Aside from a catastrophic performance overall by otherwise endearing, adorbs host Adam Devine, the MTV Movie & TV Awards went bold this year, awarding actors instead of actors and actresses, and honoring a gay kiss, rewarding a diverse array of performers and performances.
I mean, the network's Best Kiss Award went to the young men who smooched in Moonlight — a black, gay kiss — which years ago would be about as likely as me not spending half my day on 7Sultans mobile casino app:
Some who rail against PC will find this move into the future irritating, but in particular, I've thought for a long time the arbitrary distinctions in Best Actor/Best Actress categories have felt like relics of the past. It feels like there is a Best Actor category, and then one for Actress just 'cuz, you know, the girls can't win.
But in MTV's first stab at a gender-neutral ceremony, a girl did win — Emma Watson took home the popcorn trophy for her role in Beauty and the Beast, itself a trail-blazing film for its somewhat “gay moment.”
I almost found Watson's speech ridiculous — she gave a heartfelt speech worthy of winning an Oscar, or a Nobel Peace Prize! — until I listened on and realized she was right to make a big deal about the award, and to take the time to unpack why she won it. She was right that it wasn't just for her acting, but also for what her film represents, and while we all know the MTV Movie & TV Awards are not going to be as free of politics and vote-rigging as the Oscars, I think the show's vibe and her speech really did make progress in the culture.
Sadly, though it took a move to VH1 for RuPaul to suddenly be recognized as the true icon he is — he was named an influencer by Time out of nowhere, finally! — and though he did win for Best Reality Series, he was not allowed to accept his award from the stage. Instead, host Devine dropped it at his table.
Choosing RuPaul (indeed, inviting him to a major awards show) was a big deal, but silencing him was pretty offensive, especially when there was a lot of crappy filler during the show — I mean, they could have cut the jaw-droppingly lame opening by 60 seconds to let Ru say something funny, no?
Still, it was one false note in a show drenched in diversity — and not diversity for diversity's sake, but because diverse is what true excellence looks like.
Plus, it's always a pleasure to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson, especially when he's awarding my favorite movie of the year so far, Get Out, and seeing Maxine Waters given a hero's welcome was worth sitting through Noah Cyrus.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, starring in Godzilla, makes the cover of Nylon Guys (May 2014). The magazine, noting his marriage to much older artist/director Sam Taylor-Johnson (née Sam Taylor-Wood) and his status as Dad to her four kids, says he is “the rare father of four who isn't old enough to rent a car.”
Shot by Kenneth Cappello
As attached as he is to his wife, whom he credits with ending his predilection for attempting to bed the fittest woman in every bar he entered, he wasn't keen on starring in the movie she's just directed—the big-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey:
“I think it would have been the wrong kind of hype to bring toward us. It would have been kind of funny that this character that all these women fancy—he's one in a million—and my wife picks her husband to play the part? I would love ot have done something together again, but it wouldn't have been Fifty. We were both on the same page.”
The couple previously worked together on 2009's Nowhere Boy, when Aaron was a teenager.