Independent Spirit Awards shift to gender-neutral acting awards categories

The organization announced Tuesday that its categories will now be “best lead performance” and “best supporting performance.”

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The Film Independent Spirit Awards will now feature gender neutral film and television acting categories and raise its film budget cap to $30 million. 

The Film Independent Spirit Awards will now feature gender neutral film and television acting categories and raise its film budget cap to $30 million.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The Film Independent Spirit Awards will now feature gender neutral film and television acting categories and raise its budget cap to $30 million, the organization said Tuesday.

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

The Spirit Awards honor smaller budget indie films and are known for its starry, free-wheeling ceremony that’s part of the awards season runup to the Academy Awards.

It joins several prominent awards organizations that have made the switch to non-gendered awards, including The Grammys, The Gotham Awards and the MTV Movie & TV Awards. The categories will now be “best lead performance” and “best supporting performance.

Raising the eligibility cap from $22.5 million to $30 million for a film production is intended to acknowledge the rising costs of making films.

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

Film Independent also set the date for its next show for March 4, 2023, the weekend before the Oscars on March 12. Nominations for the 2023 Spirit Awards will be announced in November.

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