Jamie Lee Curtis took home her first Oscar this weekend for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Deirdre Beaubeirdre in award show-favorite Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Curtis took the opportunity to discuss the limiting binaries that exist in the prestigious awards show. On the post-show carpet, Curtis was asked by Tanisha Laverne Grant of Black In America how she felt to be honored among the 65 other women nominated for Academy Awards across all categories that evening.
Noting the “surreal” experience and how “proud” she was of her win, Curtis called for more women to be nominated in all categories, alluding to the persevering male domination of unisex categories like Best Director, for which there were no female directors represented in 2023.
Then, reframing the question, Curtis spoke to the limitations of gendered categories themselves, asking, “How do you include everyone when there are binary choices? Which is very difficult as the mother of a trans daughter.”
In 2018, A Fantastic Woman became the first film in Oscars history with a transgender storyline and an openly trans lead to win, with frontwoman Daniela Vega celebrating the Academy Award for best foreign-language film. But the actor-specific roles remain dominated by cis actors, skewing the scales away from trans, nonbinary and gender-fluid actors already underrepresented in the industry. Meanwhile, cis actors are still cast in trans stories and straight actors are still performing LGBTQ+ characters.
While Hilary Swank admitted she wouldn’t do Boys Don’t Cry today, the jury is out on whether the Academy’s insular nomination committee would have nominated a trans actor in the same role.
Earlier this year, nonbinary The Crown actor Emma Corrin issued a similar call for gender-neutral awards recognitions. “It’s about everyone being able to feel acknowledged and represented,” Corrin told BBC. The Los Angeles Times echoed the call in December in an editorial ahead of awards season. In February, nonbinary actor Justin David Sullivan withdrew from Tony consideration for their role in & Juliet, in which they play a nonbinary character, abstaining until the American Theater Wing makes “meaningful changes” to include nonbinary and trans talent.
With the movement towards gender-neutral awards picking up steam, Curtis noted the marginalization of anyone non-white and non-male in the Academy, closing her remarks with a call for “just fucking more women, anywhere, anytime, all at once.”
Photo courtesy of Kyle Goldberg/BFA