MTV Movie & TV Awards: Asia Kate Dillon Presents Gender-Neutral Acting Award to Emma Watson
The nonbinary 'Billions' performer kicked off the trophy presentation with a celebration of fluidity.
The MTV Movie & TV Awards began with a celebration of gender fluidity as gender-neutral nonbinary performer Asia Kate Dillon (Billions) presented the show's first gender-neutral acting award.
Dillon presented the best actor in a movie award to Beauty and the Beast's Emma Watson.
The nominees in the category, as with other MTV Movie & TV Awards acting categories, included both male and female performers, something MTV, VH1 and Logo general manager Amy Doyle said was inspired by the MTV audience "uniformly rejecting obsolete labels and embracing fluidity."
"It really was a cultural statement," Doyle told The Hollywood Reporter of eliminating the male and female acting categories. "And it really is reflective about the audience's views and when you look at the culture as a whole, you had a man against a woman running for president [last year]. It just felt like a dated construct for a category."
"Great acting is great acting, no matter what the gender or non-gender," she added.
Presenting the award, which Dillon called, "the first acting award ever that celebrates performance free of any gender distinctions," Dillon said, "Tonight we celebrate portrayals of the human experience, because the only distinction we should be making when it comes to awards is between each outstanding performance."
Watson also took a moment at the beginning of her acceptance speech to comment on the significance of the award, saying the category not separating "nominees based on their sex, says something about how we perceive the human experience."
She said MTV's decision, to her, "indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself into 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," Watson added, thanking Dillon for "educating" her "in such an inclusive, patient and loving way."
She went on to praise what her version of Belle represents.
"The villagers 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," Watson said. "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."