This year, MTV made all their award categories genderless in an effort to be more inclusive, and Watson was quick to point out the importance of this modification in her speech.
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.
Watson went on to explain that her win in this category goes beyond her acting skills and is more related to the inspirational persona that her character Belle represents.
More seriously, I think I’m being given this award because of who Belle is and what she represented. The village in our fairytale wanted to make Belle believe that our world was smaller than the way she saw it — that her curiosity and her passion for knowledge 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.
Needless to say, Watson’s words left the audience and her fans feeling enlightened. The world could use more people who embrace diversity and celebrate following your dreams.