Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” has a large ensemble of actors worthy of Emmy consideration, from established stars like Melanie Lynskey and Christina Ricci to up-and-comers like Jasmin Savoy Brown and Sophie Nélisse who play their younger counterparts. But one cast member, Liv Hewson, has removed themselves from contention, due to the gendered categories of the Television Academy’s awards.
Hewson, a nonbinary Australian actor also known for their work on Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet,” told Variety that they made the decision not to submit themselves for consideration to the Emmy Awards. Hewson opted out of submitting because they would either be placed in the supporting actor or supporting actress in a drama categories, as all Emmy categories are split into male and female honorees.
“There’s not a place for me in the acting categories,” Hewson told Variety. “It would be inaccurate for me to submit myself as an actress. It neither makes sense for me to be lumped in with the boys. It’s quite straightforward and not that loaded. I can’t submit myself for this because there’s no space for me.”
Showtime previously had planned to submit Hewson, who plays a cisgender female character Van in the show, in the supporting actress in a drama category. In a meeting with the network and members of the show’s production, however, Hewson shared their decision not to submit, and said that their fellow cast members and crew were “incredibly supportive” of the decision.
Gendered acting categories have become a slightly contentious issue in recent years, as the number of open nonbinary actors in Hollywood has increased. In 2020, “Billions” star Asia Kate Dillon published an open letter asking the Screen Actor Guild Awards Committee to consider abolishing the ceremony’s gender-specific categories; the organization ultimately declined. Several awards bodies, such as the Gotham Awards in 2021 and the Independent Spirit Awards in 2022, have shifted to gender-neutral acting categories in recent years, featuring an expanded field of 10 nominees.
Hewson also spoke to Variety about concerns some have that non-gendered acting categories would result in less recognition for female performers, with male actors dominating nominations. Hewson pointed to the lack of gendered categories for directors or other behind-the-scenes positions as a counterargument.
“There is an implied fatalism there, which suggests that we’ve all agreed that equality is impossible. And that’s sad,” Hewson said. “We’re not going to start awarding best female and male director, or female or male cinematographer. “Because we all understand that implicitly would be insulting. You can keep things as they are right now — I just won’t be participating.”