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Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Last night was the debut of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, MTV’s attempt at modernizing their big award show that doesn’t yearly feature an amazing performance from Beyonce. Among the updates: new and gender neutral categories and the addition of television shows and actors as viable candidates.


Now, of course, you can’t exactly take an award show that chooses to recognize Emma Watson for her acting skills entirely seriously, (And before you come for me, Harry Potter fans, go see “The Circle.” It’s really bad despite being based on a great book, and her stiff-as-a-board performance is significant reason for that.) but in many categories the show celebrated diversity in a way that the bigger shows haven’t. Best Kiss went to Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome for “Moonlight,” Best Hero went to Taraji P. Henson for “Hidden Figures” and the Next Generation award went to Daniel Kaluuya for “Get Out.” (You can see the full winner list here.)


As for the decision to eschew male and female categories and go for two big gender neutral awards for TV and film, the idea itself is great, but it poses some concerns when it comes to nominations and wins. It is of course incredibly important to recognize performers who don’t identify as solely male or female, but by condensing those categories into one you A) lose opportunities to award equally worthy performers of all genders and B) lose opportunities to recognize under appreciated performances with a nomination. The limited number of nominations that come with just one award as opposed to two means that performances that perhaps went under the radar of the general public won’t be recognized with a nomination because only the best of the best and the most universally known will get nominated. It seems highly unlikely that bigger shows like the Oscars or the Emmys will go in this direction any time soon, but if they did choose to go the way of MTV, that would be something to take into consideration.


As for new awards that blended both movie and TV nominees, the winners still leaned more on the movie side. Out of the 10 categories that featured both movie and TV contenders, six were won by movies and four were won by TV. This might not mean anything other than the fact that those were the actors who were willing to show up (I am convinced this is the case for many of these award shows that are voted on by the public, but that might just another one of my conspiracy theories), but it does show that even though TV is considered to be competitive with film again, it might not be with the younger generation.


Overall, the show was fun. Host Adam Devine continued to do a great Jack Black impression (jk jk, he was lovely) and the special sneak peek of the new “It” remake genuinely disturbed me in ways that only a creepy clown can. Did the updated MTV Movie & TV Awards change the world? No, not really. But did it keep me entertained for its 2-ish hour duration? Yes, yes it did.


Did you watch the MTV Movie & TV Awards? What did you think of the changes? Mad that “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” wasn’t recognized at all? Me too. Before you write you complaint letters to MTV though, remember…


Stay classy.