Best Kiss is arguably the most coveted golden popcorn given out at the MTV Movie & TV Awards (formerly just the MTV Movie Awards). The golden popcorn traditionally comes with a catch, however: the winners must kiss. OK, it's not a rule, but almost all winners of Best Kiss thank fans by recreating their winning liplock. Remember that iconic Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams smooch? Some, like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, have gotten away with a no-kiss tease, but last year's winners, Pitch Perfect 2's Adam Devine and Rebel Wilson, set the kissing bar pretty high. This year, Best Kiss winners from Moonlight Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome didn't kiss, but their win still represents a huge moment for LGBTQ representation in cinema.
Best Kiss has historically gone to heterosexual couples — after all, that's the overwhelming type of couple shown on screen. Previous same-sex Best Kiss winners like American Pie 2 and Talladega Nights have been more humorous wins, with some exceptions, like the 2006 winner Brokeback Mountain. And Sanders and Jerome both recognized the importance of their win. "I think it is safe to say that it is OK for us young performers, especially for us minority performers, for us to step out of the box. I think it is OK for us to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to tell the story," Jerome said on stage. "This award is bigger than Jharrel and I. This represents more than a kiss. This is for those who feel like the others, the misfits. This represents us," Sanders added.
Sanders and Jerome ended their speech with a sweet almost-kiss, but that didn't fool fans for a moment. While I would usually be upset at Best Kiss winners who refuse to kiss, it makes sense for Moonlight. The kiss in Moonlight isn't meant to tease or excite — it's not a spectacle. To recreate that kiss would risk cheapening the moment in the film, and as much as I love kisses, I don't want that for Moonlight. But, hey, if Sanders and Jerome are ever up on that stage again (together or separately), I expect a smooch.