If you’re looking for the latest Lady Gaga video, you might search for it on YouTube, but ask your parents where they looked for their favorite music videos when they were kids and they’d most likely say, “MTV.” In 1981, MTV or Music Television officially went on air with the simple line, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” Whether the creators of MTV knew it or not at the time, they had started something that would continue to influence the music industry for years to come.
In 1992, MTV hosted their first movie award show and unlike other award shows where winners were chosen by critics or industry experts, the winners of each MTV award were chosen by fans. Categories were also different from those of other award shows. In addition to traditional categories like, “Best Actor in a Comedy,” MTV included categories like, “Best Kiss,” “Best Villain,” and “Best Duo.” And as for the award itself, well, that’s quite different too—it’s a trophy shaped like a big tub of movie theater popcorn! Get where we’re going here? MTV is different.
This year, Emma Watson won the award for “Best Actor in a Movie” for her performance as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. (Congratulations, Ms. Watson!) That’s wonderful in and of itself, but that’s not the only reason why we’re writing about her. You see, this is the first time ever that women and men were nominated alongside each other for the title of “Best Actor,” not “Best Actress,” but “Best Actor” period. Fellow “Best Actor in a Movie” nominees included Hailee Seinfeld, Daniel Kaluuya, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, and Taraji P. Henson. During Watson’s acceptance speech, she talked about what it meant for her that MTV took away categories that separate the talents of men versus women. She said, “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.”