A Random Thought about the Oscars

So, I was watching the Oscars last night and I was struck by the fact that there is a separate prize for best actor and best actress (in both lead and supporting categories). It seems to me that there is no reason to have separate awards for these, I mean we do not have separate racial awards (best Black actor, best Hispanic actor, etc), nor do they have seperate awards based on sexual preference (best gay actor, best straight actor). So why on Earth should they have seperate actor/actress awards? It seems to me that they should drop ‘actress’ altogether and group everyone under ‘actor’. That way men and women would compete for ‘best actor’.

7 thoughts on “A Random Thought about the Oscars

  1. Professor unless you are of the absolute opinion that gender distinction should’nt be used in any case, then I don’t see why the talents of both men and women should not be clarified by saying “actress” and “actor”. Unless we are prepared to see only men acting in movies and plays as the Greeks used to(I think) then I would continue to celebrate the differences. Of course they have the NAACP awards, the latinos’also have their own distinctive ALMA AWARDS etc..

  2. Hi Chrissy! Welcome back.

    I am not sure I am following. My suggestion was that we should call both men and women ‘actors’ and that, when considering who is the best actor, we ignore gender just like we ignore race and sexual preference. I was NOT suggesting that we don’t have woman actors…It seems to me that having distinct awards suggests that there is some relevant difference in the ability of the two classes, which I find objectionable.

  3. I wonder if actors (both male and female) would accept such idea (of joining the categories), as it would effectively cut their chances to get an Oscar for a lead or supporting role to a half.

    But anyway, it seems to me that you have a good point. To add to your examples, there is no separate category for music written by male composer and from female composer, not separate category for male director and female director. So, there has to be something singular about acting.

  4. Maybe the criteria are different for evaluating the performances of actresses and actors. I certainly think they are, but you’d have to go to the Academy for any official differences.

  5. Hey Tanasije, thanks a great point! I also agree with you that there would be some resistence from the actors themselves as it would, as you say, halve their chances of winning the award. But, shouldn’t the interest of fairness and justice take precedence?

    Hi Chris, Thanks for the comment!!

    Maybe they are, but my point was that they shouldn’t be. What possible reason could there be for thinking that there should be different criteria of evaluation in this case that couldn’t also be given for seperating male and femal composers and directors as Tanasije pointed out?

  6. In a music composition, screenwriting, directing, there is nothing a woman might do that a man couldn’t. The same for what a man might do.

    Movies, songs, scripts, don’t have genders/sexes, but characters do.

    I think one criterion for evaluating an actress that is not used for actors is the degree to which she plays a woman who people relate to.

    I’m for the status quo in this debate. There are distinct awards for male and female vocalists and the same distinction is made in stageacting awards.

  7. “In a music composition, screenwriting, directing, there is nothing a woman might do that a man couldn’t. The same for what a man might do.”

    Agreed. But the same can be said about acting. Why on Earth would you think that women should be evaluated for “playing a woman who people relate to” while men shouldn’t????

    Agreed that there are these distinctions, for instance in the Grammys, but WHY should there be? I don’t see any non-sexist/non-greedy reason for the distinction…

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