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MTV Movie & TV Awards: Artists celebrate a night of firsts

Host Adam Devine and actress Hailee Steinfeld perform

Host Adam Devine and actress Hailee Steinfeld perform a "Beauty and the Beast"-themed musical number to open the 2017 MTV Movie And TV Awards on May 7, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

MTV billed Sunday night’s Movie & TV Awards as the year’s biggest party, The Associated Press reports. But this party also made a serious statement with its new policy of breaking down gender barriers in its new format, as men and women competed jointly in the acting categories.

The policy was put into practice by Asia Kate Dillon when she proudly noted she broke down gender barriers as “the first openly nonbinary actor to play an openly nonbinary actor on a major TV show” (Showtime’s drama series “Billions”), then presented the Best Actor in a Movie award to Emma Watson of “Beauty and the Beast.” A nonbinary person is someone who doesn’t identify with either gender.

“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 in receiving her award.

There was another big difference in the 26th edition of what was formerly known as the MTV Movie Awards: TV shows were newly eligible for Golden Popcorn trophies.

The second award of the night — Best Actor in a Show — went to Millie Bobby Brown of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

Despite dime-size hailstones, MTV was heralding the start of the summer viewing season. The red carpet outside Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium was a swamp.

But inside, it was dry as Adam Devine hosted the proceedings.

Tongue-in-cheek, Devine described himself as a progressive personality fully equal to the night’s high-minded theme.

As the caption “Adam Gets It” flashed on the screen, Devine declared, “I love Hugh Jackman, but I call him Hugh Jack-PERSON.”

And turning to another of the night’s nominees, “Beauty and the Beast,” he said, “I call it ‘Multidimensional woman with her own dynamic traits, and the beast.’ ”

The show maintained its traditional irreverence with awards recognizing the best duo (Jackman and Dafne Keen of the film “Logan”), best tearjerker (TV hit “This Is Us”), and best kiss (Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome of “Moonlight”).

Daniel Kaluuya, star of the film smash “Get Out,” won the Next Generation award, a prediction by the network that we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.

Meanwhile, his “Get Out” co-stars, a blond Allison Williams, in shimmering miniskirt, alongside a nervous-looking Lil Rel Howery (who won the Best Comedic Performance trophy), presented the evening’s last award. “Are you scared of me?” Williams asked.

“I’m AFRAID — that’s the word I’m gonna use,” said Howery, whose character in the film has reason to be scared of hers.

A new award, Best Fight Against the System, went to the film “Hidden Figures,” which tells the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role at NASA during the space program’s early years.

The mission of the filmmakers, said one of its stars, Taraji P. Henson, was to dispel a wrongheaded cultural myth “so another young girl wouldn’t grow up thinking that her mind wasn’t capable of grasping math and science.”

The cast of the “Fast and Furious” franchise received the Generation Award, accepted by Vin Diesel, who thanked a generation of fans “willing to accept this multicultural franchise where it didn’t matter what color your skin was or what country you are from — when you’re family, you’re family.”

Trevor Noah of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” was named Best Host.

“There is one person I aspire to be every single day,” he said, “and that is my mom: a powerful, strong black woman who never listened when people told her she couldn’t be more.”

The first-ever Show of the Year: “Stranger Things.”

Presenting Movie of the Year, Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn comically bobbled it (a la the Oscars), announcing “La La Light,” then “Moonland.” Then they got it right: “Beauty and the Beast.”

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