Oscars and BAFTAs ‘considering gender-neutral awards’ as The Crown’s Emma Corrin calls for change

BAFTA and Oscar award on pink background with gender symbols as Emma Corrin calls for gender neutral category.

The Crown star Emma Corrin has called for gender-neutral award categories as the Oscars and BAFTAs reportedly consider the change.

The actor, who came out as non-binary in July, told BBC News: “I hope for a future in which that happens, I don’t think the categories are inclusive enough at the moment. It’s about everyone being able to feel acknowledged and represented.”
The BBC has reported that both the the BAFTAs and The Oscars are understood to be considering having a gender neutral categorisation system. But they trail behind many other major awards.

Back in February, former BAFTA boss, Amanda Berry told The Times, “That was part of the review discussion. And it will be discussed again.”

The BBC reports that both BAFTA and the Academy are “engaged in proactive and thoughtful consultation on this subject”.

Corrin has won a Golden Globe for The Crown and been nominated for an Emmy, both in the female category.

Since coming out as non-binary they are likely to have their latest films My Policeman and Lady Chatterley’s Lover put forward for award consideration.

“It’s difficult for me at the moment to justify in my head being non-binary and being nominated in female categories,” they said. 

While Emma Corrin questioned whether “we need to make it specific” when it comes to being nominated for a “female or male role”, they also called for greater non-binary, queer and trans representation across the board.

“The conversation needs to be about having more representation in the material itself… because then I think it will change a lot,” they said, adding that when “more people and actors play these roles there will be more of an urgency with which these questions will be addressed.”

A still from the film My Policeman with actors Emma Corrin, Harry Styles and David Dawson.

Emma Corrin, Harry Styles and David Dawson in My Policeman. (YouTube/Prime Studios)

This year the BRIT Awards introduced gender-neutral categories for the first time, by combining the male and female solo categories. 

At the time, the BRIT Awards chair said: “It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender.”

And despite ongoing concerns that gender neutral categories would result in women losing out on awards to men, at the BRIT Awards Adele dominated.

Corrin is not the first non-binary artist to raise concerns about gendered categories at major awards.

Billions star Asia Kate Fillon, a non-binary performer playing a non-binary role was forced to enter the supporting actor category at the Emmys and Critics’ Choice Awards. 

Awards shows must immediately abolish gender distinctions in acting categories, as a way of reckoning with the discriminatory policy of separating performers based on gender and with the sexist history of Hollywood, which told non-trans women their only place was on camera, and told non-binary people there was no place for them in Hollywood at all,” they told Variety.

Although there are several major awards yet to implement changes, the tide is turning, with the Grammys coming up to a decade of having gender-neutral categories. 

In the past few years, several award shows have announced their intentions to have gender neutral categorisation including The Independent Spirit Awards, The Gotham Awards, the Berlin Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. 

President of Film Independent (who host the Independent Spirit Awards), Josh Welsh also addressed the commonly raised concern about female acts being erased. 

And there’s a very legitimate concern that Hollywood is obviously not a level playing field when it comes to women in the industry… 

“But I don’t think the way to address that problem is by holding on to sort of antiquated award categories. I don’t think that’s the solution,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

This was backed up by Kristen Schaffer, CEO of Women in Film, who added: “I applaud them for trying something new,

“Sometimes I think the thing that’s going to level the playing field for women is to change the dynamics around gender. 

“So that if we all moved in direction of gender nonconformity or nonbinary-ism, maybe then we wouldn’t have such a problem.”

As the 2023 award season looms on the horizon, and with an increasing number of non-binary and gender non-conforming artists within the industry – will Emma Corrin’s hopes come true?

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