Gender Fluid Performer Kelly Mantle Eligible in Male and Female Oscar Categories

Academy confirms “Confessions of a Womanizer” scene-stealer can be nominated as either male or female

Kelly Mantle
Kelly Mantle

Kelly Mantle, a gender-fluid performer who was a contestant on the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” has made Oscar history as the first potential nominee eligible in both male and female categories, TheWrap has learned.

Mantle plays a transgender prostitute in “Confessions of a Womanizer,” a Miguel Ali indie from Harbor House Films starring Andrew Lawrence and Gary Busey.

The film’s producers ran into a dilemma when filling out Oscar paperwork, which required them to classify Mantle, who was born a man, as either male or female. Mantle was submitted for consideration in both categories, and the Academy confirmed that the performer can be nominated in either one.

“Confessions of a Womanizer” had its world premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, Calif. back in March 2014, and hit U.S. theaters this Oct. 14. The film has taken home numerous awards, including best narrative feature film and best director at the 2014 Los Angeles Underground Film Festival, and best feature film at the Tupelo Film Festival, Twin Rivers Media Festival and High Desert Film Festival, all in 2014.

The Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences divided the Acting reminder list into male and female categories just two years ago. Previously, reminder lists didn’t distinguish potential nominees by gender — all eligible cast members were listed together. But Mantle is the first person to be submitted in both male and female categories — and is eligible to take home hardware in either one.