As we're gearing up for the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards, you may have noticed that the categories have gotten a fresh new make-over. Not only is the show including television honors (hence the "& TV") this year, but the MTV Movie Awards acting categories are going gender neutral. Yes, that means that for the first time in MTV history, the top picks for this year will be competing together, no separation by sex. And in general that's a really cool, progressive move by the company, but my question is, why are the actor and actress categories combined now?
In an interview with Bustle back in April, the award show's executive producer Casey Patterson spoke of how destroying that divider was about honoring actors and actresses on the same platform. In part, the choice felt natural based on how a modern demographic, particularly the one that MTV caters to, perceives talent. "A good performance is a good performance," Patterson told Bustle. "I don’t think they look at Emma Stone and think, 'Wow, that was an amazing performance this year from a girl.' I think they think, 'I love her, that was amazing.'" That's certainly the way things should be, and it's important that MTV is trying to reinforce that mentality.
It definitely feels like MTV's intent is to recognize people as equals, which is a benign sentiment, at the very least. Take a look at the Best Actor In A Movie category, which has a diverse array of talent. The extensive list includes Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out, Emma Watson for Beauty and the Beast, Hailee Steinfeld for The Edge of Seventeen, Hugh Jackman for Logan, James McAvoy for Split and Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures. It's certainly an intriguing group, and a line up I could never imagine at the Oscars, but feels equally balanced and definitely honors a lot of great roles.
The Best Actor in a Show category follows suit, with Atlanta's Donald Glover going head to head with the likes of Game of Throne's Emilia Clark.
Ultimately, it's my conviction that this is a positive step forward, and perhaps we'll see other Awards shows continue in this fashion. The MTV Movies and TV Awards will air May 7 at 8 p.m. ET, if you want to catch this quasi-historic change in action.