Canadian Screen Awards are Gender Neutral in Acting Categories

From 2023, Canadian Screen Awards will move to gender neutral performance criteria for lead and support performers in film and television award streams.

This move will lead to an increase in nominations per category from five a few years ago to eight. Following a large-scale consultation effort over five years, 40 major industry organizations participated in the change.

Since 2019, the Canadian Screen Awards has awarded gender-neutral performance categories in digital media awards streams.

These are the performance categories for television and film at the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards:

Best comedy lead actor (Previously, best comedy lead actor/actress)
Best lead actor, drama series (Previously, best lead actress/actress, drama serie)
Best lead actor, TV movie (Previously best lead actor/actress TV movie).
Comedy, Best Supporting Actor (Previously, best supporting actor/actress in comedy)

Performance in a leading part (Previously performed by an actor/actress playing a leading part)
Performance in a supporting part (Previously performed by an actor/actress playing a supporting character)

Louis Calabro, interim CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which presents the awards, said: “As the Canadian Academy, we recognize it is our duty to ensure that every performer has the opportunity to fully participate in our awards programs and the industry, in general, and this move brings us closer to that goal.”

John Young, chair, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, added: “It is with careful consideration and in-depth discussions that we made the important decision to implement gender-neutral performance categories in film and television at the Canadian Screen Awards. The Canadian Academy believes this is a progressive, necessary step towards an equitable screen-based industry by ensuring all Canadian performers are eligible to be honoured by their peers, and are thrilled to be among the first academies of its kind in the world to implement this format.”

The Canadian Academy’s decision to go gender neutral for performance categories reflects a growing trend. The Gotham Awards made gender neutral in 2021. The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) and the Independent Spirit Awards (ISO) are following suit.

The submissions for the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards are open starting Sept. 14.

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