The Allelujah co-stars reflected on the luck and chances of actors being nominated (Picture: Getty)
Esteemed actors Dame Judi Dench and David Bradley have given their thoughts on gender-neutral acting categories at the Oscars.
A growing number of stars including Hugh Jackman and director Sir Sam Mendes have said they would support their introduction, with the Brit Awards scrapping gendered categories in the music industry for best artist and international artist in 2022.
Wolverine actor Hugh deemed getting rid of binary categories a ‘really positive step’ and added: ‘I don’t understand why it’s split into just two genders when we all know it’s a much bigger spectrum.’
Meanwhile, Sir Sam called the move ‘inevitable in the end’ and ‘perfectly reasonable’.
Jamie Lee Curtis also offered her thoughts on the ‘complicated’ debate ‘as the mother of transgender daughter’ minutes after she won the best supporting actress Academy Award on Sunday.
Discussing their take on the topic with Metro.co.uk, Dame Judi, 88, who has been nominated for an Oscar a whopping eight times, said she felt it ‘didn’t matter’ either way as performers should be focusing on their ‘luck’ at being nominated instead.
‘I don’t think it matters. I mean, I think you’re jolly lucky if you get cast in something,’ she said.
‘You’re very, very lucky if you get any good notices. You’re very lucky indeed if you get asked to go to the Oscars – you’re very lucky if you’re there. And it’s bad luck if you don’t win!
‘[But] I don’t think it really matters – I think it doesn’t matter one way or another, really.’
From her eight nominations, including for performances in films Mrs Brown, Iris and Belfast, Dame Judi famously scooped a win for best supporting actress for Shakespeare in Love.
Dame Judi Dench with her Oscar for best supporting actress at the 71st Annual Academy Awards (Picture: Steve Starr/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
She won her (so far) one Academy Award out of eight nominations for her turn as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (Picture: Miramax/Universal/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock)
Appearing as Queen Elizabeth I, she was able to take the gong home on just eight minutes of combined screentime.
Harry Potter star David, 80, had a rather practical answer ahead of attending the 2023 ceremony last Sunday.
‘No, because you’ve got less chance of winning if it’s a mixed one!’ he stated.
The topic hit headlines again after The Crown star Emma Corrin, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, said they did not believe current categories were ‘inclusive enough’.
Bafta winner David flew out to Hollywood to attend the ceremony with Guillermo del Toro for Pinocchio, having voiced Geppetto in the stop-motion movie, which won the best animated feature Academy Award.
David at the Oscars on Sunday with his Pinocchio counterpart puppet, Geppetto (Picture: Reuters)
Director Guillermo del Toro won best animated feature film for his dark fantasy musical stop-motion animation (Picture: Getty)
enderless awards categories have been debated again since non-binary actor Emma Corin sad they felt Oscars weren’t ‘inclusive enough’ (Picture: Matt Baron/BEI/Rex/Shutterstock)
Looking to his Oscars-experienced co-star for advice on etiquette, David added: ‘Judi, she knows it so well, I don’t know if you’ve got any tips about how to behave?’
‘Don’t go punching people, for one!’ he then quipped, seemingly in reference to the now infamous slap Will Smith landed on presenter Chris Rock for a joke he made about his wife at the 2022 ceremony, minutes before winning the best actor Oscar.
Tickled, Dame Judi responded: ‘No, try not to do that. Best to leave that out, David.’
The pair – who have known each other socially for over 60 years – are teaming up for the first time onscreen in new movie Allelujah, alongside a heavyweight British cast including Jennifer Saunders, Sir Derek Jacobi, Russell Tovey, and Bally Gill.
Dame Judi with Bally Gill in her and David’s new film, Allelujah (Picture: Rob Youngson/Pathé Productions/BBC)
They play patients of a geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital, the closure of which sparks uproar in the local community.
Allelujah is based on Alan Bennett’s play of the same name and is directed by Sir Richard Eyre, which was a big draw for Dame Judi and David, both of whom have worked with him before – David in theatre and Dame Judi both in theatre and for two of her Oscar-nominated screen roles, Notes on a Scandal and Iris.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘I’ve known [Richard] for a long, long time, being involved with the National [Theatre], and we’ve done several films together. So, it’s lovely to have that shorthand too with people that [means] you sometimes don’t have to do a great explanation because you understand them so well.’
‘Richard is everything you would wish for in a director – and it is a shorthand that you fall into,’ David added.
‘It’s just so much more fun – and easier – when you’re working with someone like that.’
Allelujah is in cinemas now.
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