If there's one thing we can all agree on in this divided nation, it's that award shows are too damn long. I'm down to watch Conan O'Brien hosting bits and a little bit of Hollywood schmoozing as much as the next guy, but I shouldn't be able to fall into a K-hole and wake up later only for them to still be on "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series." Fortunately, Asia Kate Dillon (Billions, John Wick: Chapter 3) has a solution to significantly cut down the time on these long-ass award shows. Oh, also, it addresses the much-needed change to be more inclusive to non-gender-conforming actors.
It makes sense to drop gender-specific categories for actors. After all, other SAG-AFTRA categories such as Best Director, Cinematographer, and Sound Designer don't make a distinction when it comes to gender or sex. Acting isn't like sports where they're playing in separate leagues. Keanu Reeves' scenes from Dracula suck ass regardless of gender. (Sorry Keanu.)
Dillon wrote about their proposal to do away with gender-specific in an open letter to SAG-AFRTA's SAG Awards committee members. They state:
"Separating people based on their assigned sex, and/or their gender identity, is not only irrelevant when it comes to how an acting performance should be judged, it is also a form of discrimination."
Of course, you could make the argument that fewer categories would lead to less representation for women in general, and that's a fair point. Dillon also acknowledges this saying:
"The distinction between male and female acting categories was implemented as a means of combating the chronic and systemic overlooking of cis-women, particulary white cis-women, when it came to acting awards. This was despite the fact that there were no other categories similarly revised (as in directoress, best female or best male director/cinematographer/sound designer, etc.) I say "particularly white cis-women" because it's important to note how dangerous it has been to defend the separation of male and female acting categories, as well as other awards shows' use of the actress category, as being motivated by wanting representation for all womxn (cis and trans alike). In fact, Black, POC, indigenous, trans, and disabled womxn are still the most underrepresented groups at any awards show. And yet, if SAG, or the Academy, or the Emmys, or the Critics Choice Awards, decided to combat that underrepresentation by creating Best Black/POC/Indigenous actress in a leading/supporting role, that action would resoundingly read as what it was: racist and discriminatory."
It seems simple enough to just combine the categories, but we'll see how this story unfolds. As for me, I'm in favor of anything that will cut down on the amount of time I have to wait to see Peter Dinklage swag his way on up to accepting a SAG award.
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Top Image: Lionsgate, SAG