Hollywood star Emma Watson delivered a rousing speech about the importance of ''no limits'' in acting after making history by winning the first gender-neutral prize at the MTV TV & Movie Awards.

Accepting the best actor award for her role as Belle in the Beauty And The Beast live action movie, she described the achievement as "very meaningful".

"I feel I have to say something about the award itself. The first acting award in history 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 added: "Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits. This is very meaningful to me."

The 27-year-old went on to add that alter ego Belle deserved the award. "I loved playing someone who didn't listen to any of that. I'm so proud to be part of a film that celebrates diversity, literacy, inclusion, joy, and love the way that this one does."

Watson, who rose to prominence playing feisty Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, later returned to the stage with her Beauty And The Beast castmate Josh Gad to collect their gong for the movie of the year award.

MTV announced plans to scrap the gender-specific categories in its Movie and TV awards ceremonies back in April. The move meant that the Watson went up against James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman and other male counterparts.

"We have to constantly be pushing ourselves to not only respond to culture but lead it," MTV president Chris McCarthy previously told CNNMoney."If we're going to do an award show that celebrates content, why would we not modernize what that looks like?"

MTV Movie & TV Awards 2017
Emma Watson, Josh Gad and director Bill Condon accept the Movie of the Year award for 'Beauty and the Beast' onstage during the 2017 MTV Movie And TV Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on 7 May, 2017 in Los Angeles, California Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian