By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Spirited speeches were front and center at the MTV Movie and TV awards on Sunday, where the night’s top winners at the usually irreverent awards show took to the stage to champion diversity and inclusion.
A rare spell of wet weather in Los Angeles shut down the red carpet before the awards show, but inside, drinks were flowing as host Adam Devine literally set the stage on fire as he kicked off MTV’s first awards celebrating both television and films.
Streaming platform Netflix enjoyed the night’s biggest spotlight when its 1980s sci-fi series “Stranger Things” won the inaugural Show of the Year award.
“Thank you to Netflix, where would we be without Netflix? Like literally, when you’re having a bad day, what do you do when you go home?,” “Stranger Things” star Caleb McLaughlin said on stage, as the audience shouted back “Watch Netflix.”
Disney’s live-action fairytale “Beauty and the Beast” won Best Movie and director Bill Condon thanked the female audience, saying “women have proven that they are huge and powerful audience and it’s going to change the movie business.”
MTV did away with gender-specific acting categories this year for its fan-voted awards, where “Beauty and the Beast” star Emma Watson won best actor in a movie and “Stranger Things” newcomer Millie Bobby Brown, 13, won best actor in a show.
“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 on stage.
MTV’s annual fan-voted, youth-orientated awards show is known for its irreverent moments, explicit jokes and unconventional award categories, which Devine played up in off-kilter quips about his genitals and smoking marijuana.
But this year’s show saw presenters and winners get passionate about issues on stage.
The Best Kiss award went to a tender moment between two teenage boys played by Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome in the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” and Sanders dedicated the win to “those who feel like the others, the misfits.”
U.S. Representative Maxine Waters presented the award for Best Fight Against the System and said each of the nominees “pushes back against the bullies and uses their platform to inspire us all.” The award went to “Hidden Figures,” the story of three black female NASA mathematicians.
“Logan” stars Hugh Jackman and newcomer Dafne Keen won Best Duo, “Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya won the Next Generation award, while NBC family drama “This is Us” won Best Tearjerker.
The MTV Generation Award went to the “Fast and Furious” action franchise and star Vin Diesel thanked “a generation that was willing to accept this multicultural franchise where it didn’t matter what color your skin was or what country you’re from – when you’re family, you’re family.”
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Michael Perry)