"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.”
By
Michaela Morgan

8 May 2017 - 3:25 PM  UPDATED 8 May 2017 - 3:26 PM

The MTV Movie & TV Awards has become the first award show to scrap male and female acting categories—replacing them with single ‘Best Actor’ prizes.

Emma Watson received the first ‘Best Actor in a Movie’ award for her role as Belle in the latest adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

"The first acting award in history that doesn't separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience,” Watson said.

"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.”

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Watson said she believes she received the 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,” she added. “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."

The award was presented to Watson by Asia Kate Dillon, the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character in a TV series (Billions).

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“This is very meaningful to me,” said Watson. “Both to be winning the award and to be receiving it from you, Asia. Thank you for educating me in such — in such an inclusive, patient, and loving way.”

Watson was up against nominees including Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen) and Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Fences).

13-year-old Millie Bobbie Brown was presented the first gender neutral TV acting award for her role as Eleven in Stranger Things beating Donald Glover (Atlanta), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Mandy Moore (This is Us).