derek (Patrick Dempsey).
“Me Before You”: Will (Sam Claflin) tells Louisa (Emilia Clarke) he can’t stay with her.
“Moonlight”: Paula (Naomie Harris) tells Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) that she loves him.
“This Is Us” (NBC): Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Randall (Lonnie Chavis) at karate. — winner
Ellen DeGeneres, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (NBC)
John Oliver, “Last Week Tonight” (HBO)
RuPaul, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Logo)
Samantha Bee, “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” (TBS)
Trevor Noah, “The Daily Show” (Comedy Central) — winner
Best musical moment
“Beauty and the Beast” by Ariana Grande and John Legend, “Beauty and the Beast”
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake, “Trolls”
“How Far I’ll Go” by Auli’i Cravalho, “Moana”
“City of Stars” by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, “La La Land”
“You Can’t Stop the Beat” by ensemble from “Hairspray Live!”
“Be That as It May” by Herizen Guardiola, “The Get Down”
“You’re the One That I Want” by ensemble from “Grease: Live” — winner
Best comedic performance
Adam Devine, “Workaholics”
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, “Broad City”
Lil Rel Howery, “Get Out” — winner
Seth MacFarlane, “Family Guy”
Will Arnett, “The Lego Batman Movie”
Movie of the year
“Beauty and the Beast” — winner
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“The Edge of Seventeen”
Show of the year
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Pretty Little Liars” (Freeform)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix) — winner
“This Is Us” (NBC)
Allison Williams, “Get Out”
Demogorgon, “Stranger Things” (Netflix)
Jared Leto, “Suicide Squad”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, “The Walking Dead” (AMC) — winner
Wes Bentley, “American Horror Story: Roanoke” (FX)
“13th” — winner
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous”
“Time: The Kalief Browder Story”
Best reality competition
“America’s Got Talent” (NBC)
“MasterChef Junior” (Fox)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Logo) — winner
“The Bachelor” (ABC)
“The Voice” (NBC)
Felicity Jones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
Grant Gustin, “The Flash” (CW)
Mike Colter, “Luke Cage” (Netflix)
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things” (Netflix)
Stephen Amell, “Arrow” (CW)
Taraji P. Henson, “Hidden Figures” — winner
Best American story
“Black-ish” (ABC) — winner
“Fresh Off the Boat” (ABC)
“Jane the Virgin” (CW)
“Sean Spicer Press Conference” featuring Melissa McCarthy, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Lady Gaga Carpool Karaoke,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden” (CBS)
“Cash Me Outside How Bout Dat,” “Dr. Phil” (Syndicated)
“Run the World (Girls)” featuring Channing Tatum as Beyoncé, “Lip Sync Battle” (Spike TV) — winner
“Wheel of Musical Impressions” with Demi Lovato, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)
Winona Ryder’s winning SAG Awards reaction, 23rd annual SAG Awards