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The acting prizes at the annual Gotham Awards will no longer be defined by gender, the Gotham Film & Media Institute announced on Thursday. The best actor and best actress categories for independent feature films will be replaced with outstanding lead performance and outstanding supporting performance.
According to the Gotham Film & Media Institute, “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.
Said Jeffrey Sharp, executive director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute: “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. 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.”
Additional category updates for 2021 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 10 nominees in each of the three new categories including outstanding lead performance, outstanding supporting performance and outstanding performance in a new series.
In addition to these new or updated awards, the remaining categories include best feature, best international feature, best screenplay and the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award for feature films; the series awards include breakthrough series (under 40 minutes) and breakthrough series (over 40 minutes). There will be five nominees in each of the legacy categories.
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