Sam Mendes, director of the critically-acclaimed blockbuster Skyfall, shared his opinion regarding gender-neutral awards. Over the years, award shows became one of the most-awaited events in Hollywood, in recognition of the achievements and hard work of the people in the industry.
The concept of gender neutrality started gaining popularity in recent years. A lot of people are also accepting the practice of determining their own pronouns. Now, there has been a suggestion that award shows should also cater to awardees who do not conform to any gender.
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Director Sam Mendes Reveals His Stand On Gender-Neutral Awards
In a recent interview with BBC, director Sam Mendes shared his thoughts about gender-neutral awards:
“I have total sympathy with it, yeah, and I think it might well be inevitable in the end. I think that’s the way it’s moving, and I think that it’s perfectly reasonable.”
The question was prompted after The Crown star Emma Corrin suggested that award shows should also include gender-neutral categories. Corrin identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. According to the star, having gender-neutral award labels will make everyone feel acknowledged and represented. Corrin told BBC:
“It’s difficult for me at the moment trying to justify in my head being non-binary and being nominated in female categories. When it comes to categories, do we need to make it specific as to whether you’re being nominated for a female role or a male role?”
Despite Mendes’ earlier statement, the director, who received an Oscar for his work on American Beauty, also noted that the true purpose of awards is to sell movies:
“You know, awards are there to promote films. If that film wins an award, I’m more likely to go and see it, and that’s what you’re doing there. It’s not about yourself, it’s not about the art or craft of the industry, especially, it’s about selling films.”
Mendes reiterated that award shows’ primary concern is to promote films. They serve as the “shop window, but they’re not the thing itself.”
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Several Award Shows Have Shifted To Gender-Free Categories
The idea of gender neutrality when it comes to awards started gaining traction all the way back in 2017 when MTV Movie & TV Awards eliminated gender-specified categories. Last year, Gotham Awards also dropped their gender-labeled trophies.
According to Josh Welsh, Film Independent president, it is an idea that many are looking forward to as well as many are apprehensive about. He noted that most categories are gender-neutral, such as director, producer, writer, and cinematographer, among others.
The desired change will cater more to the members of the non-binary community. Welsh also told Variety:
“There are lots of great performers, and I think we’ll see more who don’t identify as male or female. For award shows to be in the position of telling one of those performers, ‘If you get nominated, you have to choose male or female’ — that’s just not a good approach.”
Making the change in the award categories might take some time for the organizers, but as director Sam Mendes noted, the true purpose of award shows is to showcase the art of films.
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