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Elliot Page on Why the Oscars Should Get Rid of Gendered Acting Categories

Elliot Page on Why the Oscars Should Get Rid of Gendered Acting Categories

Elliot Page at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

The Oscar-nominated actor wants to "start moving beyond that degree of binary thinking."

Elliot Page wants the Academy Awards to make a big change.

While at the Toronto International Film Festival for the premiere of his new film Close To You, the 36-year-old trans actor told Entertainment Weekly that he’s hoping the Oscars will do away with gendered classifications.

"Yeah, it seems like a good idea," the Umbrella Academy star told EW. "And, again, this sort of unusual aspect of that being the only category, right, where that sort of happens? So, hopefully, we start moving beyond that degree of binary thinking."

While the Academy has yet to announce any plans to change the language of their acting awards, “key members involved in the awards process” are talking about the issue of inclusivity, according to the outlet.

If the prestigious award ceremony made the change, they would be joining The Gotham Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards, which have already eliminated gendered acting categories. However, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, and the Oscars all still have separate awards for male and female actors.

Page is far from the only actor to speak recently about wanting award entities to make the switch. The Last Us star Bella Ramsey and Yellowjackets star Liv Hewson (both of whom are nonbinary and use they/them pronouns) have voiced their desire for more inclusive language to be used.

For nonbinary stars, the use of gendered award categories means that they either have to pull out of consideration for the award altogether or are forced to claim a gender within that binary in the hopes of bringing home a win.

Back in May, Ramsey opened up in a Vanity Fair interview about their feelings on the topic.

“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,” they said. “And it can open up a conversation about how it feels – as long as I’m aware of the fact that it’s not ideal, but also that finding alternatives is really complex.”

Hewson told Teen Vogue earlier this year that they pulled out of consideration for the Emmys for their role as Vanessa "Van" Palmer in the critically-acclaimed thriller series Yellowjackets because of “structural” issues they had with the award show categories.

“The bewilderment I have is that acting is the only category that's separated by sex,” Hewson said. “We take for granted that this is how the world should work, but gender-neutral awards exist in every category but this one. There are multiple ceremonies where they don't exist at all, so it's absolutely possible.”

Having separate awards for men and women made sense in an era when women were often left out of award contention and the roles male actors played were given the most attention. This misogyny is perfectly highlighted in the Oscars’ Best Director category, which has only been awarded to three women since its inception — Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008), Chloe Zhao for Nomadland (2021), and Jane Champion for The Power of the Dog (2022).

Despite misogynistic award shows that regularly ignore the contributions women make to the film industry, it’s time for them all to consider using more inclusive language.

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