Gotham Awards Announce Gender-Neutral Acting Categories

Each category can have up to 10 nominees starting with November ceremony

gotham awards
Michael Shannon at 2021's socially distanced 30th Annual IFP Gotham Awards (Getty Images)

The Gotham Awards will replace their Best Actor and Best Actress categories with a single gender-neutral acting category for its upcoming November ceremony.

Each category can have up to 10 nominees and will no longer delineate between male and female actors, those being Outstanding Lead Performance and Outstanding Supporting Performance. The Gotham Awards previously only had five nominees in each acting category. The Gotham Awards has for years had a breakthrough actor award that has traditionally been gender neutral.

The news was announced Thursday by the Gotham Film & Media Institute. The field of nominees will be chosen by committees of film critics, festival programmers and film curators.

The Gotham Awards on Thursday also announced two new television categories: Breakthrough Non-Fiction Series (which was previously lumped in with fiction) and Outstanding Performance in a New Series, which will also be gender neutral. And international documentaries will now be eligible in the Best Documentary category.

“The Gotham Awards have a 30-year history of celebrating diverse voices in independent storytelling. We are proud to recognize outstanding acting achievements each year, and look forward to a new model of honoring performances without binary divisions of gender,” Jeffrey Sharp, executive director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute, said in a statement. “We are grateful to those who helped to start this conversation in recent years and we are thrilled that the Gotham Awards will continue to support artistic excellence in a more inclusive and equitable way.”

Other awards shows such as the MTV Movie Awards and the Grammys eliminated the division between artists in 2017 and 2012 respectively, and the Berlin Film Festival also no longer separates its acting prizes by male or female performers.

Last year, Riz Ahmed took home the Best Actor prize for “Sound of Metal,” and Nicole Beharie won Best Actress for “Miss Juneteenth.”

The 2020 Gotham Awards took place in January in a virtual ceremony, and the 2021 ceremony will kick off awards season on November 29, 2021. Nominations will be announced on Thursday, October 21.

The New York Times first reported the news.


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