Writing in today’s LA Times, William Kowinski decries the existence of separate acting awards at the Oscars based on gender:
After all, there is no award for the best screenplay by a woman. Sofia Coppola wasn’t nominated as best female director. There’s no award for a best picture by a woman producer. Why are there separate acting awards divided by gender?
There doesn’t appear to be anything about acting skill that is gender-specific. In fact, many women insist on being called actors and bristle at the designation of “actress” because they believe it to be demeaning, like the term “authoress.”
A writer is a writer, and an actor is an actor. Aren’t these gender-designated categories just relics of a less-enlightened time? There are no separate categories based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual preference or any other element of diversity. Why not best performance by a Latino in a leading role?
Kowinski, after having defined the pressing issue that is so important that the Times gives him space in its Op-Ed section during an election year, then describes the grassroots demand that’s, uh … not forthcoming:
It’s worth noting that women haven’t been burning their SAG cards to protest gender-specific awards categories. … Having their own categories means that more women are more likely to get more attention, which helps all women actors. …
But the Oscars have gender-specific acting awards today because these awards have always been there, because the press and public like them and because nobody seems to want it any other way.
Let’s recap. The Oscars have been given out for over 70 years with gender-specific categories. This structure helps women, makes the award shows more interesting, the press and public like them, and no one wants to change them. So what reason does Kowinski have in wasting time writing this column, and why does the LA Times bother printing it? Just to shoot blanks in the gender wars? Kowinski complains about unnecessary awards, but either he’s a fabulous ironist or he’s completely clueless about the absurd nature of his complaint.