The awards love for Moonlight has extended to the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
Two of the Oscar-winning film’s young breakout stars Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome won Best Kiss, taking home the golden popcorn for their intimate beachside moment. And while they didn’t recreate their kiss in the film as they accepted the award — as has become something of a tradition — they did offer an appropriately powerful acceptance speech.
“I think it’s safe to say that it is okay for young performers, especially us minority performers, to step out of the box,” Sanders began. “This award is for that. It’s for artists who need to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to tell a story and whatever it takes to make a change, to get people to wake up.”
“This award is bigger than Jharrel and I,” Sanders added. “This award represents more than a kiss. This is for the others, the misfits.”
The young Moonlight actors aren’t the first winners for a same-sex kiss. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair scored the award in 2000 for Cruel Intentions, Seann William Scott and Jason Biggs took home the trophy in 2002 for American Pie 2, Brokeback Mountain‘s Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger won in 2006, followed the next year by Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
In Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama, Sanders and Jerome starred as the teenage versions of Chiron and Kevin, childhood friends who share an emotional and physical connection.
Sanders and Jerome out kissed La La Land‘s Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Beauty and the Beast‘s Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates‘ Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick.