This year as I look over the best male and female performance nominations for the Academy Awards I could not help but notice that I can make the argument that all 5 of the female nominees were more compelling to me then the five best male nominees. For the best female leads I have my favorite but I really would not mind if either of the other ladies were victorious. In the male category however I still don’t have a definitive reason for picking one even though I respect and admire all five actors. I got to thinking should the Oscars or award shows in general eliminate separating all artists by their sex. Here is some of my reasoning.


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One of the biggest tragedies in Hollywood is that woman have long struggled to make equal revenue as their male counterparts. Can you imagine how much the quota for a casting or an appearance would sky-rocket if someone had Academy Award Winner for Best Overall Performance attached to their name? I completely understand the notion of drawing power and studios not wanting to invest capital in a female lead character if they do not feel that they can make a return on the investment. However women in lead roles in big films recently such as Wonder Woman and Girls Trip have completely shattered those concerns. If the product is good enough I think audiences no matter who is in a leading role will go out of their way to support it. Just look at Black Panther this year. It has long been noted that african american leads in films will not travel however due to an actually great script, cast and promotion the film has shattered numerous box office records. Having a sole oscar nod would really help boost the credibility of anybody in Hollywood looking to negotiate a contract. Especially if they had the MVP argument such as I was the sole best acting performance for an entire year under my belt.


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The Academy Awards always runs way overtime anyways. Normally the comedy bits and sketches don’t bother me unless they are not entertaining. If not I am usually disturbed by unnecessary time fillers when they could be announcing more of the winners. Why not eliminate a couple of categories and get right down to what people want to see which is a best supporting performance and best overall performance in a film? This would be so much more beneficial than seeing people win an award then get pushed off stage after only 20 seconds after accepting. It is so awkward seeing people try to hurry and pass a microphone around to 10 people. What is even worse is having that annoying orchestra just play louder and louder trying to drown everyone’s speech out. Eliminating gender from the acting categories would open up the platform to give more people who win awards the proper time to speak on stage for all of their hard work. Lets keep the show under four hours. Sunday is a school night so kids have to be in bed and us writers will have more time to get our pieces in before deadline.


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It also has to be stated that obviously you are not a better actor because you are male or female. It is clear the Oscars don’t separate the Best Director category as Best Male Director and Best Female Director. For sports because of human genetics it is obvious why you have to separate the genders. In art it just doesn’t make much sense. For instance at musical award shows They honor the best male and female artist even though one is not better because of their sex. I am a huge rap fan which is a primarily male dominated genre by happenstance. I don’t believe the idea that someone can be a better lyricist simply because of their gender. For years rapper Nicki Minaj would win out at different award shows against other female artists who just didn’t have the notoriety or success that she had. Generally Minaj would sometimes have the best overall year in hip hop so I never understood why no award show would just put her in the male category because she did stand a legitimate chance at winning. There are so many excellent artists in the entertainment industry and I don’t believe ones sex makes them any more talented.

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We nominate 10 best pictures at the Oscars. Why can’t we just nominate the 10 best performances regardless of sex from now on? If you were to stack up all 10 nominees from best male and best female performance this year I think it is obvious the ladies just had a better year. When I think of females who got snubbed for best actress performances lead and supporting there were so many such as Daisey Ridley (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Holly Hunter (The Big Sick), Gal Gidot (Wonder Woman), Betty Gabriel (Get Out), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game). So much more of these ladies would have gotten recognized if the nominations were switched to this format. I would feel so much more comfortable utilizing this method as opposed to picking nominees I didn’t think deserved it for that year just because I had to choose 5 males or 5 females.

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Take all of this information for what you will but I would like to see this strategy implemented at least one year to see what it will be like. With the extra edge of competitiveness I am sure more actors would be motivated to perform even better in  films in attempts to impress Oscar voters. So lets just honor overall performance from now on. Earning potential, gender equality and time management all play important factors in this explanation. As well as I just want to see the awards shows shuffle the deck a little bit throw all the cards in the air and see where they would land for a change.

-Caleb Harris

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