Actor Elliot Page Calls for Gender-Neutral Acting Categories at Major Award Shows
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Elliot Page expressed support for major Hollywood award shows like the Oscars to move away from gendered acting categories. Page believes that acting has an unusual aspect where it is the only category that adheres to a binary system. Page hopes that the industry will evolve beyond this way of thinking.
There has been a growing demand for film and TV award bodies to eliminate the separation between male and female acting categories. The MTV Movie & TV Awards, Gotham Awards, British Independent Film Awards, and Film Independent Spirit Awards have already made the shift. Film Independent President Josh Welsh expressed enthusiasm for celebrating great acting without reference to gender and welcoming non-binary performers into the Spirit Awards without forcing them to choose a specific gender identity.
However, influential award bodies like the Academy Awards and the Emmys have yet to make this change. Historically, gendered categories have only existed for actors and performers, not for behind-the-camera professionals in Hollywood. Many nonbinary actors have spoken out about how gendered awards exclude them and force them to identify as either male or female, leading some to reject the opportunity for consideration. Liv Hewson and Asia Kate Dillon are among those who have turned down nominations because they cannot find a suitable category.
This issue was brought to the attention of the Television Academy when Asia Kate Dillon wrote a letter questioning the Emmys’ gendered acting awards. While the Academy clarified that actors could choose their preferred category, it still fails to address the elimination of the gender binary altogether. The recent Tony Awards saw Alex Newell and J. Harrison Ghee become the first out nonbinary actors to win in their respective categories.
Alex Newell pointed out that other professions are not gendered, highlighting the inconsistency in the acting industry. Newell submitted themselves in the category of Best Featured Actor in a Musical, emphasizing that the word “actor” is not inherently gendered. They firmly stated, “That is my profession. That is my vocation. I am an actor.”
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