The MTV Movie & TV Awards has broken the glass ceiling, or at least managed to put a crack in it, by doing away with gender-based awards. You read that right! This means no longer Best Actor and Best Actress categories – just a single, gender-neutral acting category open to both genders.
By bringing in a more socially acceptable non-gender category, the entertainment bigwig has upped its game by not just refusing to bend to gender roles, but also by including the non-binary, queer and non-conforming actors into the loop. The awards night will also now be including TV shows for the first time.
So the nominees consisting of Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya, Beauty and the Beast’s Emma Watson, and Hidden Figures’ Taraji P Henson will now be competing just for the Best Actor award, together, against each other. Mind blown! The best actor nominees for TV shows include Game of Thrones’s Emilia Clarke, Stranger Things’s Millie Bobby Brown and Atlanta’s Donald Glover, among others.
Asia Kate Dillon, who identifies as gender non-binary, wrote a letter to the organisers of Emmy Awards after they asked her which category the star would prefer to be included in. Dillion wrote – I’d like to know if in your eyes ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place? The reason I’m hoping to engage you in a conversation about this is because if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are in fact supposed to represent ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a woman’ and ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a man’ then there is no room for my identity within that award system binary. Furthermore, if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are meant to denote assigned sex I ask, respectfully, why is that necessary?
In a world where major award ceremonies like the Oscars, Emmys and Baftas feature separate categories for men and women, despite the emergence of gender-neutral actors, the MTV Awards doing away with them is a bold move. Speaking about the same, MTV president Chris McCarthy, said. “This audience actually doesn’t see male-female dividing lines, so we said, ‘Let’s take that down.’ They don’t see those lines in the way that generations in the past have. So we wanted to take those down. They felt really antiquated. We have to constantly be pushing ourselves to not only respond to culture but lead it.”
The MTV Movie & TV Awards are scheduled to be held on May 7, 2017.