The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards are expected to be announced on 24 January 2017 but that has not stopped one actor from already making Academy history. Kelly Mantle has become the first gender fluid individual to qualify in both the male and female best acting categories.
A former contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, Mantle plays the supporting role of a transgender prostitute in Miguel Ali's Confessions Of A Womanizer. While filling the paperwork to qualify in the categories, the indie film's producers submitted the 40-year-old's name in both, the supporting actor and supporting actress categories.
"I hope we get Kelly nominated. Regardless, we are bringing spotlight to our androgynous and transgendered community... I firmly believe that our androgynous/transgendered acting community is the most untapped resource in Hollywood," Ali, the film's director said according to The Daily Mail. "We need to bring them more attention, and by doing so, we will create more empathy for our androgynous/transgendered brothers and sisters."
Generally, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asks that performers be listed as male or female, but this year the organisation made the allowance for Mantle to be considered in both sections. The Academy confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that gender fluid actors and actresses "can be nominated in either category".
The Actors Branch approved dividing the acting reminder list into actors and actresses two years ago, prior to which no distinction was made by gender and all eligible cast members were listed together.
The Academy has nominated a number actors who played gender-fluid and trans characters from John Lithgow (The World According to Garp), Hillary Swank (Boys Don't Cry) to Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).