Emma Watson won the first-ever gender-neutral MTV Movie & TV award, and her speech was so inspiring

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Last night saw the MTV Movie & TV Awards take place in Los Angeles, and picking up the first-ever gender-neutral award for best actor was Emma Watson.

It was announced earlier this year that the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards would be dropping its male and female categories, and going gender neutral. Likewise, MTV announced that rather than have separate categories for movies and TV, the awards show would see both mediums compete in the same categories, with MTV president Chris McCarthy saying, “We’re living in a golden age of content, and great storytelling and characters resonate regardless of whether you’re watching it in a theater or on TV.”

Well, Emma Watson made history last night after winning the first-ever gender-neutral award for best actor at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, and her speech was pretty darn epic.

Watson picked up the gong for her turn as Belle in the recent live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, with the win marking the first time the star has won an award at the show despite having been nominated five times.

The actor was presented the golden popcorn by Asia Kate Dillon, and went on to discuss the importance of the fact that this was the first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees by gender, noting that it “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,” she said. “Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits. This is very meaningful for me, both to be winning the award and to be receiving it from you, Asia. Thank you for educating me in such an inclusive, patient, and loving way.”

Watson went on to say that while she hoped she was also getting the award for her ability as an actor in Beauty and the Beast, she felt that a lot of her win came down to who Belle is as a character.

“I think I’m being given this award because of who Belle is and what she represents,” she said. “The villagers in our fairy tale wanted to make Belle believe that the world was 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. 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.”

Watch Emma Watson’s full speech below.

We couldn’t be happier for Emma Watson for her win last night, and we couldn’t agree more with what she has to say.

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