Emma Watson at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo by Georges Biard.
Emma Watson at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo by Georges Biard.

I admit I was slightly amused when I heard Emma Watson took home a gilded popcorn statue at the 2017 MTV Movie Awards for her role in Beauty and the Beast. Of all the performances, this is the one fans decided to recognize?

The saving grace was in knowing it marked the first year men and women competed in the acting categories together.

As our Prime Minister might say, the whole gender neutral award idea felt very 2017.

This year also marked the first time the Leo Awards, British Columbia’s annual film and television awards, accepted a request for an actor to be considered in both male and female performance categories. And while the Leos continue to use gender-based acting categories, at least there was some recognition of gender fluidity.

(For the record, while Ameko Eks Mass Carroll was submitted for consideration in both male and female acting categories they did not receive a nomination).

Later this month, Vancouver’s professional theatre community will choose the best among them at the 35th annual Jessie Awards.

Having worked hard to address accusations of ignoring artists of colour in recent years, there still remains the question of gender.

While certainly too late to do anything about it this year, perhaps there is an opportunity for both the Jessie and Leo boards to retire the gender divisions when recognizing a performance.

After all, a good performance is a good performance. Period.

As Emma put it on accepting her MTV award: “… it indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories.”

The 2017 Jessie Awards takes place on June 26 at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Visit http://jessies.ca for more information.

Vancouver Presents

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