When you think of great MTV Movie (And TV) Awards moments, they’re usually of this ridiculous-but-lovable variety. Think Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams’s recreating their iconic The Notebook moment after winning best kiss. Well, Beauty And The Beast star Emma Watson changed all of that with her thoughtful, moving, and emotional speech for her best actor in a movie win.
The women’s rights activist and UN ambassador gave a nearly four-minute speech dismantling the need for sex-separated acting categories, while supporting inclusion, kindness and empathy. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as the 2017 MTV M&TV Awards are the first major awards show to completely ditch the idea of splitting up categories between men and women. Watson’s statements are sure to become iconic, so take a minute and read them in their entirety below. You’ll thank us later.
"Thank you so much. Thank you. Firstly, I feel I have to say something about the award itself. The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex 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. Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits.
"This is very meaningful to me. Both to be winning the award and to be receiving it from you, [non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon]. Thank you for educating me in such an inclusive, patient, and loving way. Thank you so much. I think I’m being given this award for a performance as an actor. But it doesn’t feel like that’s what it’s really for. Although I’m very grateful if you did think I did a good job. Because the whole singing part of the situation was pretty terrifying. Yeah, not kidding about that part.
"But, more seriously, I think I’m being given this award because of who Belle is and what she represents. The villagers in our fairytale wanted to make Belle believe 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. 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. I want to thank Linda Woolverton for writing the original Belle and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont for writing what the animated movie was based on. And Paige O’Hara for playing Belle in the original.
"And I want to thank every single person who voted for me. Thank you so much. Taraji, I can’t see you, but, Daniel, James, Hailee, all of you, it’s a privilege to have been nominated alongside you. Lastly, I want to thank anyone and everyone who had anything to do with giving me this opportunity and supporting me on that journey. You know who you are and I can’t thank you enough. Thank you so, so much."