Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
This will be a touchy subject for many people who are either obsessed with the tradition of the Oscars or those that might have slightly ignorant views. However, it should be noted that this is not a plea to change the awards category but an examination of the positives and negatives of restructuring them with a more interesting outlook.
The thought began to crystalize with a quote from Chris Rock when he hosted the Oscars six years before the slap. “Think about it! There’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting! Come on! There’s no reason! It’s not track and field! You don’t have to separate them! Robert De Niro’s never said, ‘I better slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up!’ No! Not at all, man!” While Rock was making a joke, he makes a solid point: what is the actual reason for separating the genders for the performances? There doesn’t seem to be a point.
This also would finally put performances against each other in a move of equal competition in a setting where that would just make sense. The Oscars are also known to have too many categories as it lasts too long and cutting two of them might draw more people if the show won’t be lasting as long.
The most important reason is that gender is becoming more fluid and it may be difficult for some actors to get nominated in a particular category and frequently they have to choose to be nominated in the male and female category. This has happened for Billions star Asia Kate Dillon who plays a non binary character and has had to choose their gender to run for Emmy consideration which is something they naturally refused, which feels incredibly unfair.
While this move may seem like a no brainer to some, there are still some drawbacks to how this can work practically. For one the question stands, will the Best Lead and Supporting Performance category have five nominations or ten nominations and when that happens. Will five nominees be reserved for women and five for men, and won’t that eliminate the point. However, then if it comes out uneven, that would create problems every year either way. Either a domination from male performances shutting female performances out or vice versa.
This move has already happened in two different awards bodies, the MTV Movie Awards and the Gotham Awards. While the MTV Movie Awards are not exactly a prestigious body, they do represent the youth and signs of the future. Since, the performance awards made the switch they have been surprisingly equal in their wins. However, the Gotham Awards nominated five men and five women, and furthermore the winner was a tie between one man and own woman, rendering the switch pointless.
This argument is not meant to come from a high horse and the move would be a difficult transition. If major awards bodies were ever to make the change, it would be interesting to see if it could ever work properly in the future and it hopefully would.