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gender-fluid tween actor scores a win for inclusive awards

'I would love to give the Leo Awards a ginormous thanks for making people under the trans umbrella feel more welcomed in the world,' 11-year-old Canadian actor Ameko Eks Mass Carroll said in a statement.

Hannah Ongley

Award shows are still struggling with gender diversity on a binary level. While films like Moonlight and Jackie are propelling women to rare nominations for editing and original scores, men still make up 80% of all Oscar nominees. When it comes to trans and non-binary people, the situation is obviously worse. Only two trans people have ever been nominated for Oscars — and one of them famously decided to boycott the ceremony.

But it looks like demands for the industry to do better are being heard. Canada's Leo Awards has just declared 11-year-old gender-fluid actor Ameko Eks Mass Carroll of Liminia eligible in both male and female categories, The Hollywood Reporter announced. The decision follows the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences allowing gender-fluid performer Kelly Mantle eligibility for both male and female awards.

"We are proud to join our colleagues at the Academy in recognizing the importance of inclusivity when honoring artistic excellence," Walter Daroshin, Chair of the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia and President of the Leo Awards said in a statement.

Joshua M. Ferguson, a non-binary trans person who co-directed and produced Limina (alongside Florian Halbedl), believes that the Leos are sending a powerful message to the entertainment industry. "Hopefully this decision will open up the important conversation at union levels, other awards, organizations and granting agencies across the country to strive for inclusivity in the industry when it comes to trans people and diversity."

Limina is an indie short fiction-film that follows an intuitive gender-fluid child embarking on a path of kindness. Its tween lead had a more straightforward interpretation of the Leo's decision, offering "a ginormous thanks for making people under the trans umbrella feel more welcomed in the world." Those people probably have an equally ginormous thanks for Ameko, who is helping to remind the world at large that non-binary gender identities still need to be recognized and respected — both IRL and on screen. 

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Text Hannah Ongley
Image via YouTube