Are best actress awards sexist? Could a chick beat Tom Hanks?

Are best actress awards sexist? I never thought about that until I wrote my post about Cyndi Lauper’s chances of becoming the first solo woman to win the Tony Award for best original score. In referencing which awards have not been won by women I used this phrase: “Other than the male acting awards…” That got me thinking, why are there separate male acting awards and female acting awards anyway? There aren’t awards for “best director” and “best chick director.” Aren’t men and women equally capable of acting?

On the one hand, having best actress awards that are separate from best actor awards is nice because it allows twice as many people to be recognized. On the other hand, are men acting and women acting truly different skills that cannot be compared?

Tom Hanks is considered the favorite to win the Tony Award for Leading Actor in a Play on Sunday. Could Cecily Tyson, the favorite to win Leading Actress in a Play, beat him if they went head to head? What if Meryl Streep had been on Broadway this year? Could a man beat her?

It is generally assumed that when dramatic and comedic performances are lumped together in awards nominations the comedic performances are at a disadvantage. If men and women competed for the same acting awards would women be unlikely to win? Is the existence of best actress awards a form of affirmative action against an inherent gender bias?

I’ve always had mixed feelings about artist awards anyway. Awards do help give additional attention to outstanding work. However, judging art is so subjective that it is difficult to take the results too seriously. I primarily watch award shows for the pretty dresses and Neil Patrick Harris.

What do you think? Should there continue to be best actress awards separate from the male acting awards?

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