Should gender neutrality take over the Awards season?
A point of view on the fall of gender categories, commenting the Brit Awards recent change of heart and future of the entertainment industry
The Brit awards went neutral and dropped the gender-based categories. The news state that, following Sam Smith’s comments on the topic, as they, being non-binary, have talked about this issue in the British industry, and perhaps even more reasonably taking the same steps as MTV awards and the Grammy’s, which has done that since the 2010’s, the Brit has finally taken the step forward toward real inclusivity direction. Yes, there are 30 plus male acts nominated than the 18 women (30 as Adele’s future award winner album) but that is significant either way, putting a magnifying glass over the issue of inequality on the music industry.
This news made me wonder: what if the film industry followed the same pattern?
Imagine, an Oscar ceremony in which Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio got nominations for the same Best Acting category, maybe even running alongside with Indya Moore or Elliot Page, to bring some real diversity into the scene. Should this industry, still so male dominated and patriarchally driven see the rise of the day where female and queer actors would be judged by their performances with the same weight and criteria as veteran male actors? The questions on inequality would be raised as much as it is on conversation with the Brit awards change, but that could really be beneficial to the world film industry at large, not only Hollywood. Cause as much as the Oscar sets the standards for awards shows everywhere (you have the Brazilian Oscar, Grande Otelo, or the Tony’s, considered by many the theater Oscar), a change like this could lead to both a widen spread on representation, both home and foreign industries. How could we equally acknowledge the contributions of all, male, female, queer, non-binary artists without compromising the fight for equality?
Well, some award show has made it possible for the film industry, and can be looked at as a blueprint for what the academy could change. We’re obviously talking about MTV’s own popcorn style MTV Movies and TV Awards, which has gone gender neutral since 2017’s Emma Watson win. As said by Kaitlyn Tiffany for The Verge “gender-neutral “best performance” categories honor the fact that men and women play equally valuable roles in film”. At the time MTV made the switch, it was dimmed impossible for a more prestige award show to follow the trend, but it’s being four years since, and the relevance of some of these award shows into the public view and experience speaks highly about the need to take the steps needed to better reflect the society these industries try to emulate, shape and represent through artistic endeavors.
Unfortunately, it isn’t happening yet, and as we know, the academy tends to make a change only for years to come, like the race-diversity changes they set in 2020 to begin counting from the 2024 ceremony forward, but as important as it is the change the Brit Awards are going through, this could help shine the light of the idea to their sibling industry. You never know. Maybe one day. Maybe one day.