Emma Watson wins first gender-neutral acting award

(INSIDE EDITION/AP) - Beauty and the Beast dominated much of the MTV Movie & TV Awards in Los Angeles Sunday night, but it was the film's star who made history.

Actress Emma Watson, who plays Belle in the film, took home the first gender-neutral prize at the show, beating out male stars Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy.

It was the first award of the night and Watson held the golden popcorn proudly, calling the honor "very meaningful."

"The first acting award that doesn't separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience," she said. "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."

She also pushed for empathy, adding, "The ability to use your imagination should have no limits."

The gender-neutral award came to the ire of many on social media, including British TV personality Piers Morgan, who blasted the idea on Good Morning Britain Monday morning.

"Is the world becoming gender neutral?" he said. "Do we need to have men and women? Do we just get rid of all of it and take the 'man' out of 'woman' and call them 'woes'? You've got man in there, that's offensive and sexist. We can't be 'men' anymore, we have to be called persons and everything becomes gender neutral. The Queen can't be called the Queen anymore and we can't call her 'her majesty' so she'll have to be 'the majesty.' Eventually I'll have to smash my head repeatedly into a brick wall. I think it's all utterly ridiculous."

Morgan said he couldn't think of a better recipient than Watson, who he called a "flag bearer for all things gender neutral." He says the genderless categories mean women will probably win fewer awards because "there's more male actors."

Beauty and the Beast also took home the award for "Movie of the Year" which was presented by Amy Schumer and her Snatched co-star Goldie Hawn.

The comedian couldn't help but poke fun at that Oscars "Best Picture" blunder, announcing La La Land as the winner before proclaiming the true victor.