Asia Kate Dillon, star of Showtime’s Billions, wants to see non-gendered acting awards at the Emmys, but so far Hollywood is resisting the pressure to make categories gender neutral.
The New York Times reported this week that the gender non-conforming Dillon is calling on the Television Academy to drop gendered acting categories from the Emmys, telling the newspaper in an interview, “I presume no one has asked them directly to make that change, so perhaps this is the right moment… What are the first steps that need to be taken to make that change? Call me. Email me. Let’s get it done.”
A spokesman for the Television Academy told the Times that while the organization “celebrates inclusiveness,” it has no plans to make that change.
The Oscars and the Tony Awards are also expected to maintain separate awards for actors and actresses.
The one award show that has done away with gendered categories is the MTV Movie & TV Awards. The Viacom-owned MTV announced in 2017 that its flagship awards show would eliminate gender-specific categories for the first time.
Instead of categories like “Best Actress” and “Best Actor,” the show honors “Best Actor in a Movie” and “Best Actor in a Show.”
Dillon plays the gender non-binary character Taylor Mason in Showtime’s Billions, and chose to be submitted for Emmy consideration in the supporting actor category two years ago. Dillon, who has so far failed to earn an Emmy nomination, was born female and but now identifies as non-binary and uses the pronoun “they.”
— Billions on Showtime (@SHO_Billions) May 6, 2017
“If we separated categories by the colors of eyes, hair or skin, people would go, ‘This is unacceptable,’” Dillon told the Times. “That’s how I feel about gender categories. At this point, it feels unacceptable and unnecessary and archaic.”
Opponents of such a measure said that men would end up dominating non-gendered acting categories.
“It’s placing this huge bet that sexism is so solved that it doesn’t need to be paid attention to anymore,” Mark Harris, the writer and entertainment journalist, told the Times. “It’s so solved even though a vast majority of voters in awards groups are men. It’s so solved even though actresses have absolutely no shortage of important and fascinating things to say about the way gender inequities persist in the industry.”
The John Wick 3 star kicked off the MTV Movie & TV Awards night by presenting the award for Best Actor in a Movie.
“This year has been full of firsts for me. I am the first openly non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on a major television show,” Dillon said. “And now it’s so cool to be here presenting the first acting award ever that celebrates performance free of any gender distinction.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 8, 2017
Billions, which has been renewed for a fifth season, was co-created by Brian Koppelman, who has repeatedly ripped President Donald Trump.
Koppelman recently said in a blog post that he will “refuse to call him Mr. President and I’d hope you’d do the same.”