The Independent Spirit Awards are shifting to gender-neutral acting categories for 2023

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are making a major change in representation: switching to gender-neutral acting award categories.

The 2023 Spirit Awards will take place on March 4, 2023. Submissions are now open, with an increased budget limit for eligible productions. Film Independent will also move to gender-neutral acting categories for the 2023 Spirit Awards for film and television awards.

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“We’re excited to join the other festivals and awards shows that are already moving to celebrate great acting regardless of gender,” said Film Independent president Josh Welsh. “We are also happy to welcome non-binary performers to the Spirit Awards without forcing them to choose to identify as male or female.”

Other awards for non-gender categories include the Grammys, the Gotham Awards, the British Independent Film Awards and the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

No longer determined by gender, the Film Independent Spirit Awards in the leading and supporting film categories will be known as Best Performance in a Leading Role and Best Performance in a Supporting Role. The awards in the TV acting categories will similarly be known as Best Lead Performance and Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series.

Other category updates include new awards for Best Breakthrough Performance (film) and Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series (TV). All performance categories, except Breakthrough Performance, will have a maximum of 10 nominees.

In response to rising production costs, the organization also announced that the budget cap for eligible films has been increased to $30 million, with the John Cassavetes Award cap now at $1 million.

Film Independent Chairman Welsh added, “Furthermore, it has been a long time since we have significantly raised the budget threshold for eligibility. This new cap allows us to continue to celebrate the same breadth of work we’ve had in the past.”

In response to the ongoing impact of COVID on filmmakers and the industry, Film Independent is once again waiving the theatrical performance normally required for eligibility, ensuring more opportunities for independent filmmakers to be recognized and celebrated.

Spirit Awards submission deadlines for film are as follows:

Early deadline is September 6th
The normal deadline is September 20
The final deadline is October 4th
Extended deadline for Arts Circle and Filmmaker Pro members is October 7th

The Spirit Awards for Television submission deadlines are as follows:

The regular deadline is September 13
The final deadline is October 4th
Extended deadline for Arts Circle and Filmmaker Pro members is October 7th

The modified performance categories are as follows:

SPIRIT AWARDS SHOW CATEGORIES – FILM
Best Performance by a Leading Actor (10 nominations)
Best Supporting Actor (10 nominations)
Best Breakthrough Performance (5 nominations) *new award

SPIRIT AWARDS SHOW CATEGORIES – TELEVISION
Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a New Scripted Series (10 nominations)
Best Supporting Actor in a New Scripted Series (10 nominations) *new award

Film nominations for the 2023 Spirit Awards will be formally announced on November 22, 2022. Television nominations will be announced on December 13, 2022. The 2023 Spirit Awards will be held on March 4, 2023.

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