Yesterday, NPR commentator Bob Mondello floated a solution that would trim the bloated Academy Awards telecast “and strike a blow against sexism”—unsex the Oscars. Mondello:
Nobody separates Best Director from Best Directress (directrix?), or Best Editor from Best Editress, so why Best Actor and Best Actress? Combine them, and let the best “performer” win.
Seriously. Colin Firth vs. George Clooney isn’t half as intriguing a matchup as the brawl-of-the-drawls you’d get if The Blind Side’s Sandra Bullock were allowed to compete with Crazy Heart’s Jeff Bridges. Imagine Meryl Streep’s Julia Child going up against Morgan Freeman’s Nelson Mandela—now that’d be a contest.
It seems a bit odd that Mondello’s solution for eliminating sexism in the Academy would be to cut one of the few Oscar categories that reliably awards women for their achievements in film. The Academy has never separated Best Director from Best Directrix—and in 82 years, a woman has never won in that category. But Mondello anticipated this criticism: