Emmy Rules Change Will Give Actors And Actresses Option To Be Recognized As “Performer”; Oscar Docs No Longer Eligible

The Television Academy’s Board of Governors on Monday said it has approved a pair of rules changes for the Emmy Awards.

One change will allow anyone nominated in an actor or actress category the option to “request that their nomination certificate and Emmy statuette carry the term ‘Performer’ in place of Actor or Actress,” the Academy said.

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“No performer category titled ‘Actor’ or ‘Actress’ has ever had a gender requirement for submissions,” it wrote today. “Now, nominees and (or) winners in any performer category titled ‘Actor’ or ‘Actress’ may request that their nomination certificate and Emmy statuette carry the term ‘Performer’ in place of Actor or Actress.”

The option will take effect beginning with the current 2021 Emmy Awards season, and comes at a time when voices in the industry are increasingly calling for non-binary awards categories (including recently in a guest column on Deadline by Vida‘s Ser Anzoategui.) The Berlin Film Festival announced last year that its acting awards would be gender-neutral. GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics also voted recently to make its Dorian TV Awards performance categories gender-neutral.

In addition, the rules for eligibility of documentary films has been amended to take effect beginning with the 2022 competition, keeping out titles that had been eligible for Oscar consideration. Now, “Any film placed on the AMPAS viewing platform will be deemed a theatrical motion picture and thus ineligible for the Emmy competition.”

The documentary rule, long a hot-button issue among TV Academy members, strengthens a rule taking effect this year: documentary features that were nominated for Oscars are not eligible.

In previous years, that would have eliminated “double-dip” winners like Free Solo and O.J.: Made In America. For the current Emmy year (nomination voting is going on now), Oscar nominees Collective, Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, Time and category winner My Octopus Teacher are not eligible for consideration. With the new rule announced today, no AMPAS-screened doc features will make the cut.

The Primetime Emmys this year are September 21, with nominations to be announced July 13.

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