Talent beyond boundaries

Talent knows no boundaries, so why should awards for outstanding acting performances be confined to specific gender identities? That’s the question that Asia Kate Dillon posed in a recent letter to the Television Academy.

According to Women in the World, Dillon — the non-binary star of the Showtime hit series, “Billions” — wrote a letter to the Television Academy after network executives, wanting to submit their performance for Emmy award consideration, asked which category they wanted to be included in.

That’s when Dillon composed a letter to the Academy, says Women in the World, asking “whether the terms ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ were meant to ‘denote anatomy or identity.'”

“The reason I’m hoping to engage you in a conversation about this is because if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are in fact supposed to represent ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a woman’ and ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a man’ then there is no room for my identity within that award system binary,” Dillon wrote, according to Women in the World. “Furthermore, if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are meant to denote assigned sex I ask, respectfully, why is that necessary?”

The response from the Academy offered that their guidelines allow for anyone to submit their work to any category, and that’s exactly what Dillon did, says Women in the World, choosing to enter the category of ‘best actor’ — a term Dillon found to have a non-gendered history dating back to the 1500s.

Here’s hoping Dillon’s actions are the first of many more inclusive moves to come.

‘Big Little Lies’ takes aim at typical female roles in Hollywood

Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz are teaming up for a new HBO miniseries that challenges the typical roles reserved for women in Hollywood.

Their new show “Big Little Lies” —  an “adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel, a murder mystery wrapped up in a story about five women, all moms of first-graders,” according to USA Today — provides not only what’s sure to be an interesting plot, it also provides complex female characters that the actresses hope will influence future roles for women.

“The real amazing part was really digging deep into the lives of women,” Witherspoon told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour, according to CNN. “It wasn’t about [the characters] being good or bad, [the script] showed every spectrum and every color of women’s lives.”

For Kidman, a co-producer on the series with Witherspoon, says the project has a strong theme of “women helping women,” something that CNN says is just as important to Witherspoon.

“I’m passionate [about producing] because things have to change,” Witherspoon said, according to CNN. “We have to start seeing women as they really are on film…We need to see things because we as human beings learn from art and what can you do if you never see it reflected? I feel like women of incredible talent [are constantly]playing wives and girlfriends … I’ve just had enough.”

“Big Little Lies” premieres on HBO on Feb. 19.