Spirit Awards Ditch Gendered Acting Categories

Spirit Awards

Film Independent’s Spirit Awards are moving to gender-neutral acting categories in 2023, organizers announced Tuesday.

Instead of separate lead and supporting categories for Best Actor and Best Actress, the film acting categories will instead be known as Best Lead Performance and Best Supporting Performance. Awards in the television acting categories will similarly be known as Best Lead Performance and Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series.

Each of those categories will have up to 10 nominees.

“We’re thrilled to join the other festivals and award shows that are already moving to celebrate great acting without reference to gender. We’re also happy to welcome non-binary performers into the Spirit Awards without forcing them to choose to identify as male or female,” Film Independent President Josh Welsh said in a statement.

Other awards that have switched to non-gendered categories include the Grammys, the Gotham Awards, the British Independent Film Awards, and the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

The Spirit Awards is also adding new awards for Best Breakthrough Performance (film) and Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series (television). Those categories will have five nominees.

Additionally, in response to the rising cost of film production, the awards will increase the budget cap for eligible films to $30 million, with the budget cap for the John Cassavetes Award now $1 million.

“It has been a long time since we substantially increased the budget limit for eligibility. This new cap allows us to continue to celebrate the same breadth of work that we have in the past,” Welsh added.

Proceeds from the Spirit Awards help cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote inclusion in the industry.

Film nominations for the 2023 Spirit Awards will be announced virtually on Nov. 22, with television nominations announced on Dec. 13. The ceremony will take place on March 4, 2023.