Should "Best Actor" include males AND females?

Yes, but the character’s race was of little consequence in the story. There are stories where this is not the case (Morgan Freeman wouldn’t have been cast in the Ken Watanabe role in The Last Samurai), but they are now less common than stories where a character’s gender is important to the story. If they’d cast an Irish woman as Red, there’d have to be some explanation for why she was serving time in a men’s prison. Or else all the main characters would have to be changed to women, with the setting a women’s prison. That wouldn’t be totally unworkable, but some elements of the existing story would seem less plausible if everyone involved was a 1950s era woman:

“Andi” might have been wrongly convicted of murdering her cheating husband and his mistress, but what are the odds that the real killer would be a female career criminal? It’s also a lot less likely that Andi would have had the financial experience necessary to advise others on their taxes or launder money for them.

So either the time period has to be changed, or the plot needs to be reworked to fit with 1950s gender roles. The story might still be recognizable, but it would be pretty different from what Stephen King originally wrote.

Similarly, you couldn’t just drop a woman into any of the major roles in Saving Private Ryan because there weren’t any American women serving in combat during WWII. Pride and Prejudice falls apart if any of the Bennett sisters is actually a brother. Things are somewhat more flexible in movies with a contemporary setting where a “lady banker” would be unremarkable, but any movie with a romantic element is going to require that certain characters be of a particular sex.

Lamia:

I was really pointing out that to sort awards by color is pretty ridiculous for most stories. I very much agree that most parts aren’t gender swappable even if they may be color swappable.

Will Smith was the dude in “I Am Legend” even though the character in the book wasn’t. I wonder what Hollywood would do with “Parable of the Sower.” :slight_smile:

Actually, it would, and for the same reason Tracy was so sympathetic; we want our children and grandchildren to be happy. Even today, I think Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? with a legally married same sex couple could strike a cord.

Ah, I getcha now. :slight_smile:

I’d say even just a few years ago, and definitely in the early days of Hollywood, most roles wouldn’t have been color swappable. It might have been more fair to non-white performers in the early days if there had been a category for them, but for whatever reason the Academy never created a “Best Colored Actor/Actress” award.

If there had ever been such a thing I’m sure it wouldn’t have survived the '70s, although it’s only been in the current decade that African-American actors had any real shot at the top acting awards. (Sidney Poitier did win Best Actor in 1963, but he was the only one until Denzel Washington/Halle Berry in 2002.)