Gender Neutral Awards

MTV have announced plans to ditch gender specific awards categories for the nominees of their upcoming Movie and Television awards show next month, following in the footsteps of The National Television Awards who made the change in 2008 and also the Grammys who have never had gendered awards.

The change by MTV and the recent spotlight on the subject as a whole came after The Billions and Orange is The New Black star Asia Kate Dillon, who was born female but does not identify as a specific gender, was asked to choose by The Emmy’s  which category they’d prefer to be placed in. Dillon responded by publicly asking “I’d like to know if in your eyes ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place?” However, Dillon also noted that The Emmy’s had been incredibly supportive and were not discriminative in their need for clarification.

Having just one category would indeed make the award itself a much more esteemed prize to hold, however fewer nominees may be considered and so worthy actors, and actresses may miss out. Dividing the awards not by gender, but more specified genres may be the answer – much like the Golden Globes, with Best Drama Performance and Best Comedy Performance for example.

One major concern across the board from film fans and industry professionals however is the fear that women would ultimately suffer the consequences of non-gendered awards categories. In an industry that is still incredibly male dominated it is hard for female producers, directors and actresses to make a splash in Hollywood among the sheer amount of male spotlight. Especially considering that there have only ever been four female nominees for the inclusive ‘Best Director’ Oscar, with only one female winner – Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker.

The conversation that seems to have opened up following the announcement is sure to make some waves for a little while, but the question remains is this as realistic and inclusive at it seems on the surface?

MTV’s nominees for ‘Best Actor in a Movie’
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Emma Watson – Beauty and the Beast
Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
Hugh Jackman – Logan
James McAvoy – Split
Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures