Explained: Why Television Academy will now give actors, actresses option to be recognised as 'performers'

·2 min read

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences informed that they have approved a pair of changes for the Emmy Awards 2021.

As a part of this new change, anyone who submits themselves to be in the Actor or Actress categories can "request that their nomination certificate and Emmy statuette carry the term 'Performer' in place of Actor or Actress," reports Variety.

Meaning, the categories will not be changing names, but the description of the nominees will become flexible. In a statement, the academy said, "No performer category titled 'Actor' or 'Actress' has ever had a gender requirement for submissions".

How did the change come up?The move comes several years after Billions star Asia Kate Dillon, the first gender-nonbinary performer to play a nonbinary character on a major TV show, publicly questioned the distinctions of Television Academy's use of gendered acting categories for the Emmy Awards. The TV Academy responded that there actually aren't any gender requirements of any sort for any category, so anyone could theoretically put themselves up for contention in either the Actor or Actress category.

Ultimately, Dillon asked to be entered into the "supporting actor" category at the Emmys.

New eligibility criteria for documentary films

Moreover, the new rules for the eligibility of documentary films have also been declared by the academy beginning with the 2022 competition. So, any film selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will be considered as a theatrical motion picture and thus ineligible for the Emmy competition."

Looking back at the previous years, it would have eliminated documentaries that won the award including Free Solo and O.J.: Made In America. But now, various Oscar nominees including Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, and category winner My Octopus Teacher are not eligible to be considered for Emmys. With the new rule announced today, no AMPAS-screened doc features will make the cut.

For the unversed, the Primetime Emmys will begin on 21 September with nominations to be announced on 13 July, this year.

Other festivals choosing the gender-neutral routeLast year, the Berlin Film Festival announced that its acting awards would be gender-neutral. Meanwhile, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics also raised its voice recently to make its Dorian TV Awards performance categories gender-neutral, reports Deadline.

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