Independent Spirit Awards go gender-neutral for acting categories

Independent Spirit Awards gender

Film Independent, the organization responsible for the Independent Spirit Awards, has announced that all acting categories will be gender-neutral, beginning with next year’s ceremony. This means that men, women and non-binary performers will compete in the same acting categories.

Film Independent president Josh Welsh said of the acting categories: “We’re thrilled to join the other festivals and award shows that are already moving to celebrate great acting without reference to gender…We’re also happy to welcome non-binary performers into the Spirit Awards without forcing them to choose to identify as male or female.”

The Independent Spirit Awards now join the British Independent Film Awards and the Gotham Awards in switching to gender-neutral categories. With this, the acting categories will expand to 10 nominees, compared to the usual five. They will also introduce two new categories: Best Breakthrough Performance and Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series.

Prior to the decision to make acting categories gender-neutral, the most recent acting winners at the Independent Spirit Awards were Simon Rex (Actor – Red Rocket), Taylour Paige (Actress – Zola), Troy Kotsur (Supporting Actor – CODA), and Ruth Negga (Supporting Actress – Passing). Kotsur went on to win the Academy Award.

The Independent Spirit Awards have a hit-and-miss gauge towards the Academy Awards. In the past decade, five of the Best Film winners went on to win Best Picture (The Lost Daughter, pictured above, was not nominated). It has a similar track record in the acting categories, with 45% of past winners going on to win Oscar gold.

Another key announcement regarding the Independent Spirit Awards is that the maximum budget for a film is now $30 million, compared to $22.5 million, citing “the rising cost of production.” Likewise, the John Cassavetes Award has doubled from $500,000 to $1 million. Film Independent will also not require movies to have played in theaters, citing COVID and how modern films are released.

The 38th Independent Spirit Awards will take place on March 4, 2023.

Source: Film Independent

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.