The MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss category is one of the most hotly contested and iconic — previous winners including the smooch between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair in Cruel Intentions, and Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdam's steamy lip-lock in The Notebook. This year's winners, however, smashed conventionality when the gong was awarded to Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders for their touching kiss in the Oscar-winning indie hit Moonlight.
The #Moonlight boys managed to beat out Empire, Beauty and the Beast and — most hilariously — La La Land to clinch the award. Understandably, the duo looked utterly thrilled to have pulled it off. The award was also presented by Allison Williams and Lil Rel Howery — stars of the critically acclaimed social horror Get Out — making the win that little bit sweeter for those championing more diverse cinema.
Rather than reenacting the winning kiss as usual, Jerome and Sanders focused their energy on giving a touching and poignant speech, dedicating their win to minority performers and the 'outsiders.' Sanders addressed the audience first, saying:
"On a real note, I think it is safe to say that it is OK for us young performers — especially us minority performers — to step out of the box. I think it is OK to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to tell the story and do whatever it takes to make a change. And so this award is for that — 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."
Aston continued, saying:
"This award is bigger than Jharrel and I. This represents more than just a kiss. This is for those who feel like the others, the misfits; this represents us."
Check out the video of Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders accepting their award below:
This is not the first time that two men have been awarded in the Best Kiss category; Jason Biggs & Seann William Scott won for American Pie 2, Heath Ledger and Jake Gylenhaal won for Brokeback Mountain, and Will Ferrell & Sacha Baron Cohen won for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. However, this is the first time that two men of color — in fact, any person of color at all — has won the prize, making this victory all the more important.
Do you think Moonlight deserved to win Best Kiss? Let us know in the comments!