Emmy Awards Criticized For Nominating Non-Binary Bella Ramsey For Best Actress

Emmy Awards Criticized For Nominating Non-Binary Bella Ramsey For Best Actress Liane Hentscher/HBO

The Emmy Awards are facing criticism for their decision to nominate non-binary actor Bella Ramsey, star of HBO’s “The Last of Us,” in the Best Actress category. Ramsey has always been open about feeling “uncomfortable” being referred to as female and about submitting themself for this year’s awards show.

Ramsey has also called for there to be “more space” for non-binary actors in Hollywood as a whole and at awards shows in particular. Nevertheless, those responsible for nominations at the Emmys still thought it right to put the 19-year-old in the Best Actress category for their role as Ellie in the popular post-apocalyptic drama.

They’re up for the award along with Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”), Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Sharon Horgan (“Bad Sisters”), Sarah Snook (“Succession”), and Keri Russell (“The Diplomat”).

Fans took to social media after nominations were announced, shaming the Emmys for disregarding Bella Ramsey’s gender identity and not creating space for those who don’t fit in the narrow gender binary.

“Award shows need more inclusive categories for people with gender-expansive identities,” one person said. Another simply pointed out, “I thought Bella was non-binary?”

Craig Mazin, “The Last of Us” creator, said that he spoke to Ramsey following the nomination to get the young star’s thoughts and said that it’s high time the industry “moved away from gendered categories.”

“I talk about everything with Bella. So, of course, we’ve spoken about this. It’s a really interesting challenge,” he explained to Variety. “On the one hand, the conversation about gender has transformed dramatically and in a very progressive and positive way.”

“On the other, we have to practically make sure that by moving away from gendered categories, we don’t short-change traditionally overlooked folks… and we know that in non-gendered categories like directing and writing, women have been historically under-appreciated.”

The Emmy Awards will be held in September, though that may be pushed back due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill