As expected, the MTV Movie & TV Awards get political

Asia Kate Dillon, right, presents the award for best actor in a movie to Emma Watson for her role in
Asia Kate Dillon, right, presents the award for actor in a movie to Emma Watson for her role in “Beauty and the Beast” at the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)

In what has become a yearly parade of summer movie trailers and honors for blockbusters, the MTV Movie & TV Awards went off without a hitch Sunday night with a new name and new categories, but the same old expected pop-culture antics for which the network’s known.

Some of the top awards of the night went to Emma Watson for her performance in “Beauty and the Beast,” Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome of “Moonlight” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

If the weather had had its way, however, the show would not have gone on. What started out as a light drizzle turned into a full-fledged hailstorm Sunday afternoon, shutting down the red carpet. Both media and talent were shepherded into the garage of the Shrine Auditorium to wait out the storm, which lasted roughly 10 minutes. The carpet did not reopen.

“I think it’s iconic, I love it,” said Steven Silver, who plays Marcus on Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why.” “I love random sporadic storms.”


“Love hanging out in garages,” added Michelle Ang, Silver’s “13 Reasons” costar. “It’s weird. Maybe it’s like a challenge from God or something. But I think we’ll overcome it.”

And overcome it they did.

The show opened live (tape-delayed for the West Coast) from the Shrine Auditorium with host Adam Devine re-creating scenes from some of the year’s top films, including a hilarious “Beauty and the Beast” dance sequence featuring a “Tale as Old as Time” rendition. Josh Gad joined Devine onstage, reprising his role in the film as LeFou. Devine also took a trip to “Get Out’s” “sunken place.”


But all eyes were on the night’s first award, for best actor in a movie. The category, dubbed the first in history to consider a performer regardless of sex or gender, was presented by “Billions’” Asia Kate Dillon, who identifies as nonbinary.

“MTV has always been at the forefront of pushing popular culture forward as a reflection of the culture at large,” Dillon said on the red carpet. “I think they’re doing the right thing.”

The award went to Watson, who played Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”

“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,” Watson said from the stage.

If such a play for equality wasn’t political enough, the show altered its best fight category to best fight against the system and recruited outspoken California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, along with “black-ish’s” Tracee Ellis Ross, to present it. And the winner? “Hidden Figures.”

“I was invited, and I think it’s because of what’s going on with millennials and their involvement in politics and helping to get this president impeached,” Waters said on the red carpet.

A popular moment on social media came with the acceptance of the best kiss award, which went to “Moonlight’s” Sanders and Jerome. Though they didn’t re-create their smooch onstage, à la Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson during their “Twilight” years, Sanders dedicated the award to “those who feel like the others, the misfits.”

Jerome added: “I think it is safe to say that it’s OK for us young performers, especially as minority performers, to step out of the box. This award is for us artists who need to step out of the box to do whatever it takes for people to wake up.”


Other winners included “This Is Us” for the tearjerker award, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for reality show and Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things” for actor in a show. These were the first TV awards ever presented on the newly revamped show honoring content across viewing platforms.

But, of course, what awards show would be complete without a spoof of that still jaw-dropping Oscars moment that saw “Moonlight” crowned as best picture after “La La Land” was wrongly announced?

Promoting their new movie, “Snatched” (in theaters Friday), Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn presented the movie award.

“La La Light!” said Schumer.

“No, that’s Moonland,” Hawn quipped back.

The award went to “Beauty and the Beast.”

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