WEEK IN WOMEN: Gotham Awards eliminating gendered acting categories -Brandy McDonnell reports

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The New York-based Gotham Film & Media Institute has announced that, beginning this year, its Gotham Awards for acting will no longer be defined by gender.

The Best Actor and Best Actress categories for independent feature films will be replaced with Outstanding Lead Performance and Outstanding Supporting Performance, according to a news release.

The move to introduce gender-neutral lead and supporting acting awards builds on the legacy of the now 24-year-old Gotham Breakthrough Actor Award – to be renamed “Gotham Breakthrough Performer Award” as of this year – which has been gender-neutral since its inception. The breakthrough award previously been awarded to performers including Elliot Page, Amy Adams, Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and Anya Taylor-Joy.

“The Gotham Awards have a 30-year history of celebrating diverse voices in independent storytelling. We are proud to recognize outstanding acting achievements each year, and look forward to a new model of honoring performances without binary divisions of gender. We are grateful to those who helped to start this conversation in recent years and we are thrilled that the Gotham Awards will continue to support artistic excellence in a more inclusive and equitable way,” said Jeffrey Sharp, executive director of the Gotham Film & Media Institute, in a statement. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and NewsOK.com, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for AWFJ.org.