Film musical Beauty and the Beast and Netflix’s sci-fi newcomer Stranger Things were the night’s big winners at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, picking up two trophies apiece.
This year, the 26th edition of what was formerly known as the MTV Movie Awards, television was added into the mix for the first time.
Stranger Things was named Show of the Year, and its young breakout star, 13-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, won Best Actor in a Show.
Beauty and the Beast was the Movie of the Year, with its star, Emma Watson, receiving the Best Actor in a Movie award.
Also this year, MTV introduced a policy of having men and women compete jointly for the same acting categories.
Asia Kate Dillon, who plays Taylor Mason in Showtime’s drama Billions – “the first openly non-binary actor to play an openly non-binary character on a major TV show” – celebrated the gender fluidity of the awards, stating that MTV was breaking down gender barriers.
A non-binary person is someone who does not identify as being of either gender, preferring the use of personal pronouns them, their and they.
After receiving her gender-free Best Actor in a Movie award from Dillon, Watson said: “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.”
Despite dark skies, rain and dime-size hailstones in Los Angeles, turning the red carpet outside Shrine Auditorium into a swamp, the MTV celebration marked the start of the summer entertainment season.
Actor, screenwriter, producer and comedian Adam DeVine hosted the evening’s proceedings. Tongue-in-cheek, he described himself as a progressive personality fully equal to the night’s theme of equality.
As the caption “Adam Gets It” flashed on the stage screen, he said: “I love Hugh Jackman. But I call him Hugh Jack-person.”
Turning his attention to Beauty and the Beast, he said: “I call it ‘Multidimensional Woman with her own Dynamic Traits, and the Beast.’”
The ceremony maintained its traditional quirky irreverence with award categories recognising the Best Duo (Jackman and young Dafne Keen of the film Logan), Best Villain (Jeffrey Dean Morgan for his role as Negan in TV zombie drama The Walking Dead), Best Tearjerker (hit new TV drama This Is Us), and Best Kiss (Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome in coming-of-age film Moonlight).
That last award was presented by actress Allison Williams and a nervous-looking Lil Rey Howery, co-stars of the race-themed horror film Get Out. “Are you scared of me?” Williams asked him.
“I’m afraid – that’s the word I’m gonna use,” said Howery.
“Ever since the movie came out,” said Williams, “for the last couple of months… ”
“… Black dudes don’t mess with you,” said Howery, whose character in the film had good reason to be scared of hers.
A new award, Best Fight Against the System, went to the film Hidden Figures, which tells the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who played a vital role at Nasa during the early years of the United States space programme.
The mission of the filmmakers, said one of its stars, Taraji P Henson, was to dispel a certain deep-seated social myth, “so another young girl wouldn’t grow up thinking that her mind wasn’t capable of grasping maths and science”.
The cast of the Fast and Furious franchise received the Generation Award, which was accepted on their behalf by Vin Diesel, who thanked a generation of fans “willing to accept this multicultural franchise, where it didn’t matter what colour your skin was or what country you are from – when you’re family, you’re family”.
Trevor Noah of Comedy Central’s satirical news programme The Daily Show was named Best Host.
“There is one person I aspire to be every single day,” he said, “and that is my mom: a powerful, strong black woman who never listened when people told her she couldn’t be more.”
He also expressed gratitude to US president Donald Trump “for the comedy”.
Even one of the night’s biggest awards did not escape a bit of mischief-making. Presenting Movie of the Year, Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn fluffed the title of the winner – poking fun at this year’s Oscars mix-up – first announcing “La La Light,” then “Moonland”, before naming Beauty and the Beast.
* Associated Press