Kelly Mantle will be the first person to be considered for both Best supporting Actor and supporting Actress categories at the 2017 Academy Awards. The current oscar campaign is for the movie “Confessions of a Womanizer.” Mantle co-stars with Gary Busey, known most famously for his role in Point Break, who is also being considered for an award. Mantle stars as Ginger, a transgender sex worker who befriends the main character and helps guide him in his torrid love life. Mantle has been in the business works as a drag performer and comedian often being cited as the ‘Carol Burnett’ of drag. Mantle gained moderate fame when competing on Rupaul's Drag Race but it seems to have helped her career despite being the first to be kicked off her season in the first episode. This is the first inclusionary move the Academy has made in recent years, and the first of its kind to be made.
The Academy has come under public scrutiny for nominating people who largely reflect the the majority of its own members: Older, straight, white, men. The exception being of course that some categories are gendered. There is reason to wonder if this matters at all as more people in the entertainment industry have made the case to take make the term for an acting professional as “Actor.” the Screen Actors guild Awards having name their categories ‘Best Female Actor in a motion picture’ or ‘Best Male Actor in a Motion Picture’ so the argument of doing away with the term ‘Actress’ seems to be a futile effort in an industry where roles and awards have a strong focus on gender. I wonder though what the nominees would look like if the Academy were to just nominate Actors. It's possible that less women would be nominated with the current Academy members still voting.
The film “Confessions of a Womanizer” has received good reviews on more obscure websites and less than stellar op eds have appeared in places like the Los Angeles Times. “Confessions” might have enough charm and edgy humor to make its way onto Netflix and Redbox but it is hardly what I would call ‘oscar bait.’ Saying that Kelly Mantle receiving a nomination is a long shot is an understatement. Mantle is a virtually unknown actor going up against hollywood stars as Viola Davis and Michelle Williams. I’ve yet to even see a ‘For your Consideration’ banner on the side of entertainment news website for the film or its actors. It could be said thought that an actor like Mantle receiving consideration for both categories is unprecedented and a great step for LGBTQ+ people being nominated and recognized for their work despite nonconformity to societal gender standards.Half of me says that it's amazing that Mantle is now eligible for both gender categories but also upset at the baby steps hollywood seems to be making in accepting, and casting transgender actors. The film for all its missteps and crude humor, has some great shining moments usually brought on by Mantle’s character. Ginger delivers a line in the film illustrating the struggle of being trans saying simply that “People don’t Hire transgendereds”