Well this is a first. In what is being touted as “Oscar history,” a gender-fluid actor could potentially be the first nominee in both male and female categories. In addition to asking the question – what the heck is a “gender-fluid” actor? -- it also makes us wonder if that’s even fair – being eligible for both categories when everyone else is delineated to either a male or female category.
For the record, Dictionary.com defines gender-fluid as “noting or relating to a person whose gender identity or gender expression is not fixed and shifts over time or depending on the situation.” So basically it’s a person who can say they’re male or female at any given point in time.
Variety reported Kelly Mantle is the gender-fluid actor and former contestant on the sixth season of the reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race that is the center of this Oscar buzz. She or he (I’m not sure what Kelly considers herself/himself at the moment) stars alongside Andrew Lawrence and Gary Busey in Confessions of a Womanizer, where Mantle plays a transgender prostitute named Ginger. "The small indie film is the longest of shots for Academy consideration, but that’s not stopping it from making history."
When being considered for the supposed Oscar-worthy performance, the film’s producers had the challenge of what to classify Mantle when filling out the Oscar paperwork, so they just submitted Mantle’s name for both! The Academy later confirmed that a performer could in fact be nominated in either category.
One presumes that if Mantle was seriously considered, the Oscar folks would have to pick one gender or another for the nomination. Variety noted Linda Hunt won the Best Supporting Actress prize for playing a male dwarf in 1982’s The Year of Living Dangerously.