The Crown star Emma Corrin, who identifies as non-binary, has called for award categories to be gender-neutral as part of a wider conversation around inclusion for non-binary, trans and queer people in the film and TV industry.
Ever since award season became a staple of Hollywood diaries back in the day, categories have followed a time-honoured format of ‘best actress’ versus ‘best actor’, or male versus female performances.
But a growing chorus of voices calling for gender inclusivity is questioning the convention, including The Crown star Emma Corrin.
Corrin won a series of accolades for their depiction of Princess Diana in season four of the hit Netflix drama, including the 2021 Golden Globe for best actress in a TV series.
The star, who identifies as non-binary, was still accepting she/her pronouns at the time, but now believes major events such as the Oscars and Baftas should group nominees into one, gender-neutral category for each type of award.
“It’s difficult for me at the moment trying to justify in my head being non-binary and being nominated in female categories,” Corrin tells BBC News, as they called for a more inclusive approach. “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?”
“I don’t think the categories are inclusive enough at the moment,” they added.
The actor’s high-profile career has continued apace this year, with appearances in Prime Video’s LGBTQ+ period romance My Policeman, along with the titular role of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in Netflix’s hotly anticipated adaptation.
While Corrin hails the future of gender-neutral awards, however, they also believe that the issue of on-screen LGBTQ+ inclusion reaches well beyond the categories used for industry recognition.
“The conversation needs to be about having more representation in the material itself, in the content that we are seeing for non-binary people, for queer people, for trans people, because then I think that will change a lot,” they say.
Representatives for the Oscars and the Baftas, two of the entertainment world’s biggest events, indicated that they are open to discussion on the topic, the BBC reported.
Over in the music industry, the organising body for the Grammys was an early adopter of a gender-neutral approach, moving its award categories away from male/female titles back in 2012. Various other ceremonies, including the MTV Video Music Awards, the Brits and the Berlin International Film Festival, have since followed suit, in a signal of commitment to greater gender sensitivity and awareness.
Meanwhile, the board of governors for the Emmys announced last year that nominees or winners can opt for the more gender-neutral title “performer” on their nomination certificate and Emmy statuette.
The non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon, who has received multiple Emmy nominations for their role in Showtime drama Billions, is among those who previously challenged event organisers on the use of the terms “actor” and “actress”, saying: “There is no room for my identity within that award system binary.”
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