Actress Charlize Theron discusses gender-neutral award categories

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron has welcomed the prospect of gender-neutral categories at award shows.

As more and more artists – including British singer Sam Smith – identify as non-binary, many have suggested scrapping gender-specific awards to accommodate them.

The MTV Movie & TV Awards was the first major ceremony to adopt the format, with Emma Watson winning the overall best actor prize in 2017.

Charlize Theron has welcomed the prospect of gender-neutral awards categories (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

And following Smith’s announcement, the Brit Awards, the UK’s highest-profile music awards ceremony, said it was reviewing how it distributed prizes.

Theron, who is raising her adopted child August as a girl, after introducing her to the world as a boy, voiced her support for the abolition of separate male and female categories.

Asked when we could see them introduced, she told the PA news agency: “Let’s hope soon.”

Theron was speaking at the 23rd annual Hollywood Film Awards in Beverly Hills, considered by some as the start of awards season.

Sam Smith asked fans to refer to them using the pronouns they/them – six months after coming out as non-binary (Matt Crossick/PA)

The 44-year-old was honoured with the Hollywood career achievement award.

She is currently starring in drama Bombshell as US journalist and former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

Theron’s portrayal of Kelly has won widespread critical acclaim and she has been tipped as among the front-runners for the best actress Oscar, an award she has already won for 2003 crime drama Monster.

Discussing her latest role, the South African-born actress said: “The most challenging aspect of it, outside wanting to sound and look like her, was to find out how she carried her emotion.

“There was an emotional story we wanted to tell and there’s not a lot of access to material where she is really emotional or shows her vulnerability.

“So that was a process of having to decipher what I had and trying to put a puzzle together and really studying her to see how she handled her heart and soul.”

Also honoured at the Hollywood Film Awards were Antonio Banderas, Renee Zellweger, Al Pacino and Lauran Dern.

Rocketman star Taron Egerton was named breakout actor while British actress Cynthia Erivo won breakout actress for her role in biopic Harriet.