Emma Corrin ‘Hopes for a Future’ With Gender-Neutral Acting Categories at Awards Shows

Emma Corrin, the English actor who embodied Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales in Season 4 of Netflix’s “The Crown,” called for genderless categories at major entertainment awards shows in an interview with BBC News. In particular, Corrin, who identifies as non-binary as uses they/them pronouns, noted that nominations for best actor and best actress should be merged into one, gender-neutral category.

Corrin has earned praise for their supporting performance in Michael Grandage’s new period drama “My Policeman,” but the actor shares that they feel discomfort at the prospect of campaigning in a gendered category.

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“It’s difficult for me at the moment trying to justify in my head being non-binary and being nominated in female categories,” Corrin told BBC News. “When it comes to categories, do we need to make it specific as to whether you’re being nominated for a female role or a male role?”

“I hope for a future in which that happens,” Corrin continued, speaking on the prospect of gender-neutral categories. “It’s about everyone being able to feel acknowledged and represented.”

Corrin received an Emmy nomination last year on “The Crown” for outstanding lead actress, though that came while the actor was still accepting she/her pronouns.

“You can discuss awards and the representation there, but really the conversation needs to be about having more representation in the material itself, in the content that we are seeing for non-binary people, for queer people, for trans people, because then I think that will change a lot,” Corrin said. “When those parts come up, meaning more people and more actors are playing those roles, then I think there will be more of an urgency with which these questions will be addressed.”

Some music award shows have already started moving toward gender-inclusive award programming, such as the Grammys, which became gender-neutral in 2012. The Brit Awards also merged the categories for best male and female solo artist into one category for the 2022 ceremony. In the film and television space, the Film Independent Spirit Awards made its categories genderless in August and the Locarno Film Festival did the same in September.

Corrin’s sentiments echo those of fellow actor Asia Kate Dillon, who became the first gender non-binary performer to play a non-binary character on a major TV show with the role of Taylor Mason on Showtime’s “Billions.” Dillon penned an open letter to the SAG Awards committee members, published in Variety, condemning how actors are nominated within categories “that reinforce the gender binary.”

“Separating people based on their assigned sex, and/or their gender identity, is not only irrelevant when it comes to how an acting performance should be judged, it is also a form of discrimination,” Dillon wrote. “Not only do your current categories erase non-binary identities by limiting performers to identifying as male or female / man or womxn (which not all SAG members, like myself, do), they also serve as an endorsement of the gender binary at large, which actively upholds other forms of discrimination, including racism, the patriarchy, and gender violence.”

Organizers of the SAG Awards declined the call to quash all gendered categories, saying the move would raise “significant concerns in terms of gender parity as well as racial and ethnic diversity.”

A representative from the BAFTAs told BBC News its committee members were “engaged in proactive and thoughtful consultation” on the topic of switching to gender-free categories.

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