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Berlin Film Festival ditching ‘gendered’ best actor nomination will lead to unfair, outrage-dictated awards

Zachary Leeman
Zachary Leeman

is the author of the novel Nigh and journalist who covers art and culture. He has previously written for outlets such as Breitbart, LifeZette, and BizPac Review among others. Follow him on Twitter @WritingLeeman

is the author of the novel Nigh and journalist who covers art and culture. He has previously written for outlets such as Breitbart, LifeZette, and BizPac Review among others. Follow him on Twitter @WritingLeeman

Berlin Film Festival ditching ‘gendered’ best actor nomination will lead to unfair, outrage-dictated awards
The Berlin Film Festival is combining their male and female acting categories in the name of being more ‘gender sensitive’, but this empty wokism has nothing to do with film and will likely only backfire.

“We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for a more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry,” festival directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian said in a public statement on Monday about the upcoming change.

The 2021 edition of the festival, which takes place in February, will implement this new rule and award Silver Bears for a best performance, rather than a best actor or actress. 

While the obvious virtue signaling is being predictably celebrated by social justice warriors who care more for ticking off boxes than lifting up storytelling, the move is one that is likely to have the opposite effect than what is intended. 

The entertainment industry has a fairly bad track record with recognizing women in film. In categories where women and men compete against one another, there tends to be a complete focus on males. For instance, the Academy Awards is 90-plus years old, but it has only nominated a grand total of five women for their Best Director Oscar.

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The Berlin Film Festival itself, along with major markets like Cannes and Venice, have in recent years poured efforts into including more projects directed by women. The 5050x2020 program, which the festivals all take part in, encourages these markets to divulge information about the genders of people in senior positions, as well as the percentage of films accepted into the program directed by women, with the goal of eventually reaching 50 percent. 

This is only happening because of a lack of ‘representation’, so how long before the same thinking goes into this best performance category if too many males are nominated? The flip side of that coin is voters being so fearful of under-representing women that they simply vote based on gender rather than the work in an effort to avoid being labeled sexists.

Award ceremonies’ tendency to nominate males above females leads us every year to think pieces on how to ‘diversify’ the nominating processes. Again, this has nothing to do with art as gender, color, etc. should be irrelevant with how you feel about a story being told, but it does speak to a larger issue that goes into the thinking behind nominations these days. In an effort to be more ‘diversified’, people are inclined to not nominate what is best, but rather what sends the right message to the woke mob ready to tap their thumbs away on their phones to put together outraged tweets. 

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With the Berlin Film Festival eliminating an entire category and now making men and women compete for a smaller pool of recognition, you can bet any dominance of males or white artists in this area will lead to absolute outrage over the fact that the ‘right’ people aren’t being nominated. 

What this decision also does is limit what can be recognized. By limiting the nomination pool to one category, there will now be less artists recognized and given opportunities for their work and careers to be spotlighted. In what way is that good for film?

You can expect this trend to continue too. The MTV Movie and TV Awards switched to genderless acting awards in 2017, and there have been calls for others to do the same. 

At the end of the day, the empty virtue signaling in the name of ‘equality’ has made the entertainment industry a fearful puppet of an ever-changing far-left agenda. But there is no real logic or genuine love of art that goes into these decisions. By focusing less on the work itself and more on meeting whatever politically correct standard is being pushed by the woke mob, you put an unnecessary emphasis on arbitrary box ticking that has nothing to do with storytelling. It creates more problems by introducing a pressure to ‘represent’ whatever is deemed progressive, rather than simply what is good. What genderless awards have everything to do with is hopelessly feeding the always-hungry social justice warriors that celebrate empty decisions and manage to find problems in absolutely everything. The Berlin Film Festival, and others who follow suit, will learn these lessons the hard way.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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