Gotham Awards Eliminates Gendered Acting Categories

The Gotham Awards will no longer separate acting categories by gender, the Gotham Film & Media Institute announced today. Instead of best actor and best actress races, the trophy awards will be handed out for outstanding lead performance and outstanding supporting performance.

“The move to introduce gender neutral lead and supporting acting awards builds on the legacy of the now 24-year-old Gotham Breakthrough Actor Award (to be renamed ‘Gotham Breakthrough Performer Award’ as of this year), which has been gender neutral since its inception, and has previously been awarded to performers including Amy Adams, Elliot Page, Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and Anya Taylor-Joy,” the Institute said in a statement.

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The lead and supporting categories will allow up to 10 nominees each, chosen by film critics, festival programmers and film curators. Separate juries made up of writers, directors, actors, producers and other film professionals will determine the final recipients, as is the Gotham’s custom.

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Previously, the Gotham acting categories had five nominees. Nominations will be announced on Thursday, October 21.

“The Gotham Awards have a thirty year history of celebrating diverse voices in independent storytelling,” said Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute. “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. 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.”

Gotham also announced that additional category updates this year will include the creation of a Breakthrough Nonfiction Series award (previously included with fiction series) and the eligibility of international documentaries in the Best Documentary Feature category. The Gotham Awards will also be adding the first acting category within its Breakthrough Series categories with Outstanding Performance in a New Series. There will be up to ten nominees in each of the three new categories including Outstanding Lead Performance, Outstanding Supporting Performance and Outstanding Performance in a New Series.

The 30th annual edition of the Gotham Awards is set for Monday, Nov. 29, its traditional berth on the leading edge of awards season. While not an apples-to-apples match to Oscar categories, its honors do tend to generate early conversation about films and performers destined for the long haul in the awards conversation. The institute confirmed it will aim to return to an in-person event at Cipriani Wall Street and the event will also stream live on Facebook.

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