Emma Watson has said being awarded with the first prize for an actor that does not regard their gender is “very meaningful”.
The nod for her portrayal of Belle in Beauty And The Beast was first in a successful night for Britons at the MTV Movie & TV awards with Millie Bobby Brown and Daniel Kaluuya also triumphing.
Brown, 13, won best actor in a show for her role as Eleven in Stranger Things, which also won MTV’s first show of the year award in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Watson, who also collected the movie of the year gong for the Disney film, fended off competition from James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman to win best big-screen actor.
Accepting the award, she said: “The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience.
“MTV’s move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone, but to me it indicates that 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.
“Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits. This is very meaningful to me.”
Brown celebrated Eleven as a “badass female” after beating Emilia Clarke in Game Of Thrones and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead.
Londoner and Get Out actor Kaluuya, 28, was tipped as star of the future by being handed the next generation award.
The ceremony, hosted by comedian Adam Devine, replaced the 25-year reign of the MTV Movie Awards by introducing prizes for shows on television and streaming services.
The move away from gendered categories brings it in line with the Grammy Awards, which scrapped male and female prizes in 2011.
Moonlight’s Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders won the best kiss award beating La La Land’s Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
Sanders said: “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.”
Arriving on the red carpet, Jerome told the Press Association he acknowledged the scene’s significance while filming it.
He said: “I’m excited because the kiss was so important and I remember how important it felt when doing it.”
:: The ceremony will be shown on the MTV channel at 8pm on Monday.