Why This Transgender Nominee Is Boycotting The Oscars

Photo: Eamonn McCabe/Redferns.
Anohni was nominated for one of the most-esteemed awards for musicians in the entertainment industry — an Oscar for Best Original Song. She is also the first transgender person to be nominated for an Academy Award, ever. Regardless of all that, she won't be attending the award show. Thursday night, the performer wrote a compelling, and emotional post explaining why she would be boycotting the Oscars. She wrote after the initial news of her nomination, she was elated. She waited expectantly to receive a phone call asking her to perform at the show, after seeing three of the other nominees were announced to perform — Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, and The Weeknd. When she received no call, she did not immediately take it personally, as a few other nominees were not slated to perform either. It was only after she read that Dave Grohl, who was not nominated for any award, would be performing that she started to follow the "trail of breadcrumbs" that led to her decision to boycott the event. On her site, she shared the exact moment she realized she could not, in good faith, attend the Oscars. "Last night I tried to force myself to get on the plane to fly to L.A. for all the nominee events, but the feelings of embarrassment and anger knocked me back, and I couldn’t get on the plane," she wrote. "I imagined how it would feel for me to sit amongst all those Hollywood stars, some of the brave ones approaching me with sad faces and condolences. There I was, feeling a sting of shame that reminded me of America’s earliest affirmations of my inadequacy as a transperson. I turned around at the airport and went back home." Anohni also said that she recognizes the fact that the three chosen performers are bigger names, especially since she is more popular in England than she is in the states, and that the message behind her song (it is from Racing Extinction, an environmental documentary) is more specific, and less relatable than the others, but that "a system of social oppression and diminished opportunities for transpeople that has been employed by capitalism in the U.S. to crush our dreams and our collective spirit." She concluded the post by announcing her dedication to future environmental and trans advocacy — "I want to maximize my usefulness and advocate for the preservation of biodiversity and the pursuit of human decency within my sphere of influence." Anohni joins a growing list of celebrities publicly boycotting and criticizing this year's show, and the message of "social oppression and diminished opportunities" it is spreading. Below is her nominated song.

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