Emma Watson is often lauded as being one of the most forward-thinking actors of our time, and now she has finally been rewarded by her efforts by being presented with a bucket full of golden popcorn courtesy of the #MTVAwards.
Yes, the Beauty and the Beast star is now officially the first person to win the award for Best Actor in a Movie from a selection of nominees in which gender played no role — with male, female and 'non-binary' actors all competing against each other equally. Emma's reaction? Well, it's simply un-belle-ievable. Managing to thank everybody but herself, Emma has redefined acceptance speeches as we know them.
Emma Put The Importance Of The Award Before The Importance Of Her Winning It
Going up to collect her box of golden popcorn in an incredible semi-sequined dress, #EmmaWatson set the tone for the rest of her acceptance speech by emphasizing the importance of the award itself over the fact that she was the recipient of it. Emma honored MTV for creating the first acting award that "doesn't separate nominees based on their sex" which ultimately says something about "how we perceive the human experience."
While acknowledging that MTV's decision to create this gender-neutral award will mean different things to different people, Emma stated that her personal take on it was that:
"Acting is about the ability to put yourself in somebody 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."
Why Did MTV Decide To Create A Gender-Neutral Award Category?
Having emphasized the importance of receiving a gender-neutral award, Emma then went on to state how it was all the more meaningful as it was presented to her by Asia Kate Dillon who plays Taylor Mason, the first gender non-binary character on television, in Showtime's Billions.
It was after Showtime wanted to nominate Asia for an Emmy Award and consequently found the binary categories of 'Best Actress' and 'Best Actor' too restrictive due to Asia identifying with neither of these genders that the MTV Movie & TV Awards decided to create a gender-neutral awards category. Emma Watson thanked Asia directly in her speech before hugging her on stage by saying:
"Thank you [Asia] for educating me in such an inclusive, patient and loving way. Thank you so much."
Belle Smashes The Glass Ceiling: Emma Dedicates Her Award To Her Feminist Princess
Having thanked MTV and Asia, Emma then went on to thank her Beauty and the Beast character, Belle, for being a strong feminist icon and furthering the feminist cause for women everywhere. While Emma stated that she was very grateful for those who believed she did a good job in her portrayal of the Disney princess, especially considering that she had to sing in the movie which "was pretty terrifying," she acknowledged that she was being given the award because of "who Belle is, and what she represents."
By this, what Emma meant is that Belle is metaphor for women everywhere trying to break the glass ceiling and ignoring the voices that are telling them to be less than they want to be:
"The villagers in our fairytale wanted to make Belle believe the world was smaller than the way that she saw it, with fewer opportunities for her, that her curiosity and passion for knowledge and desire for more in life were grounds for alienation. I loved playing someone who didn't listen to any of that."
And on that note, Emma dropped the metaphorical mic, the crowd cheered and the pursuit of a more gender-inclusive world free of glass ceilings and prejudice moved a step closer to its goal. Thanks Emma.
Do you have a congratulatory message for Emma, Asia or Belle?