When the Academy of Gemini announced before the holidays that it was abandoning the gender division in the acting and actress categories, people immediately spoke of the dangers inherent in this kind of decision.
How are we going to react if a particular gender is disadvantaged or wiped off the map altogether? Are we going to question the results?
The answer is yes, because that’s exactly what’s happening right now with the Brit Awards. The organizers unveiled the list of nominees for the next ceremony on Thursday. To everyone’s surprise, we discovered that the category that includes singers and singers, now called “Best Artist”, ends up with five finalists… male.
The selected candidates are Harry Styles, Stormzy, Central Cee, Fred Again and George Ezra. “There is one thing we are sure of is that it is a man who will win this year,” said a BBC journalist ironically.
A few minutes after this announcement, social networks ignited. Non-binary performer Sam Smith, who pioneered this shift first appearing in 2022, got a round of green wood from some enraged netizens.
“There is no doubt that this way of doing things will be very harmful for women,” wrote Joan Smith, columnist at the Post. “One step forward, three steps back,” singer Tim Burgess posted on Twitter.
For some, eliminating gender from the categories, in order to be more inclusive with non-binary people, is an attempt to fix one problem while creating another. But for many people, including myself, you have to take this step. If we don’t force things, nothing moves.
This tendency to eliminate gendered categories in this type of competition or gala is gaining momentum. At home, in addition to the Gemini, the Canadian Screen Awards gala has announced that it is adopting this approach with trophies that reward a leading role or a supporting role in the cinema. The Junos, the Grammys, the British Independent Film Awards and the MTV Movie & TV Awards have also made this choice.
In fact, this change is desirable and is full of good intentions. But are we really ready to live with the consequences of this revolution? And above all, do we live in a sufficiently egalitarian world to experience this stage well and trust the results? This is the big question.
What happens in these ceremonies is small. But it makes us aware of the extreme complexity of the revolutions that we impose on ourselves. We change things without knowing if we can absorb these changes. “The revolution must learn not to foresee”, said Bonaparte.
While waiting for the boots to follow the chops, you have to learn to live with the results. Otherwise, we won’t make it. We will not be done complaining and building up conspiracy theories in the weeks leading up to the galas.
You should know that most of the time, the finalists (and winners) are chosen by members of an academy or a jury. Sometimes, however, the final choice involves public participation.
In the case of the Brit Awards, 70 artists have been registered in this category by record companies according to specific criteria. Only 12 women ended up in the race. The five male finalists were chosen by 1,200 voters.
Last year, Adele was part of the group of finalists along with singer Little Simz. Adele was the winner. Upon accepting the award, the singer said she understood why the two categories had been merged into one, but added that “she loves being a woman and a woman artist.”
What happens at the Brit Awards is very likely to happen to us. Can you imagine the discussions we will have when a majority of men or women dominate a category in Gemini?
Will we start to create some kind of parity in the categories? If so, that would be downright ridiculous. Will there be lobbies to favor a candidate so that he or she represents one sex rather than the other?
In short, are we going to vote for a sex rather than a talent?
The Brit Awards ceremony (one of the best music galas in the world) takes place on February 11th. It is obvious that this controversy will be the highlight of the evening.
Basically, I’m thinking about it… While we continue to question the relevance of these famous galas, perhaps their survival will depend on these controversies. Unless it signs their death warrant.