With the 75th Emmy Awards coming up on the 18th of September and being one of the most prestigious awards events in the world, fans are buzzing about their favourite films that are up for nominations. A fan favourite in the world right now is HBO’s The Last of Us, which is up for a whopping 24 nominations at this year’s Emmy Awards. Still, some have sparked a conversation about the gendered awards categories.
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Gendered Awards Categories
While gendered awards categories have been an aspect of awards ceremonies like the Emmys and the Tonys since the 1920s, the concept has recently met with some backlash from communities that are in support of genders that don’t identify as just men and women, and therefore are not just actors and actresses respectively.
While this has been a mounting issue for several years now, some members of the acting community that don’t consider themselves to fit into either category have started to speak up about their experience with awards applications and how having to fit into either category made them feel.
There have been many breakout stars in recent years who have identified as nonbinary who have had to either compete in the category that “best suited” their outward appearance (or rather which genitalia they had) or have decided to withdraw from nominations for awards because they don’t feel that they are correctly represented.
Many speak out in their support, saying that no accomplished member of the acting community should be excluded from being awarded accolades for their hard work because the category isn’t inclusive. In contrast, changing the categories would introduce too many complexities.
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Bella Ramsey’s Response
As mentioned, HBO’s The Last of Us is up for an amazing 24 nominations, making it the second-highest nominated production this year. While Pedro Pascal is nominated for Best Actor, which is quite fitting, Bella Ramsey is up for Best Actress.
While it’s amazing that they have an opportunity to be recognised for their hard work, Bella Ramsey openly identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.
Their experience with having to submit an application as a female and not being able to do so as their identity has sparked a much-needed conversation about the need for more inclusivity in prestigious awards around the world.
Ramsey spoke about their experience in an interview with Vanity Fair, calling it uncomfortable and for more space to be created for nonbinary actors around the world to be accurately represented. “I don’t want the limitations in terms of the language in the categories to be a reason that nonbinary actors like me can’t be celebrated.”
While aware of the complexities, institutions must realise that their categories could be better and more inclusive for all participating in the awards.
Some smaller awards organisers like the Film Independent Spirit Awards have already made the change from gendered awards categories to more inclusive titles, using the term “Performance” for their categories instead of including “Actor” and “Actress”, so the change isn’t impossible.
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Do you agree with Best Actress nominee Bella Ramsey about The Emmys’ gendered categories?