Maureen Lipman attacks ‘numbskulls’ at Bafta for offering gender-neutral awards

‘Coronation Street’ actor referred to herself as a ‘drama queen’ ‘not a royal non-binary’

Inga Parkel
Friday 12 January 2024 16:48 GMT
Maureen Lipman clarifies comments on Helen Mirren playing Jewish politician

Maureen Lipman has taken issue with the British Academy Film Awards (Bafta) offering its nominees and award-winners the option to have the gender-neutral term “performer” – as opposed to “actor or actress” – engraved on their mask plaques.

While the film awards have given nominees and winners this choice since 2022, The Times’s recent Bafta 2024 longlist report seems to have spotlighted this years-ago change. The Best Actor and Best Actress categories, however, still remain binary.

In a recently published op-ed for The Spectator, the Coronation Street star, 77, wrote: “Thanks, but I’m not a gymnast or a juggler – I’m an actress, and proud of it.

“Yes, you heard me: actress, you numbskulls at Bafta. Not a ‘performer’, as you now label us,” she added. “Perhaps the organisation itself should be renamed Dafta?”

In a later section, she referred to herself as a “drama queen”. “Note, Bafta: a queen, not a royal non-binary,” she said.

Bafta did not wish to comment.

Bafta is not the only awards body to offer gender-neutral prizes. The Grammys were one of the first major award shows to go gender-neutral with its categories in 2012. The MTV Movie & TV Awards followed suit in 2017. More recently, the Berlin Film Festival and the Brit Awards have also done the same.

Dame Maureen Lipman (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

Non-binary actor Emma Corrin, best known for their roles in The Crown and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, told BBC News in 2022: “It’s difficult for me at the moment trying to justify in my head being non-binary and being nominated in female categories.

“When it comes to categories, do we need to make it specific as to whether you’re being nominated for a female role or a male role?”

Last week, Bafta released its 2024 longlists, with Oppenheimer, Barbie and Killers of the Flower Moon leading the 24 categories with 15 nods apiece. Poor Things and Maestro follow behind with 14 and 12 nods respectively.

The official list of nominations will be revealed on 18 January, a month before winners are announced during the 18 February ceremony. David Tennant has been named as this year’s host.

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