This Gender-Fluid Performer Has Already Made Oscar History

Photo: Bryan Steffy/WireImage.
Long before next year's nominees are even announced, the independent film Confessions of a Womanizer has already made Academy Awards history. That's thanks to Kelly Mantle, who is the first performer to be submitted for contention in both the supporting actor and supporting actress categories.

Mantle, a gender-fluid performer who appeared on season 6 of Ru Paul's Drag Race, plays a prostitute who shares a jail cell with the movie's titular womanizer, played by Andrew Lawrence. When the movie's producers decided to submit Mantle for Oscar consideration, they had to appeal to the Academy for a way to acknowledge the actor's gender identity, according to The Wrap.

After the Academy approved the request in November, writer-director Miguel Ali took to Facebook to celebrate. "Of course — I hope we get Kelly nominated," he wrote. "Regardless, we are bringing spotlight to our gender-fluid and transgendered community. I'm grateful for the path that has already been carved by transgender/gender-fluid-empowering Oscar-contending films like Tangerine and others. [...] I also couldn't be more impressed by the Academy Awards. What a wonderful institution."

Mantle also expressed gratitude on Twitter, writing, "So this is happening...Honored & humbled to be considered."

Up until two years ago, the Actors Branch of the Academy didn't distinguish by gender at all when compiling the list of actors and actresses up for nomination by their peers, The Wrap explains, so this move solves a dilemma it only recently created.

Now, all that remains is for all those Academy members to see Mantle's performance. Here's a preview.