Emma Watson, MTV Movie and TV Awards, gender equality, Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson Praises MTV Movie And TV Awards For Genderless Acting Categories

It may not be surprising to learn that Emma Watson was honored at tonight’s MTV Movie & TV Awards ceremony for her role as Belle. That much should be expected by anyone who has seen Disney’s live action version of Beauty and the Beast. What may be surprising, however, is that MTV made a bold move by deciding to eliminate categories based on gender. Watson was certainly surprised and impressed enough that she devoted her acceptance speech to recognizing the change made for the first time in the history of entertainment awards.

Beauty and the Beast Star Emma Watson Praises MTV for Offering Genderless Acting Categories

Emma Watson, Asia Kate Dillon
Emma Watson accepts her Golden Popcorn award from Asia Kate Dillon. [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

As People shares, Emma Watson was honored as Best Actor in a Movie for playing Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, receiving the golden popcorn award commonly presented at the MTV Awards. While she might have had an acceptance speech prepared, just in case, Watson abandoned any prepared notes in favor of gushing over the change in the way MTV presented categories for this year’s awards.

“The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees by their sex says something about the way we perceive the human experience,” Ms. Watson began, as she accepted her award. “MTV’s move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone, but for me, it 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 categories.”

Taraji P. Henson, Daniel Kaluuya, Hugh Jackman, and Hailee Steinfeld were all up for the same award.

Presenting the award was Asia Kate Dillon, who is recognized as the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on television. Dillon plays Brandy Epps in Orange Is the New Black.

Emma also thanked Ms. Dillon for presenting the award and for her contribution to gender equality.

“This is very meaningful to me, both to be winning this award and to be given it to me by you, Asia. Thank you for educating in me in such a patient, inclusive way,” said Ms. Watson.

Watson again gushed over MTV’s new categories, suggesting that it reinforces the idea that the imagination, like empathy, should be boundless.

Emma Watson Embraced Her Inner Hermoine As She FaceTimed with a Local Teenager

A chance encounter in a shop happened to give Emma Watson an opportunity to bond with a teenage girl via FaceTime, reports Elle. A mother, recognizing Watson in the unnamed shop, asked the actress if she wouldn’t mind chatting with her daughter through the social networking app for a few minutes. It seems the daughter, like millions of others, is a big fan of the Harry Potter films and of Hermoine Granger in particular.

The teenager, Therese Kiara, shared the once in a lifetime encounter with her Facebook friends:

“I was just studying for my Bio exam when my Mom called to show Emma Watson standing behind her then she politely asked Emma if she can say hi to me on the cam. She was so kind and sweet,” Therese said of her encounter with Watson.

“Hi! Study hard!” was the simple, but inspiring message Emma shared with her fan.

It may have been brief, but it was enough to get the teenager invested in studying that much harder.

“OH GOOD LORD, I CAN NOT BREATHE. Perfect motivation to study.”

Therese Kiara might not realize just how fortunate she is to have received that brief message from Watson. Emma recently shared that she’s established a new personal rule not to take selfies with strangers, because the Beauty and the Beast star feels it creates a possibly dangerous situation.

“For me, it’s the difference between being able to have a life and not. If someone takes a photograph of me and posts it, within two seconds they’ve created a marker of exactly where I am within 10 metres,” explains Emma Watson, hinting at past problems with stalkers.

“They can see what I’m wearing and who I’m with. I just can’t give that tracking data,” added Watson.

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]