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The First Genderless Acting Award goes to Emma Watson

Chelsea Lauren/REX

Emma Watson is one of the most inspirational young women in Hollywood. From speaking out for equality, women’s rights, and taking a stand for anyone in need; she sets a standard that a lot of her fans strive to live up to. She stays out of the ‘flashy’ life that she could embrace and instead finds herself happier with the simple things.

When it was revealed that she’d be playing Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast film, it made sense. She is a lot like the Disney princess herself. She’s gorgeous, both in mind and body, she’s smart, and she believes in the power of love. As many fans anticipated, she nailed the role. So much so that Beauty and the Beast was one of the biggest movies of the year, we definitely saw it more than once!

At the MTV Movie & TV Awards, she gave a heartwarming speech that, again, inspired us all and will go down as a moment in entertainment history. For the first time in the history of any award show, the categories weren’t broken down based on gender. Emma was awarded ‘Best Actor’ for her portrayal of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. The groundbreaking moment comes from the fact that she was going up against both females and males for the win.

Emma’s speech focused on the importance of that moment, and how it was much larger than herself.

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.

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…in such an inclusive, patient and loving way. Thank you so much.

Emma went on to talk about Belle and how she loved getting to take on a role where the drive in someone’s life was worth standing up against stereotypes for. Belle didn’t listen to naysayers, and in a world where it’s easy to do so, that character is someone we all needed.

Belle’s curiosity and passion for knowledge and her desire for more in life were ground for alienation. I loved playing someone who didn’t listen to any of that. I’m so proud to be part of a film that celebrates diversity, literacy, inclusion, joy, and love the way that this one does.

Congratulations Emma, both on your win and on your portrayal of Belle.

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