Gender-Neutral Acting Awards


gender-neutralThe recent article in The Hollywood Reporter, Hollywood Women’s Group Cautiously Receptive to Gender-Neutral Acting Awards, I found intriguing.

Specifically, “the Independent Spirit Awards were the latest Hollywood voting body to go genderless with its awards, announcing on Aug. 23 that the best lead actress and best supporting actress awards were being retired forever. To make up for the two eliminated categories, a new category, honoring a ‘breakthrough performance in film,” was added…”

One factor is the visibility of openly trans actors. Trace Lysette Is First Trans Actress to Lead a Competition Film at the Venice Film Festival.

Meanwhile, regarding “the Academy Awards — which are voted on by a body of over 10,000 members — …new Academy CEO Bill Kramer said the organization is ‘conducting due diligence’ on gender neutrality, ‘but there’s no plan right now to activate that.'”

The Conventional Wisdom when I was actively paying attention to the Oscars last century was that the awards would disproportionally be won by men. I’m not opposed to such a change, but it would take me a moment to get used to it.

I wondered how the last couple dozen Oscars would have turned out if there were no gendered categories. Of course, I have no idea. Tell me what you think of gender-neutral movie awards.

2000 LEADING ROLE: Russell Crowe — Gladiator* v. Julia Roberts — Erin Brockovich
SUPPORTING ROLE: Benicio Del Toro — Traffic v. Marcia Gay Harden — Pollock
I think both men win. On the other hand, if Ellen Burstyn had won for Requiem For A Dream, which she should have instead of Roberts, I’d have picked her.


2001 LEADING ROLE Denzel Washington — Training Day* v. Halle Berry — Monster’s Ball
SUPPORTING ROLE Jim Broadbent — Iris v. Jennifer Connelly — A Beautiful Mind
This was hardly Denzel’s best role.

2002 LEADING ROLE Adrien Brody — The Pianist* v. Nicole Kidman — The Hours
SUPPORTING ROLE Chris Cooper — Adaptation v. Catherine Zeta-Jones — Chicago
I think it’s Zeta-Jones, who was more integral to her movie.

2003 LEADING ROLE Sean Penn — Mystic River* v. Charlize Theron — Monster
SUPPORTING ROLE Tim Robbins — Mystic River* v. Renée Zellweger — Cold Mountain
If there are only two awards, would BOTH go to the same movie? Theron was transformative in the role.

2004 LEADING ROLE Jamie Foxx — Ray v. Hilary Swank — Million Dollar Baby
SUPPORTING ROLE Morgan Freeman — Million Dollar Baby v. Cate Blanchett — The Aviator*
Now we’re in the period when my daughter was a baby/toddler and missed lots of films.

2005 LEADING ROLE Philip Seymour Hoffman — Capote v. Reese Witherspoon — Walk the Line*
SUPPORTING ROLE George Clooney — Syriana* v. Rachel Weisz — The Constant Gardener*
In a contest of performers playing real people, my guess is Hoffman.

“Royal” competition

2006 LEADING ROLE Forest Whitaker — The Last King of Scotland* v. Helen Mirren — The Queen
SUPPORTING ROLE Alan Arkin — Little Miss Sunshine v. Jennifer Hudson — Dreamgirls
Whitaker and Hudson, I’d think, though Hudson’s barely a supporting role.

2007 LEADING ROLE Daniel Day-Lewis — There Will Be Blood* v. Marion Cotillard — La Vie en Rose
SUPPORTING ROLE Javier Bardem — No Country for Old Men* v. Tilda Swinton — Michael Clayton*

2008 LEADING ROLE Sean Penn — Milk v. Kate Winslet — The Reader*
SUPPORTING ROLE Heath Ledger — The Dark Knight* v. Penélope Cruz — Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Ledger was good, and he died.

2009 LEADING ROLE Jeff Bridges — Crazy Heart v. Sandra Bullock — The Blind Side
SUPPORTING ROLE Christoph Waltz — Inglourious Basterds* v. Mo’Nique — Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire*

2010 LEADING ROLE Colin Firth — The King’s Speech v. Natalie Portman — Black Swan*
SUPPORTING ROLE Christian Bale — The Fighter v. Melissa Leo — The Fighter


2011 LEADING ROLE Jean Dujardin — The Artist v. Meryl Streep — The Iron Lady
SUPPORTING ROLE Christopher Plummer — Beginners v. Octavia Spencer — The Help

2012 LEADING ROLE Daniel Day-Lewis — Lincoln v. Jennifer Lawrence — Silver Linings Playbook
SUPPORTING ROLE Christoph Waltz — Django Unchained* v. Anne Hathaway — Les Misérables
Day-Lewis for certain.

2013 LEADING ROLE Matthew McConaughey — Dallas Buyers Club v. Cate Blanchett — Blue Jasmine
SUPPORTING ROLE Jared Leto — Dallas Buyers Club v. Lupita Nyong’o — 12 Years a Slave*

2014 LEADING ROLE Eddie Redmayne — The Theory of Everything v. Julianne Moore — Still Alice
SUPPORTING ROLE J.K. Simmons — Whiplash v. Patricia Arquette — Boyhood
I’m inclined to think both women would win.

2015 LEADING ROLE Leonardo DiCaprio — The Revenant* v. Brie Larson — Room
SUPPORTING ROLE Mark Rylance — Bridge of Spies* v. Alicia Vikander — The Danish Girl

M. Ali

2016 LEADING ROLE Casey Affleck — Manchester by the Sea v. Emma Stone — La La Land
SUPPORTING ROLE Mahershala Ali — Moonlight v. Viola Davis — Fences
Ali was a breakout star, whereas Davis won a Tony for the same role.

2017 LEADING ROLE Gary Oldman — Darkest Hour v. Frances McDormand — Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
SUPPORTING ROLE Sam Rockwell — Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri v. Allison Janney — I, Tonya
I loved McDormand in the role.

2018 LEADING ROLE Rami Malek — Bohemian Rhapsody v. Olivia Colman — The Favourite
SUPPORTING ROLE Mahershala Ali — Green Book v. Regina King — If Beale Street Could Talk
If Ali had won in 2016, he wouldn’t win for this role in a lesser film.

2019 LEADING ROLE Joaquin Phoenix — Joker* v. Renée Zellweger — Judy
SUPPORTING ROLE Brad Pitt — Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood v. Laura Dern — Marriage Story

2020 LEADING ROLE Anthony Hopkins — The Father v. Frances McDormand — Nomadland
SUPPORTING ROLE Daniel Kaluuya — Judas and the Black Messiah v. Yuh-Jung Youn — Minari
Kaluuya’s was much closer to a starring role.

2021 LEADING ROLE Will Smith — King Richard* v. Jessica Chastain — The Eyes of Tammy Faye*
SUPPORTING ROLE Troy Kotsur — CODA v. Ariana DeBose — West Side Story

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