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Oscars and Emmys Should Drop Gendered Categories, Says L.A. Times

Oscars and Emmys Should Drop Gendered Categories, Says L.A. Times

Emma Corrin
Emma Corrin photo by Loredana Sangiuliano via Shutterstock

The practice is a relic of sexism and unfair to nonbinary performers, the paper says.

It's time for the Oscars and the Emmys to drop gendered acting categories, says the Los Angeles Times.

The Times made its call in an editorial published Wednesday. The categories are a relic of sexism and are unfair to nonbinary performers, it says.

Several awards competitions have ended the use of gendered categories, the editorial notes, including the Grammys, the MTV Movie and TV Awards, Film Independent's Independent Spirit Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

"It makes sense for every awards organization that still uses it to scotch this outdated categorization," the Times editorial board writes. "Why shouldn't performances by all actors, regardless of gender designation, be judged together? They all work together in a movie or TV show. And the categorizations don't fit every performer."

Emma Corrin, who is nonbinary, has spoken out against gendered categories, the editorial points out. Corrin was nominated for an Emmy in the female acting category for playing Diana, Princess of Wales, in season 4 of The Crown before coming out as nonbinary.

However, "gender neutrality does not mean gender equality," the piece emphasizes. Although there has been progress toward parity, men still get more substantial acting roles than women do, and in the type of films that usually win awards. "The last thing we would want to see are nongendered acting categories full of male nominees and winners," the article says.

"Keeping gendered award categories is not a solution to the problem" of gender inequity, said Josh Welsh, president of Film Independent, according to the Times. "The change needs to come with diversifying the gatekeepers who make decisions about what films and shows get financed and marketed."

The editorial recommends that perhaps the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars, could expand the lead and supporting acting categories to 10 performers each and give two awards in each if it goes gender-neutral. The Television Academy, which gives Emmys in 18 gendered acting categories, could find a similar solution. Both are studying nongendered categories.

"It's past time to get rid of these categories -- and we believe that awards shows can smartly lay out a plan to do that," the Times concludes.

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