MTV Movie & TV Awards Ditch Gender Specific Categories, But Should Other Awards Shows Follow Suit?

Normally the MTV Movie Awards are just a way for studios to pander to a younger demographic by having movies look hip and cool by getting nominated for awards like Best Kiss, Best Villain, Best Fight and Best WTF Moment. However, this year the newly dubbed MTV Movie & TV Awards will be a trailblazer in a meaningful way.

The nominations for the MTV Movie & TV Awards were announced this week, and with them came a change in how some of their categories are separated. Rather than dividing up the acting awards with Best Actor and Best Actress categories, there will now be single non-gendered acting categories in both the movie and TV arenas so that non-binary talents are not forced to identify as something they're not.

Find out more about the revamped MTV Movie and TV Awards acting categories below.

Making a statement regarding the change in acting categories, MTV president Chris McCarthy said, "This audience actually doesn't see male-female dividing lines, so we said, 'Let's take that down.'" This has nominees Emma Watson, nominated for Beauty and the Beast, and Hugh Jackman, nominated for Logan, competing against each other in a single acting category. The same has been done for acting in television as well.

The change comes at the same time gender non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon wrote a letter to the the Television Academy asking whether the division of categories for the Emmys had to do with a person's sex or gender identity. Her questioning came as Showtime asked whether she would like to be submitted in the Best Supporting Actor or Best Supporting Actress category for her acclaimed performance on the series Billions. Here's what she wrote:

"I'd like to know if in your eyes 'actor' and 'actress' denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place? The reason I'm hoping to engage you in a conversation about this is because if the categories of 'actor' and 'actress' are in fact supposed to represent 'best performance by a person who identifies as a woman' and 'best performance by a person who identifies as a man' then there is no room for my identity within that award system binary. Furthermore, if the categories of 'actor' and 'actress' are meant to denote assigned sex I ask, respectfully, why is that necessary?"

Dillon ended up discovering that the Television Academy doesn't have any specific requirements regarding sex or gender identity for either category. The actress told Variety, "The Academy supports anyone's choice to do that, and the Academy is not going to do any sort of check." This resulted in Dillon choosing Best Supporting Actor, because "actor" is actually meant to be a non-gendered, all-inclusive term.

That's also why MTV decided to revamp their categories to be Best Actor in a Movie and Best Actor in a Show, allowing talents of every sex and gender identity to be included without making them feel like they don't fit into either category. The question is, should other awards shows follow suit?

Oscars Voting Process

Should Other Awards Shows Follow Suit?

This issue hasn't required extensive discussion before since there hasn't been an actor outside of the gender binary in the running for a major award like this, but as other gender identities become more prominent in the entertainment industry, it's a discussion worth having.

Since we learned that the Television Academy doesn't require an actor to be of a certain sex or gender identity to qualify for either the actor or actress categories, there doesn't seem to be any discrimination for those who identify outside of the gender binary. But in order to avoid these situations, should acting categories in Hollywood's various awards shows follows in MTV's footsteps to avoid any possible confusion in the future? Maybe, but not everyone thinks it will have a positive impact.

Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood, a website that advocates for gender equality in film, thinks that doing away with division in the acting categories like this could create a different issue of equality. She told The Guardian:

"We are all for more inclusivity, especially for people who identify as non-binary, but we caution that this could severely effect female nominees in the future. We already know that women are severely underrepresented in many categories – only 20% of the non-acting Oscar nominees were women this year – and so if different awards events decide to remove gender identification from categories it is incumbent upon them to work even harder to make sure a full spectrum of people are included in the nominees as well as in the selection committees."

Since there is already underrepresentation of woman in Hollywood, it would stand to reason that lumping all actors into a single category could result in more male nominees by default, simply because of how much more prominent male actors are in the industry (though that's changing more all the time). Then again, it would allow only the best performances across the spectrum to be recognized.

There's not an easy answer here, but it's worth noting that the Grammys did away awards that had a distinction between male and female performers, opting for awards like Best Pop Vocal Performance in general. The only problem Hollywood might have with that kind of change is that it will create a smaller chance for their movies to get nominated, and thus have a little less awards buzz than if there were more acting categories for their stars to be placed in.

Other Changes in the MTV Movie & TV Awards

In addition to that change in the acting category, the awards also made a few other changes. First of all, there are two new categories (one being reworked from an older category). There's Best American Story, awarded to the show or film that shows America at its best, with diversity and an open mind. And there's also Best Fight Against the System, formerly known as Best Fight, awarded to the film or show whose characters best exemplify fighting against a system that tries to keep them down.

Other than that, some categories have movies and television competing against each other, which is why categories like Best Hero and Best Comedic Performance have nominees from both.

Anyway, if you'd like to check out the full list of nominees, here you go:

MTV Movie & TV Award Nominations

MOVIE OF THE YEAR (Presented by Toyota C-HR)  

Beauty and the Beast (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Get Out (Universal Pictures)

Logan (20th Century Fox)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The Edge of Seventeen (STX Entertainment)


Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out (Universal Pictures)

Emma Watson – Beauty and the Beast (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen (STX Entertainment)

Hugh Jackman – Logan (20th Century Fox)

James McAvoy – Split (Universal Pictures)

Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox)


Atlanta (FX)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Insecure (HBO)

Pretty Little Liars (Freeform)

Stranger Things (Netflix)

This Is Us (NBC)


Donald Glover – Atlanta (FX)

Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones (HBO)

Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin (The CW)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead (AMC)

Mandy Moore – This Is Us (NBC)

Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things (Netflix)

BEST KISS       

Ashton Sanders & Jharrel Jerome – Moonlight (A24)

Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling – La La Land (Summit Entertainment)

Emma Watson & Dan Stevens – Beauty and the Beast (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard – Empire (FOX)

Zac Efron & Anna Kendrick – Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates (20th Century Fox)


Allison Williams – Get Out (Universal Pictures)

Demogorgon – Stranger Things (Netflix)

Jared Leto – Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead (AMC)

Wes Bentley – American Horror Story (FX)

BEST HOST       

Ellen DeGeneres – The Ellen DeGeneres Show (NBC)

John Oliver – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

RuPaul – RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)

Samantha Bee – Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)

Trevor Noah – The Daily Show (Comedy Central)


13TH (Netflix)

I Am Not Your Negro (Magnolia Pictures)

O.J.: Made in America (ESPN Films)

This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous (YouTube|Red)

TIME: The Kalief Browder Story (Spike)


America's Got Talent (NBC)

MasterChef Junior (FOX)

RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)

The Bachelor (ABC)

The Voice (NBC)


Adam Devine – Workaholics (Comedy Central)

Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson – Broad City (Comedy Central)

Lil Rel Howery – Get Out (Universal Pictures)

Seth MacFarlane – Family Guy (FOX)

Seth Rogen – Sausage Party (Sony)

Will Arnett – The LEGO Batman Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)


Felicity Jones – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Grant Gustin – The Flash (The CW)

Mike Colter – Luke Cage (Netflix)

Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things (Netflix)

Stephen Amell – Arrow (The CW)

Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox)


Game of Thrones – Hodor's (Kristian Nairn) Death (HBO)

Grey's Anatomy – Meredith tells her children about Derek's death (Ellen Pompeo) (ABC)

Me Before You – Will (Sam Claflin) tells Louisa (Emilia Clarke) he can't stay with her (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Moonlight – Paula (Naomie Harris) tells Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) that she loves him (A24)

This Is Us – Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Randall (Lonnie Chavis) at karate (NBC)


Chrissy Metz

Daniel Kaluuya

Issa Rae

Riz Ahmed

Yara Shahidi


Adam Levine & Blake Shelton – The Voice (NBC)

Daniel Kaluuya & Lil Rel Howery – Get Out (Universal Pictures)

Brian Tyree Henry & Lakeith Stanfield – Atlanta (FX)

Hugh Jackman & Dafne Keen – Logan (20th Century Fox)

Josh Gad & Luke Evans – Beauty and the Beast (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg – Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party (VH1)


Blackish (ABC)

Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)

Jane the Virgin (The CW)

Moonlight (A24)

Transparent (Amazon)


Get Out (Universal Pictures)

Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox)

Loving (Focus Features)

Luke Cage (Netflix)

Mr. Robot (USA)