Emmy Awards Will Replace ‘Actor’ or ‘Actress’ Statues with ‘Performer’ At Nominees Request

by Brandi Stillings

After a long-running tradition, Emmy Awards are now following gender equality expectations. Instead of each statue reading “Actor” or “Actress,” the nominee has the option of being more gender exclusive moving forward.

The Television Academy’s Board of Governors announced Monday the approved changes, allowing nominees to request the term “Performer” instead.

In an effort to not gender-cast recipients, the Television Academy told Deadline on Tuesday what their plans entail.

“No performer category titled ‘Actor’ or ‘Actress’ has ever had a gender requirement for submissions,” they said. “Now, nominees and (or) winners in any performer category titled ‘Actor’ or ‘Actress’ may request that their nomination certificate and Emmy statuette carry the term ‘Performer’ in place of Actor or Actress.”

They also stated that the option begins with the upcoming 2021 Emmy Awards’ time of the year. Currently, the ceremony’s supposed to happen before the Primetime Emmy Awards. However, they won’t announce the exact date until July 15.

New Emmy Awards Option Gives Nominees a Choice

The decision was based on recent inquiries from non-conforming stars to adjust awards to be less fixated on pronoun, per Fox News.

Verified by Entertainment Weekly, the Academy ensures nothing will change when it comes to how the Emmys chooses or votes on each actor and actress category. The new adjustment just gives them an option on their nominations and wins.

Identifying as nonbinary, “Billions” star Asia Kate Dillon made a point to fight for the gender-neutral change. As reported by Variety, the 36-year-old wrote a letter in 2017 to the Television Academy, requesting the transition.

“I wanted to get more information from the Academy as to whether or not they use the word actor or actress to refer to assigned sex or identity,” she said. “So that I could make the best decision for myself as to how I wanted to be submitted.”

Set for September 19, the 2021 Primetime Emmys have yet to determine nominations. Most recently, no one has reported which TV stars are going to prefer a gender-neutral award option.

Emmy Awards Origins & Statuette Facts

Recognized as one of the four major awards, the Emmy awards actors and actresses for their TV performance. There is several events underneath the Emmy Awards umbrella, including Primetime and Daytime Awards, as well as Regional, and International Awards.

Based in Los Angeles, the Academy started the Emmy Award for image-building and public relations opportunities. The debut ceremony took place at the Hollywood Athletic Club on January 25, 1949. Winning the first award ever, Shirley Dinsdale received one for “Most Outstanding Television Personality.”

The Emmy statuette, designed by TV engineer Louis McManus, portrays a winged woman embracing an atom. McManus used his wife as the model. It’s meaning “has since become the symbol of the TV Academy’s goal of supporting and uplifting the art and science of television: The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.”